Should You Ever Change Your Company Name? | Ep. #661

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In episode #661, Eric and Neil discuss whether you should ever change your company’s name. Tune in to find out if they think this is a fatal error or a smart move.

TIME-STAMPED SHOW NOTES:

  • [00:27] Today’s Topic: Should You Ever Change Your Company Name?
  • [00:35] Moz was formally SEOMoz, but they went through a process where they had to change domains.
  • [00:57] When you change domains, you lose 5-10% of your link juice.
  • [01:10] Moz wrote a blog post about their name change and how it affected the company.
  • [01:20] If you are going to make the change, make sure that you have your SEO bases covered.
  • [01:28] You could potentially lose traffic and revenue.
  • [01:31] If you change the name of your company/domain, you will need a 301 Redirect for the homepage and all the internal pages.
  • [01:50] The main reason to change your name is if the name keeps you pigeon-holed.
  • [02:06] If you have a ton of negative press you can’t fix, it’s a good idea to change your company’s name.
  • [02:10] Comcast had a lot of bad press that was unavoidable.
  • [02:33] They changed their cable product to Xfinity and tried to rebrand.
  • [02:56] It helped to bury the negative press.
  • [03:27] From a reputation management standpoint, a name change makes sense.
  • [03:44] Eric knows a person who was sued by the SEC. His name was so tainted by this, that he had to legally change his name to avoid the stink.
  • [04:01] TechCrunch had MobileCrunch, but eventually dropped it to be under one name.
  • [04:26] If you have a strong brand, consider reputation management before you scrap your name.
  • [04:33] When Eric first took over Singlegrain, he didn’t change the name because there was no equity in the website.
  • [05:15] That’s all for today!
  • [05:19] Go to Singlegrain.com/Giveway for a special marketing tool giveaway!

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The post Should You Ever Change Your Company Name? | Ep. #661 appeared first on Marketing School Podcast.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Speaker 1: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the guile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

Neil Patel: And I'm Neil Patel.

Eric Siu: And today we're going to talk about if you should ever change your company name. So, we're going to start this off in the context of SEO. So, a while back one of our favorite SEO tools out there, Moz, was actually formally known as SEO Moz. What happened was they had to go through this whole ordeal of switching domains, and what happens when you have to do that, there's a whole bunch of stuff, we're going to oversimplify it right now, but you have to worry about redirects, you have to worry about the structure of the new site.
Also, when you do redirects you sometimes lose, not sometimes, oftentimes you lose a good chunk of linkages.

Neil Patel: Yeah, roughly 10%.

Eric Siu: 5 to 10%, yeah.
So, you've got to take that into account as well, but Moz actually wrote a blog post detailing this, so I highly recommend you check that out to get more details around what went well and what didn't go well with their name change. And Neil actually has an example from a couple of other blogs as well in terms of making that change. So, I think throwing this out, it sounds like if you're going to make the change, you've got to make sure that you cover your basis on the SEO front, or else you're going to lose a ton of traffic and lose a lot, well, revenue.

Neil Patel: Yeah, and on the SEO front you need the 301 redirect, not just your homepage to the new homepage, the new domain name. You also have to do the internal pages, and you have to change all the internal links on your website to the new domain. And ideally you should be keeping the site structure and everything same, and if you do that you can preserve most severe traffic.
But the main reason you should change your name is if your name is pigeonholing you, like Moz. It was pigeonholing them in SEO. Now, they went back to SEO, but if you wanted to expand outside of it, you don't want your name to just be around SEO. Or, you should consider changing your name if you have a ton of negative press that you can't fix. For those of you who live in the United States, you're probably familiar with Comcast. There's videos online of things like technicians, Comcast technicians, falling asleep on their customers couches because they're waiting on hold so long just to talk to some internally at Comcast to help the customer.
It's not the technicians fault, it's Comcast's fault for just being really inefficient. So, what did they do? They eventually announced a new product, Xfinity. And it was pretty much the same thing, no difference, they just changed the name. They put lipstick on a pig as they call it in marketing, they made it look sexy, and funnily enough as a kid I'm like oh my God we've got to switch to Xfinity, and I'm like it's the same thing. I eventually learned that the hard way.
But by doing that, everyone started loving Xfinity again, they started eventually releasing more features, and they didn't have as much negative press. Sure, Xfinity still isn't as great as some of the other providers, like Netflix, but with Comcast they had no choice but to change their name because it would go viral every month, something wrong would happen on how their support sucks, or people falling asleep on their couches, or their technicians falling asleep on customer's couches. They had no choice, because they just had such negative press. But for the majority of you, you're not going to run into that issue.

Eric Siu: Yeah, so I honestly don't have much more to add around this. I mean from a reputation management standpoint, it completely makes sense, because sometimes if you have to try to recover it's going to cost you a lot more. We're talking six figures, millions of dollars to try to save your brand. You're better off just starting from scratch.
I actually know someone, he was sued by the SCC, settled for a couple of million dollars, but his name was basically tainted, and he had to change his name. So, he no longer uses his original name, it's actually a different one now. So, whether it's your company name, which sometimes can just be your brand, or you're trying to do something else, maybe you're trying to expand into other areas besides just SEO. And Neil, you mentioned Tech Crunch as well?

Neil Patel: Yeah, so Tech Crunch used to have a mobile blog to compete against Gizmodo, they had Mobile Crunch. Eventually, what they did is they just merged everything over to Tech Crunch, because there's too many properties and names to deal with. If you look at Business Insider they have a lot of off shoots under Business Insider, but they're all under one name. It just keeps things more simple. When a brand is worth a lot of money, the last thing you want to do is change it.
If you have a ton of negative press that you can't repair from, sure, consider it. But instead, consider reputation management.

Eric Siu: I will say, when I first took over Single Grain, initially even Neil was like, "Well, Single Grain has no brand equity." The reason why I didn't change the name, when that was the perfect opportunity to change it, was because there was some SEO equity in the website. So I didn't want to go through the whole ordeal of having to, in addition to all the tasks I had on my plate, a bunch of things on fire, I didn't want to have to deal with another thing where, you know, handling a bunch of re-directs, site structure, all that different stuff around the site. So I just chose to leave the name.
And now the site has gotten even stronger, so it's harder and harder to change. Not saying it's impossible, but again, look at what Moz wrote about having to change from SEO Moz to Moz. I'm sure you can just Google it. And then you'll get some tips on what to avoid, and what to do.
So, that's it for today, but before we go, go to singlegrain.com/giveaway to get marketing tools to grow your business. And we'll see you tomorrow.

Speaker 1: This session of Marketing School has come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing strategies and tactics to help you find the success you've always dreamed of. And don't forget to rate and review so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow, right here on Marketing School.

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