SEO & Branding Migration via 301 Re-directs

I had a thought this morning about branding & SEO implications.

I am in the process of developing a new website for my cabinet shop.
The current one is 10 years old and was (for all intents & purposes) built before internet ever existed.
This website has, however, served me very well.

Mostly what it does is a good job of showing up in local searches. No matter how you combine the keywords my site always shows up on the top page for just about any search. I used to think this position was because my company name was exactly what you would type into a search engine. I am thinking now that this has to do more with longevity and how many other websites point to my website. My work is featured in lots and lots of blogs about kitchen design and has a fairly active following in some of civilian curated websites like Houzz or Pinterest.

My new goals are to move farther up the food chain and reach a more global audience. I would like to change my company name to something that is not so geographically limiting but I also don’t want to lose that fan base that gives me all this great positioning for local search.

What I am wondering is this: If I kept the old website active but had 301 re-directs for every page would this provide a reasonable path for my old fan base to find me? The new website will have a more proactive social media presence as well as responsive design that doesn’t exist right now. The new photography is really great and I hope to add video content to make my new site more useful and exciting. The people I am appealing to are highly motivated and hungry for information. I don’t want any fluff at all. Every page filled with calories.

What do you think would be the implications of rebooting this program under a different brand name if I also added all these other enhancements?

First, let me start by getting some internet history straight.

It might not have existed for you, but ten years ago the Internet was old and going strong. We where already on the 4th generation of HTML, and HTML5’s first draft was 3 years old. WordPress was on it’s third major release ten years ago, and RapidWeaver was up to version 5.

My consulting company was building commercial websites, thousands of man hours (millions of dollars) starting back in the mid 90’s for large-cap companies. I remember having online banking site’s that literally had 50 thousand+ users logged on at the same time 20 years ago. I was buying books on Amazon back in the late 90s.

Now to some of the questions

Okay, not sure what you mean keep my old website active? Do you mean the domain name (URL)? You need to own the URL for 301s to keep working. How long you keep redirects going is up to you. The cost of renewing the old domain name is minimal, so it’s best to error on the side of caution.

You should expect to lose some of the SERP ranking. There’s a bunch of stuff that goes into how search engines rank sites for a particular search phase. Local search is completely different than global searching. And on the Internet a domain name change is huge. As far as search engines go the domain is the company.

Now the 301 redirects will help, but it’s not the same page, content or domain so don’t expect that the ranking won’t take a hit. Hopefully the content is better on the new site so the recovery in ranking It won’t take long.

Saying that my website pre-dated internet was my way of commenting about how archaic the site is.)
Using SEO keywords in my company name though was prescient. As I recall I was having coffee with Al Gore when we concluded the interweb would probably be one day dependent on search

I am hoping that the negative impact of changing page content will be overcome by the fact that my new website will be responsive in design. My (limited) understanding is that SEO favors sites with fresh content and rich media like video etc.

What I am hoping to do is also add Instagram-Pinterest-Facebook at the same time. The audience for those platforms seems to be somewhat feral and a bit anarchistic. With good content I think I can expect these people to share vigorously. I have limited Pinterest now but nothing I have really promoted. I have no presence at all on Facebook or Instagram. There might even be some twitter on the horizon. I am waiting to roll out this until I have enough stories and images formatted to keep ahead of content and keep content fresh.

When you change your domain name, search engines will treat it as a New site, a brand new business.

Most reliable sources on SEO will tell you that it’s about three months to get the impact of changes to be reflected fully in search engines.

The 301s will help the new site with backlinks. But don’t expect it to give the new website all the SEO ”juice” the old one had on day one.

Expect a serious drop-in SERP ranking with hopefully a rise back.

Thanks Doug. That is helpful info.

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