So you’re thinking about rebranding, but you’ve already invested in local search engine optimization (SEO), your business has a strong online presence, and you’re not sure how your rebranding efforts will affect this source of revenue. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact that a rebranding will hurt your existing search marketing investment. However, after reading this post you’ll have a clearer idea of why your local SEO efforts will take a hit and what you can do to assuage the damage.
Why Should I Care About my Local SEO?
What is local SEO? See: Are Your Local Patients Finding You?
In order to help customers connect with local businesses, several search engines — Google and Yahoo included — have introduced what are commonly termed “local packs.” On Google, the local pack looks like this:
A local pack usually shows between 4–7 results, with a link on the bottom for a longer directory attached to a map. These 4–7 results are prime real estate, because they are the first businesses someone sees when conducting a search — if the results are satisfying, they might be the only businesses that person sees.
In an effort to show up on these results, you’ve invested in Now Media Group’s local SEO services, where we cleanup the online references to your business (termed “citations”) and show search engines that you are a reputable business that can address the needs of the searcher better than your competitors. The result is an important increase in revenue for your business.
Why should you care about local SEO? If your rebranding efforts damage your local SEO performance, you can lose an important source of traffic and revenue to your business.
How Does Rebranding Affect Your Business’ Local SEO?
If you’ve invested in local SEO, your business has dozens of references to it — citations — scattered throughout the web. Many of these citations may come from directory listings, like the Chamber of Commerce, Localeze, Foursquare, and Acxiom. Other citations correspond to your business’ social media pages, including Google Plus, Facebook, and Twitter. These citations help to verify that your local business is indeed a local business and, depending on the quality of the citation, they help to communicate how your business compares to its competitors.
It’s important to make sure these citations are consistent, that is that all the information matches between them, otherwise search engines are going to have trouble attributing the citation to your business. Indeed, much of local SEO revolves around painstakingly hunting down each of these listings, accessing them, and making sure that each reference lists the correct business name, business number, and business address. This is called a citation cleanup.
What happens when you rebrand? You’re going to change the name of your business on your website and on your social media pages, and suddenly you have an information mismatch between these citations and the rest of them. It’s as if you severed that relationship between your company and the online references vouching for it, and as a consequence your online presence — your local SEO — loses the columns that were supporting it. A rebranding can collapse your local SEO and the ROI you were earning from it. Fortunately, this can be mitigated.
A rebrand requires another citation cleanup. We have to go through the same process of tracking each citation down, accessing it — where we have to prove that, yes, we are the business or, yes, we are representatives for the business —, and changing it to reflect the new information. As arduous as I make it sound, it’s certainly doable and we are happy to do it. But, it’s something you should be aware of; after a rebrand, it is a necessity to commit to another citation cleanup.
Despite these efforts, you should expect a hiccup in your local search presence. The ties between your business and these citations need to be re-established, and during this transition your local SEO may no longer perform as well. This is natural — it is what it is, so to speak —, but it’s something your business can recover from, if you make sure to conduct another citation cleanup.
How Now Media Group Can Help
Are you thinking about a rebrand and would like to learn more about how it will affect your online marketing? At Now Media Group we are more than happy to help. Contact us via email, leave a comment below, or give your consultant a call at 858-333-8950 with any questions or concerns you may have.