Acquisition certainly offers great space in regards of a rebranding, requiring both the IT team and the SEO / PPC intern to go through a set of migration strategies.
With an acquisition, it is a good time also to assess whether or not some products should be dismissed, or eventually continue to live beneath the original brand, hence the first step is determining the extent of the rebrand, which will typically be determined by the reason for wanting to change market perception. However, it must be taken in consideration that there could be losses of the internet market share if the rebranding carries on, negatively affecting the ROI.
Web site changes and SEO implications
Because of the rebranding, integrating the two web sites offering is a crucial aspect.
None of the traffic previously gained by WidgetsRUs should be lost. The existing MadeUpCompany (called A from now onward) should host a number of brand new pages equal to the product offering of WidgetsRUs (called B from now onward).
During such an operation, the previous pages on B should be 301 redirected to the brand new pages on A. This will ensure both the customer journey continuity as well as the greatest part of the previous web site authority to be transferred toward the new pages.
It is highly recommended to keep the old web site live for a period of at least 1 year. Considering the cost of the hosting packages, a longer period may be advisable too.
Both the old and the new web sites should ensure:
- A decent navigational structure so to allow the new pages to be easily reachable from both the users and the search engines;
- Content copywriting on both sites to be up to date making users clear the products are now traded underneath a new brand;
The marketing team should endeavour for supporting the SEO team generating fresh content to be used for the link building in the various form.
For this specific part, I also assume the acquisition has given company A the possibility to get access to the existing PPC account with the full history.
Although similar to a site redesign, rebranding an entire site requires changing the PPC process in some key areas. There are plenty of issues that could come up depending on the site or the brand’s situation; however, the following key points should help through a rebranding situation.
Should you use the new or the old account?
Because during the initial period both the brands will continue to exist, assuming the AdWords quality score is looking healthy then the old accounts can be used for transition everything over as the new pages on the site goes live.
As the old account will be shut down at a certain point, the structure needs to be replicated over a new profile. This unlikely means being able to use exactly the same configuration in place. It is important ensuring an adequate amount of time for this operation.
Bid on the old brand
It is fundamental keep the old account going bidding on the legacy brand’s branded keywords orienting the existing audience to the new brand with specific PPC ad (e.g. Looking for X. This has now become Y).
This can ensure people making the connection between the two brand identities and this tactic can be particularly helpful if the legacy site or sites have been redirected to the new brand’s website.
Although the products are the same, and the old brand and the new brand messages may coincide, it is worth investigating new marketing messages that may help convert better.
By changing the URLs but also the account, the campaign will get a new quality score. For this reason it will almost impossible maintain the same bidding level. Higher bids are then expected on the majority of the keywords just to achieve a similar position / conversion to what the old legacy brand was achieving.
Again the marketing team should work jointly with the SEO & PPC strategist providing in advance an estimated timeline for all the products launch as well as an indicative snippet for the PPC ads.
A strong cooperation can only ensure the maximum performances from all the campaigns.