Local SEO Info For a Business Name Change
You’re rebranding your business, which means you’ll be changing your company name and most likely your domain name. That’s great! But before you make these changes, you’ll want to make sure you consider how your name change will affect Local SEO, traffic to your website, and ultimately business profit.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO, or local search engine marketing, is a way to market your local business online. It helps businesses get discovered by potential customers who are searching for you either by your business name or by your products and/or services.
That’s why your business name change will have a tremendous impact on the way you’ll be found online through local directories. If you don’t want your business to suffer, here are some considerations and tips before you push your name change live online.
Tips for Your Business Name Change
The first step here is to ensure that you have control of all of your listings, or profiles, on platforms like Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business, etc. There are going to be many directory listings you’ve created and several more your customers will have made. It’s going to be important that you know where these listings live and that you have the access to update all of them with your new company information.
Some businesses will change their names because they’re trying to escape negative feedback customers have written about them. Most likely you’re running a good and honest business, and in this case you’ll want to have all of your positive reviews carry over after your name change. This is when it’ll be important to have control of your business listings.
Understand that despite owning the listing, because you are changing your name, certain websites and directories may require additional verification. For certain, expect to verify your business again with Google. Based on your unique situation, you may be able to verify your business by phone, email or postcard.
If you don’t have control of your listings, or aren’t practicing listings management, then you’ll want to run an audit on your listings to get a complete picture of all the business profiles you have online and whether you have any duplicates. (We can help with this!) You’ll most likely discover several duplicates with a lot of inconsistent information because other users will have made a listing for your business. If this is the case, you’ll want to merge all of your listings prior to the name change, so that all reviews can be preserved and so that after the name change if people are still searching for your old business name, they’ll still be able to find you.
Once you update your listings, you’ll want to make sure that users who are looking for you online via your old business name are able to figure out this new name and information is you. The best way to do this is by including your previous business name in the description for some period of time. I’d recommend you do this for a couple of months, so that anyone who didn’t see your updates on social media, on your website or in an email will know that your updated listing is still you.
On some platforms you may run into a few issues, like on Facebook. They make it very difficult for a business page to change their name, so you’ll want to reach out to Facebook directly. If you need help, check out this link. Click, “Get Started” on the left side, then click through business pages, change my page’s name, then on the right, select, “Chat with a representative.” Facebook doesn’t make it easy for you to find someone to speak with, so bookmark that link if you find yourself having other issues.
After considering your Local SEO strategy, you’ll want to review your overall SEO strategy and how a name change will affect your website. If you don’t work with someone already, consider hiring an agency like WISE to handle your SEO work. A name change is a perfect time to take on an SEO partner.
With a rebrand, you’re most likely going to migrate your site to a new URL. In this change, you must consider the impact it will have on your SEO. The first and most important thing you’ll want to do is set up a 301-redirect for every URL from the old site to the new site. This ensures that old pages are properly redirected to their new URLs.
Hopefully, your current website is already ranking for several keywords. You’ll want to preserve that SEO “Link Juice” and have all pages redirecting to a similar page on your new website. Therefore, it’ll be important to think through your sitemap, which pages you’ll create for your brand new website, and how users will navigate to those key pages.
Overwhelmed? There’s a Lot to Consider, But We Can Help!
After reading this, you might have realized a name change is going to take more planning and more work than you thought. Don’t worry, we are here to help. Reach out to us so we can help you effectively roll out your rebranding, without it adversely affecting your business.
We specialize in listings management together with SEO to ensure your online visibility, rankings, and traffic don’t drop after your name change.