Will changing my business name hurt my SEO?
I am been thinking about changing my business name for a while. I want to use it as a way to reengage my customers with an exciting new brand launch. The only thing holding me back is I don't know how this will affect my SEO. I rely a lot on search traffic.
The team I work with at RevLocal specializes in online optimization for local businesses across North America. One thing we have seen over the years is the impact a change in Name or Address can have on local businesses and their local rankings.
If you're not a business serving your local area then this might not have an effect on you but could impact other readers.
Our team has seen that old information dies a slow death online with the vast number of directories that are out there containing business information. If you've ever come across information for a local business online that is outdated or the business is closed, you've experienced this.
Changes in a business name or the business address or even a new business moving into an existing commercial space that has been home to other businesses before could lead to data collisions preventing that business from showing up in searches to local consumers.
Hi Kathy, I've been doing SEO for 11 years and run my own agency here in the UK called Odyssey New Media (odysseynewmedia.com). I've done domain and brand domain switching many times so I can advise you on this.
I don't know what your domain is or what brand you are switching to but below are 3 key items to consider and put in place before you switch your domain to reflect a brand change.
1) Change of domain name due to brand name change:
> If you are changing your brand and your main domain then it can affect your SEO.
> For example, if a company that deals in cars were called 'ATP' and their domain might be atp.com.
> If they changed the brand t to 'ATP Cars' then the domain would be atpcars.com. This would potentially be an SEO upgrade because they have the word 'cars' in their homepage domain.
However, if it was the other way around, they'd be losing the word 'cars' and this would affect any 'cars' domains they had currently ranking.
2) 301 redirection of old domain URLs to new domain URLs:
> The other thing you have to consider when changing domain names as part of a brand change is the redirection of all your URLs.
> Again using the example above, if all the pages were on atp.com, you would need 301 redirects to the corresponding pages on atpcars.com.
> You need to make sure to verify the new domain in Google Webmaster Tools in the same account as your old domain. Google Webmaster guidelines explain the process of domain address change here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/83106?hl=en
3) Updating existing offsite links linking into your old domain:
> Currently you might have links linking to your old brand domain with anchors for your domain and brand name - so for the previous example the anchor text could be 'http://www.atp.com' or 'ATP Cars'.
> Google uses anchor text as a signal for what your site is relevant to or what brand you are relevant to.
> Ideally you would try and update all your offsite links and anchors where possible so as to reflect the new brand. This requires SEO link management and updating. It also takes time though to contact all the sites and switch them because you'll probably have to contact site owners or log in to listings, etc.
I hope the above helps cover some of the key areas. Switching brand and/or domain shouldn't be taken lightly and I'd expect in the short term, you might experience some fluctuation or drop in overall SEO traffic while Google has to figure out you've changed domain and/or brand.
If you need any further advice or services to help you with this, feel free to contact me on +44 7940420201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will you be changing your website URL? If so, it will most definitely affect your SEO. If it's just a legal name change without a new URL, then there will be no impact.