A brand is one of the most important assets a company has. Though it’s largely intangible, a brand encompasses how people view a business, what they identify it with, and how they talk about it with other people. Beyond a cool logo, clever tagline, striking color palette, or unique voice, a brand summarizes the public perception of a company as well as the value of its products.
In the digital age, brand identities can be expressed on far more channels than just signs on a building, TV commercials, or magazine ads. Brands have personalities on social media, ads that follow consumers across the entire digital landscape, and even distinct search engine results.
But these efforts don’t matter if a company’s website doesn’t have good authority and search engine ranking. A company runs the risk of ruining its image with a rebranding, but a rebrand can also disrupt the careful network of backlinks the company has built and ruin hard-won domain authority.
Unfortunately, rebranding may be unavoidable if a business wants to stay current or close a bad chapter. How, then, can organizations keep their domain authority intact throughout the rebranding process?
One way is to successfully implement 301 redirects on your company website. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of domain authority 301 rebranding efforts.
Understanding domain authority 301 rebranding
When you move to a new home, you have to contact the post office to forward mail to your new address so you don’t experience interruptions in service. In the same way, 301 redirects forward your web traffic to the most up-to-date URLs on your site or to entirely new sites. They’re a necessity if you want to maintain your domain authority and continue reaping the rewards of your SEO efforts — and who doesn’t want that?
Here are three domain authority 301 rebranding strategies.
1. Build a new website from scratch
Rebrands vary in complexity, ranging from minor logo updates to complete name and identity overhauls. It’s common practice and relatively easy for companies to change their visual identity, but with a name change, you may as well be launching a new company. Facebook is essentially doing this with its rebrand to Meta.
The best solution for rebrands involving a name change is to build a new website from scratch. With a new site, it’s not necessary to implement a 301 redirect. However, it could be useful to set one up from your previous URL until customers get used to the new destination. For example, RH, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, still redirects the restorationhardware.com URL to rh.com.
If you don’t want to rebuild your search engine ranking from scratch, you can implement 301 redirects on all your key old pages, especially if they have a lot of backlinks. Doing so won’t harm your search engine optimization (SEO).
However, if you’re trying to distance yourself from negativity associated with your old brand identity, you could be doing more harm than good by not starting over entirely. If you’re trying to create a clean start through your rebrand, be prepared to invest considerable time and effort into SEO on your new site.
2. Change domain names
Some rebrands involve changing the company name or identity and making updates to the aesthetic without significantly changing the existing website structure. In these cases, it’s possible to implement new assets on the back end of the existing site and then publish them all at once through domain authority 301 rebranding. Or you could build a duplicate website under a new URL and swap out your old identity for the new.
Once it’s time to make your rebrand public, you can either activate the new URL and publish your updates all at once or implement server-side 301 redirects on every existing page of your old site to the corresponding pages on your new site.
You must ensure every 301 redirect is accurate to avoid losing valuable backlinks. Consider pulling a backlink report from Ahrefs or Google Search Console. Be especially aware of the URL structure on your new site as well.
3. Rebrand under the same domain name
The least complicated website rebrand approach is to update your existing site without changing the domain name. With this method, you can update your existing pages and then publish them all at once to unveil your refreshed aesthetic. You generally don’t have to worry about domain authority 301 rebranding in this instance because 301 redirects usually aren’t necessary.
Sometimes, however, URLs for subpages do change — especially if they’re for products and services. Search engines frequently change how they index and rank sites based on their URL structure, so it’s important to update according to their new structural mandates, or you’ll risk losing your domain authority.
If that’s the case, keep the old pages with previous URL structures online but invisible to search engines and implement 301 redirects to the pages with the new URLs. Again, it’s important to pay close attention to make sure redirects are going to the correct pages.
Getting rebrands done with powerful forms
Keeping all this rebranding information organized can be a challenge. To make sure you get the information you need from your rebranding and tech team, have your team log their progress using forms.
Jotform Tables is a powerful database solution that connects with these log forms to help you keep track of everything associated with your domain authority 301 rebranding efforts. In addition, the platform integrates with more than 100 third-party tools, including over two dozen website design and development programs, like Apache, Joomla!, and MySQL.
Sometimes businesses need to adapt to new circumstances and make sacrifices. But you don’t have to sacrifice your domain authority if you follow best practices for 301 redirects.