Blog: SEO
Neural Net Concept

Avoid SEO Issues When Renaming Entities

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John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown SEO.

There is SEO risk to renaming your business, company, or ongoing serialized creative work (like a podcast).

The issue is you are renaming your “entity”, and there is always the possibility Google may treat this as a brand new “thing” in the Knowledge Graph.

What is the Knowledge Graph?

Entities in Google are proper nouns (landmarks, notable people, organizations, named creative works) that exist in the Google Knowledge Graph.

The Knowledge Graph is a database of information about people, places, and things. This information is gathered from many different sources of factual information.

When you rename your “entity”, Google may not be able to connect the information it has compiled about your previous entity (organization, podcast, company, building) to the newly named entity.

Google looks at information on the web, and when there is a mismatch, Google cannot “connect the dots” it loses confidence that the two things are the same. If the Knowledge Graph “sees” these two named entities as separate things, your rankings may drop or you may no longer appear in Google carousels or other SERP special features. We talk about this situation in the video linked here.

Gaps in the Knowledge Graph

Google compiles information about entities from reliable sources around the web. These sources include your website, your Google Business Profile/Google Maps listing, your social media profiles, industry directory listings, and brand mentions on other websites.

Use Extreme Caution When Changing Your Business Name

Many people see other businesses keyword-stuffing their business name on Google Maps, and believe this is a shortcut to ranking higher. Don’t do it.

Google looks at the name of your business on your website, Google Business Profile, Yelp, social media profiles, and other industry directory sites, and expects the name to be the same in all of these listings.

If the name of the business does not match, Google’s machine learning algorithms may not be confident the two entities are the same.

In the event that you decide to change the name of your business or organization, you must change the name on all the places it is mentioned on the web that you have control over. Also, if you can get the name changed on other sites that mention your old brand name, reach out to those website managers and get it changed.

The more congruous the information about your old name and new name, the more likely your SEO will stay stable.

Also, if you change your social media links for branding purposes, be sure to change those links everywhere on the web too. These are also part of your overall Knowledge Graph about your organization or entity.

Lastly, if you plan on changing the domain name of your website, make sure you have a sitewide 301 redirect of the old domain to the new domain name as well. (This is extremely important.)

Don’t Change Your Podcast Name

In the case of creative works (like a podcast) it takes data about your show name from the podcast RSS feed that sends to Apple iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify. If your podcast name in the main feed does not match what is on your website and all the other brand mentions of the podcast, it can see these as two different podcasts.

In other words, resist the temptation to “keyword-stuff” the name of your podcast. It is likely to have an overall negative effect—especially if your podcast already appears in a Google carousel.

Still Have SEO Questions?

If you’re stuck on an SEO problem that you can’t solve, reach out and contact the team at Lockedown SEO. We’ll be happy to assist you in any way we can.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown SEO.

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