Brand Biz: Redesigning? Here’s what you need to know from an SEO pro

At CookIt, we help bloggers think outside the blog format—we help them think bigger! Often, this means that the blogger needs to redesign her blog in order to build a “house” big enough for all her ideas. But what about all the traffic and links she’s built up over the years? What if she wants to change the name and domain of her brand?

We went to Arsen Rabinovich, founder of Top Hat Rank, a digital marketing agency with expertise in SEO, for the answers to these and other questions.

How risky is it to change your domain/url if you want to change the name of your blog?

Arsen: We try to avoid changing URLs as much as possible. However, sometimes you just can’t, like when changing your domain name during a re-brand.  For this specific reason, Google provided us a “change of address” procedure and submission through Google’s Search Console (http://bit.ly/2zV16Fd). When doing this, both sites need to be up at the same time. You’ll need to validate the new domain via Search Console and update the old domain with redirects (301) from the old domain to new domain.

What about a blogger’s links — can she take them with her?

Arsen: Yes, if the migration was implemented properly, the redirects will continue to pass “authority” from external backlinks to your new site. Accurately handled redirects are vital!

Does SEO play a role in the redesign process? If so, when? How?

Arsen: Not so much in the design process. We tell our clients to go through the design process without getting us (SEOs) involved. You want to design for the user, for the conversion, NOT for SEO. Once the site is wire framed/designed, we come in and mark it up with proper HTML and schema before it goes into production (coding the design into a theme).

Any tips on plug-ins bloggers should be using in their redesigns?

Arsen: The premium version of Yoast SEO is probably the best SEO plugin for WordPress. However, if you are using another plugin and it’s working, I would not recommend swapping it out. Always make sure your plugins are up to date. Not paying attention to this will create many issues and in some case get your website hacked.  So keep them updated.

We know SEO is a long game, but how long until a blogger begins to see results after the redesign?

Arsen: Again, when handled correctly, your redesign should not only retain rankings but help the site grow further. Post-launch, keep an eye on your Search Console to make sure that the daily pages crawled by Google (http://bit.ly/2zT9JjO)  are always trending upwards. This is a good indicator of a successful migration.  

Brand Biz: What to Know Now About IGTV

Are you posting content on IGTV yet? Are you watching IGTV? Is IGTV important to your content strategy?

For answers to these and many other questions, we went to lifestyle personality, successful YouTube brand and video authority, Theodore Leaf.

Q: Should influencers be in a hurry to start posting on IGTV if they aren’t there yet?

A: I would recommend only posting content that makes sense versus just putting things up to “be there first”. People say all the time that they are “too late” to a specific social channel. But we’ve all seen newcomers from out of nowhere come in and amass a loyal following in a social instant.

Q: What’s the trick to thinking in a vertical format vs. horizontal?

A: Make sure the journey you take the viewer on is all about that “phone” perspective-—more casual.  Vertical can be more rough around the edges, and that is part of what makes it work. Try a mix of “produced” content and more “on the fly” type things.

Q: Can we edit existing video content?

A: Editing existing content is a great idea, just make sure the edits are clean and the subject remains inside the vertical frame. I’ve  been seeing some poorly repurposed content that leaves the viewer frustrated because things are missing or “off.”

Q: Can we repost content from our channel or IG Stories to IGTV?

A: You can certainly edit Stories content and post it to IGTV; however, I think the better move is more about true long form versus the jumpy short cuts we expect from Stories.

Q: Other than length, what’s the main difference between IG Stories and IGTV video?

A: The difference between Stories and IGTV is really more about watch time than anything else. With Stories you go in expecting to see several snippets that bring movement to the day, everything from behind the scenes to entire dinners being made. The IGTV platform gives you the opportunity to create longer content that has more of a service intention than simply entertainment. For example, as a viewer, would you really want to learn how to make a macaroon on IG Stories with so many cuts and back and forth? Or would you prefer one smooth 10-minute segment?

Q: How do we know how long our videos should be?

A: Time will tell how long viewers want IGTV content to be. My rule of thumb is keep a steady pace in your videos and don’t obsess over the length.

Q: How do you see IGTV changing the video landscape?

A: IGTV will change the video landscape by pushing creators who were not doing any video to finally jump in. YouTube as a platform is not the easiest to understand, so with Instagram creating this platform, it has broken down a lot of the barriers to entry for video.

Q: Any tips on how to lure our followers to our IGTV channel?

A: Promoting your IGTV channel via Stories is a great way to bring viewers over—think of Stories as a trailer to the feature that is housed on IGTV. Also something I am thinking about is creating regular series that the audience can count on seeing every week.

Q: Is it true that 78% of all mobile traffic will be video in less than 3 years?

A: I am unsure of the likelihood of those numbers being accurate but I can say that video in all of its forms is a highly engaging way to communicate your message, and has the potential to build you an incredibly loyal audience.