The Artist Formally Known As ‘SEOMoz’ – Rebranding and SEO
Unless you’ve been living under a Galactic sized SEO rock or you are one of my friends (of which I have many!) that I constantly bother with tweets about different blog posts ‘Creare’ has written, then you will have heard that ‘SEOMoz’ is no more! Opting to be called just ‘Moz’, (kinda like “The Artist Formally Known As Prince” of SEO) ‘SEOMoz’ was an Behemoth of SEO offering many tools for us SEOs, but with a rebrand such as this what sort of things did ‘SEOMoz’, sorry, ‘Moz’ take into consideration? And if your business is thinking of a re-brand what sort of affect will this have on your SEO?
‘Moz’ and Re-branding.
Lets look firstly at what ‘Moz’ has said they’ve made this bold move for? ‘Moz’, since 2009 hasn’t been offering SEO consultancy, opting instead to offer SEO software (Open Site Explorer and their new Moz Analytics – which is currently taking beta requests) for the industry, coupled together with the large amount of non-SEO content that they produce this name seemed a bit misleading. ‘Moz’ also makes a great point on how SEO is seen in the wider marketing world, saying how SEO is seen to “just place keywords” they go on to talk about how its bigger than that, the sort of influence needed to really create a well worked and holistic organic campaign requires powers only granted to broader marketers so in removing ‘SEO’, often associated with being a spammy or manipulative acronym around the web (although an unfair assessment this is another reason for the re-brand) they are opening themselves up to access that sort of influence.
This point is a personal favourite, much like JIF to CIF (the cleaning product, other cleaning products are available) Rand talks about how he found that people struggled to say SEO, I know it sounds simple and almost silly but if you have a product or brand that people can’t pronounce you’re already on the back foot, this is evidenced in (about to drop a marketing mind bomb!) Cognitive Dissonance Theory, if you can’t say the name of the brand then your behaviour towards the brand and the perception of the brand will change, example, if you had a footwear company called Eyjafjallajökull Shoes (pronouced AY-uh-fyat-luh-YOE-kuutl (-uh) thanks BBC! ) people will struggle to both trust and associate with your brand. Finally Rand talks about how a re-brand can cause a second look from people that have previously avoided or haven’t looked at the brand, this second look could lead others to use more ‘Moz’ tools, shameless marketing from Rand there.
So a re-brand is kinda like picking your clothes…. blindfolded, you could pull out something completely revolutionary that will take the catwalks of Milan, New York and London by storm or you could walk out wearing a beret, Elton John style star sunglasses, rain Mac, no Trousers one sock and three shoes all on one foot, a bit of a strange example I know but what i’m trying to say is that a re-brand involves a huge amount of risk.
The first thing to think about is how you want this re-brand to go, radical and bold or lots of small changes, both have merit but if your haemorrhaging money then often radical would be the way to go, take Little chef, the nostalgic little cafe until very recently was generating losses of £7 million until that culinary chemist Heston Blumenthal was brought in to save the day! Since then their sales have jumped a huge 47% and lead to the business being profitable again and to our gastric delight the changes being rolled out to all 162 outlets meaning the little chef in his big old white hat is still firmly in a job.
The arguably most important things however to consider are, respect the emotional attachment your customers and employees have with your current brand, i’m a big Coke drinker, Sorry dentists worldwide, but I am and if I was around in 1985 when Coca Cola changed to New Coke i’d have been boycotting that bad boy along with the many of my fellow Coke drinkers, changing brands that people love, is like replacing the family pet.
You’ve always got to differentiate yourself from your competition, from things as simple as colour choice if people think you’re a copy cat thats no good. Keep it as clear and simple as possible, a confusing re-brand could lead us back to our Cognitive Dissonance Theory and scare off precious custom from your brand. most importantly of all, Deliver on your word, if you’re promising all these new features, new services, make sure they happen.
Re-branding and SEO.
Now for the real reason you’re probably reading this article, the effect on SEO that a re-branding can have and what to consider.
I think i’ll mention first and foremost, HAVE A HAVE URL REDIRECTION PLAN IN PLACE! When changing your domain name, you’ll be effectively starting from scratch, losing all authority that your old site had, filtering all those users from your old site to your new, fresh from the ‘weaver (Dreamweaver) site, obviously if your old site is carrying some major penalty baggage or is a bad zoo with nothing but pandas and penguins then it could be worth looking to completely start over.
A few other steps to consider with domains are whether that domain is even available and what’s the history behind it, you don’t want to buy it from someone to find you’ve brought a whole world of penalty’s and ‘black hat’ tactics from the beginning.
Have a good PR campaign in place as this can help build links and deliver social signals to your new site, offer customers sneak peeks or competitions for there feedback or sharing of the re-brand think can not only give you a brilliant insight into your customer base, remember research is your friend! With all this outreach you’ll (hopefully) see some nice social signals and links already being produced for your site!
The Second step is to update social media and other contact data, you want to change everything you have with Google, Places, Plus, Webmaster Tools etc, migrate the current Analytics account and use the data to compare the usage of your new site compared to the old. Without the changes to things like this you could see your local rankings drop because Google often takes information from these sort of places to determine your Local rankings.
Finally, have a good keyword plan in place, this really depends on the cause of the re-branding, the ‘Moz’ example is a nice example, they re-branded because the business had evolved so if your plumbing company had decided to start just supplying plumbing parts instead of plumbing itself, then you’d need completely different keywords and if your a regional campaign that gets even more complicated generally if it’s just a re-brand then usually you can avoid having to do this, just make sure that if you’re writing new content that it’s of the highest quality and nothing is duplicated and that your keywords give you the same, if not better, search volumes to your previous.
So as you can see, a re-brand isn’t a simple choice, it can make or break a company and the implications on SEO can be massive if you get it wrong! But as long as your keeping the key points in mind throughout your re-branding and re-direct your old site!!!! Thats if it isn’t penalty ridden, you’re re-brands effect of your SEO campaign will be minimal, besides everyone likes shiny new things to look at.