So you’re changing your name without a website transition--what now? Taking on a new brand is a little like assuming a new identity. Except in this case, you want to be found--so you’ve got to give people searching for you a few hints along the way.

Changing a brand name without a heavy transition on the web comes with some risks. Without making substantial changes to site content, directory structures, linking references, or even the domain itself, you risk the high likelihood that you will have very little visibility for a new brand name when searched for in Google.

But that’s not to say it can’t be done. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you choose to change your name without a full digital transition.

The Old You
  • Keep in mind how people currently search for your brand name. What are the current keyword ranks? What are the associated intents associated to those keywords?
  • Your website or homepage has theoretically been optimized for a specific family of keywords both brand and non-brand related. Take advantage of that, when applicable.
  • Look at all the backlinks associated to your current website. Most content publishers, including bloggers, will use your brand or product name as anchor text to the links they use within their own context.
 The Transition
  • Don’t forget: creating transitional messaging will help turn your old brand name searchers into new brand name searchers.
  • Link reclamation or updates may be needed to help convey the name change under Google or Bing’s search lens.
  • Content across your site should correctly reference the new brand name as well. This includes links, image naming and headings.
 What’s in a name, anyway?
  • How are people searching for the new brand name--is the name associated with a vertical, a person, place or thing, and how competitive is that field?
  • Something with very few searches will typically see a shorter time to visibility than a brand name incorporating terms and phrases already being searched for frequently. If your new name is unique, it’ll be visible quicker than a name using common words.
  • By knowing the competitiveness of the name itself, you should be able to estimate a timeline for how long it may take your site and social profiles to begin capitalizing on that search space.

A name change without a full site redesign and digital transition strategy needs to consider search intent and should be focused in giving search engines as much context as possible to make sure that your brand is seen from day one. By following these tips, you can make sure that the people looking for you can find you, even after you’ve taken on a new identity.

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