After thoroughly researching the strength of its brand, home improvement company HomeAdvisor.com rebranded itself last year after 13 years as ServiceMagic.
Narrowing the brand’s focus on home improvement, repair and maintenance, the rebranding effort was a massive undertaking that included a broad set of corporate measures along with the decision to switch the company’s URL to its new name.
“We had 13 years of SEO equity in the ServiceMagic domain and ranked highly for organic search,” said HomeAdvisor CEO Chris Terrill.
But Terrill and his CTO Brandon Ridenour understood that the strongest brands thrive on Google, and changing the URL was a key step toward establishing the best foundation for HomeAdvisor.com’s online brand presence.
With more than $200 million in revenue at stake and over 10 million URLs to be switched, Ridenour researched a number of case studies on companies that had switched URLs. He found that a common mistakes companies made was launching a new website redesign and switching the URL all at once.
“It takes time for Google to index 10 million pages,” said Ridenour, “The less the search engines have to digest the better chance they quickly and clearly associate your new domain with your old domain, and transfer associated domain strength and history accordingly.”
According to Terrill and Ridenour, the corporate rebranding effort took approximately one year with nearly 100 employees devoted to the cause. In keeping with what he learned from his research, Ridenour launched HomeAdvisor.com’s site redesign in September of last year, but waited three months before switching over the URL.
Not counting a four-day period when HomeAdvisor.com completely disappeared from the Google index, the project unfolded mostly as expected. “The depth and duration of the traffic loss from the search engines tilted toward the more severe end of our forecasts, which was unfortunate, but was within the range of our expectations,” said Ridenour.
After eight-months since the URL switchover, Ridenour reports HomeAdvisor.com has gained 90 percent strength versus their former domain. “As the Internet space matures, I think you will see more online brand changes, no different than the brand changes that have always occurred offline,” said Terrill, “But, effectively managing SEO during a brand switch creates a wrinkle that is unique to online focused brands.”
You can read the full interview with HomeAdvisor.com’s CEO Chris Terrill and CTO Brandon Ridenour on our partner site at Search Engine Land for more details on how the company executed the URL switchover.