For a myriad of reasons, companies occasionally come to a decision that they need to change the name of their company or brand.

In a digital world where your company name or brand is located in places you don’t directly control or own, a good plan of attack is vital to ensure you don’t lose more than you gain in changing your name.

Let’s start with the big question you need to ask yourself.

Domain Name

Does your website domain name need to be changed? The answer to this question will dictate just how much work you may have to do. The amount of work can be lessened by looking up available domain names before you make a final decision on the new company name. So let’s assume you have done your due diligence by researching available domain names ahead of time and secured them. What’s next?


Before we go on to other digital changes, you now need to think about what a change in your domain name may have affected. Where is your domain name printed, listed, engraved, etc.? We’ll cover most of the digital listings, but remember that there are a lot of offline items you will need to change as well.

Now that you have a small headache thinking about all the additional printed materials that need to be changed, let’s refocus back on our digital efforts.


First of all, if you are changing your name, many times the reasons behind that name change may also dictate several other company changes, such as different products or services, a different approach to marketing or even a totally different target for your services and products. These are all reasons why you should consider a totally new website. Whether that is just a new look and design or a complete overhaul, both bring about an opportunity for you to truly take a step back and review your entire website.

Make sure your new website is ready to go live the very day you announce to the world that your name has changed. If you have taken the time and resources to completely change your company’s image, the website certainly should not be left to remind people of what you used to be. If you have simply decided to change your name and not your company’s entire image, you should still make sure everything is ready to go live at the same time.

There are several technical things you will want to remember, in addition to the look, feel, and content of the site.

  1. Redirects – If you are completely overhauling your site, make sure you have proper redirects set up for pages that have moved or no longer exist. Although search engines can usually find your new content if you’ve built your new site correctly, there will be a lot of links across the web you will not have control over that may take time to be updated (if they ever get updated). Proper redirects will not only help visitors to these other sites find your new site properly, it will also help search engines understand what has happened to your older content.
  2. Page titles – Oftentimes, page titles are overlooked when a site gets a makeover. Yet, these are vitally important because they are often what a person sees when they do a search. Make sure these are updated across your entire site, and don’t take any shortcuts by copying and pasting the same thing for each page. These need to be unique!
  3. Multiple sites – If you have multiple websites (such as special product sites or divisional sites), make sure you update all the sites, especially those links that are pointing to the website(s) you have changed. Search engines learn a lot about a site from the sites that link to it. If your other sites continue to call your company/brand by its old name, search engines may become confused and you could lose some of the branding authority you have built up over the years.

Your website is going to be one of the biggest and most important things that need changed.

Social media

Your Social Media accounts should be ready to be changed the same day everything else goes live. Logos/avatars, cover photos, and page names/titles, and basic profile information all need to be part of the plan. Cosmetic changes are pretty self-explanatory; however, changing the name of the actual accounts can be difficult at times. These are not changes you want to think about at the last minute, but want to plan well in advance. Each social platform has its own characteristics that you will need to deal with. Some may not allow you to change your name without special documentation, while others will ask you to do nothing more than edit the name and submit. It gets even more interesting as you try to change vanity URLs that are associated with your social accounts.

When Moz changed their name from SEOMoz to Moz a couple years ago, they documented the processes they needed to go through for their social platforms. They listed detailed information for all the major social players as well as several of the secondary platforms. Their blog post on the topic is a must-read for anyone planning to go through such a transition.

Local Listings

Updating information on Yelp, Google My Business or other similar local listing sites is vital so people can find your brick and mortar store. Google My Business Listings are used across Google in many areas including Maps and regular search results. If these results are not updated, duplicate listings and misinformation could easily start leading potential customers astray.

Friendly Links

Perhaps you aren’t spending as much time link building anymore, yet links are still important to one’s ranking, especially when dealing with incorrect links. If there are any friendly links from other websites that utilize your old name, you will want to do your best at getting those updated and changed. For many, one of the first places to start may be Wikipedia. If your site is linked from Wikipedia you will want to get that corrected quickly. Although Wikipeda “NoFollows” all their links, you still want to make sure people come to your site when they click on one of their links.

If you are unsure what sites may link to yours, you can do a quick search through your analytics account or webmaster tools account. These will provide you will a list with which you can start in your link-updating strategies.

Advertising Campaigns

Oftentimes, we remember all the things we see on a daily basis, but we forget those things we have set up months ago. And although it is wise to always maintain and update your digital advertising campaigns, often they end up neglected.

So in short, make sure you update your digital ads and landing pages to reflect your new name and website. There is nothing worse than having a new site, and yet your paid traffic is still heading to an old domain. Hopefully, you will have created the correct redirects we mentioned earlier, and traffic will still get to where it needs to go in case you forget, but it’s better to send traffic directly where it needs to go.

Odds and Ends

If you have any email templates, make sure you update those, but often it’s the little things that we forget about. Your personal email signature is most likely viewed every day by all kinds of people. Make sure you remind your employees to update their email signatures too.

If your company does presentations using programs like PowerPoint or Google Presentations, make sure all of your templates have been updated with your new name.

And that is just the beginning!

We’ve just highlighted a few of the main items touched by a change in company name or brand. There are probably several others that may be unique to your business or industry.

And although you could make a great list and check every item off, your work has really only begun. You will probably do several marketing and advertising campaigns to get your new name out to the public and your customers. But remember, a good name is more important than all the riches in the world. Maintaining your new name will take work, and that is an important part—if not one of the hardest parts—of running a business. If you do what is needed to maintain a good name, your customers will do much of the rest of the work for you.

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