MoreVisibility Supports Domain Transition & Rebranding and Increases RSM’s Organic Traffic YoY
The Challenge: Rebranding
An international rebranding effort is a daunting task for any organization. This is especially true when the organization has a truly enterprise identity: over 9,000 professionals and associates across 90 cities in the US and part of an international membership that serves 120 countries across the world.
Because so many factors go into a major rebranding, many executives may have a hard time allocating additional resources to SEO during such an initiative. But if SEO is left by the wayside, there is often a major negative impact on the organization’s visibility.
This was the challenge faced by MoreVisibility and RSM US LLP (“RSM”), the leading U.S. provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. RSM and MoreVisibility had a long-term partnership, but now faced the challenge of embedding SEO into a major rebrand and overhaul of RSM’s digital footprint.
Rebranding and Transitioning SEO
MoreVisibility and RSM developed and executed a strategy to successfully transition the brand’s presence from McGladrey (mcgladrey.com) to RSM US LLP (rsmus.com) in Organic search and improve SEO, while using Conductor Searchlight as their primary platform for identifying opportunities and reporting on impact. Simply mitigating a negative impact was not enough: a main focus was finding opportunities for improvement.
It was important to keep a close eye on keyword rankings during the rebranding and domain name change from McGladrey.com to RSMUS.com.
A focus was placed on the quick removal of URLs from McGladrey.com and their replacement with URLs from RSMUS.com within search.
While continuing normal business operations, this effort had to successfully:
- Set expectations with key stakeholders about the potential outcomes of the rebranding and transition.
- Ensure that the transition of the website’s presence in search engines aligned with rebranding timelines and business goals.
- Transition the branding, URLs, and Organic rankings within search engines to the new website as quickly and smoothly as possible.
- Find opportunities to communicate the rebranding to search engine users and website visitors who might not have been aware of the name change and rebranding initiative.
- Coordinate recommendations and changes with a variety of geographically dispersed teams including IT, design, marketing, communications and public relations, and more.
- Find opportunities to embed SEO improvements into the new website prior to launch, while limiting the additional resources that needed to be dedicated to such efforts.
Prioritizing High-Impact, High-Value Branding Opportunities
MoreVisibility worked quickly to identify key areas of importance that would impact the rebranding and that SEO and content teams could add value to.
MoreVisibility’s SEO and content teams were able to leverage Conductor Searchlight to add value in many cases, such as:
- Providing recommendations on page naming conventions and content consolidation based on data from user search behavior.
- Identifying and segmenting key areas of focus for the business via keyword visibility for brand and non-brand terms.
- Identifying key gaps in content leading up to the website transition that could be improved upon through content updates or new content creation.
- Leveraging competitive analysis features of the platform to identify strengths and weaknesses of competitor SEO strategies.
- Tracking the transition of the old domain and its URLs out of search results while being replaced by the new website and its URLs.
Leading up to the transition, search results were unclear and not wholly representative of the new branding.
After the transition, search results were aligned with the new RSM US LLP branding.
Three Strategic Components for the Rebranding Strategy
While there were many tactical components to the rebranding strategy, RSM and MoreVisibility were able to achieve success by focusing on three strategic areas:
- Risk Mitigation: Setting clear expectations about the potential outcomes was critical. It’s important to determine the upper and lower bounds of acceptable risk as it relates to visibility and performance (traffic, conversions, rankings, etc.).
- Value Creation: Identifying opportunities for SEO to create value for the organization was also very important. RSM’s tagline is “The Power of Being Understood.” The brand promise of adding value beyond just the execution of a task was something that permeated all of the work during the redesign. It was crucial in motivating all teams to find opportunities for value creation, both internally and externally.
- Business Growth: Although a lot of effort was put into to the rebranding itself, RSM had to continue its operations and focus on growing its business. Both RSM and MoreVisibility found a lot of success by focusing on key items that would have an impact on the growth of the business and clearly communicating those opportunities in a way that was focused on the business, not on SEO.
Measuring Branding SEO Success
The website re-launch exceeded all expectations. Less than 30 days after the launch of the new website and domain, there was a complete transition of indexed URLs and traffic, also resulting in traffic gains compared to pre-launch levels.
With a domain name change, one KPI is the time to indexation of the new domains URLs. This image shows a quick replacement of McGladrey.com URLS with RSMUS.com URLs in search.
And the results speak for themselves:
- A near seamless transition in the search appearance of RSM for keywords related to both the old and new company names.
- A 99.18% success rate in redirecting all URLs immediately at site launch with the remaining 0.92% identified and corrected within hours after site launch.
- A complete re-indexation of the website under its new URLs within four weeks. This exceeded expectations and the industry standard for website transitions of this size, especially considering that there was a domain name change as well as individual page level URL changes and content consolidation.