It’s no secret that SEO is supposed to first be about readers and then about the Google bots, but it’s also no secret that all Webmasters make sure those bots are happy first and foremost. However, what many people don’t take the time to think about is the importance that SEO can have on a company. Readers and bots are important, but branding is also a huge aspect of success online. You have to make sure not only that your brand’s voice and message remains consistent across the web, but reputation and sheer brand building is also something to take seriously. Believe it or not, SEO can be a huge part of this if thought about in the right way.
Understanding How Branding and SEO Can Work Together
To understand how SEO can positively affect your brand you have to understand what helps build a brand and then work from the top down. There are several different things that can help build up a brand name:
- A distinct personality. This comes down to tone of voice and oftentimes subject matter. You want to have a personality online that sets you apart and makes the brand seem relatable. Consumers want to know what they’re getting, so having a distinct personality leaves nothing to the imagination. Be funny, creative, and stand your ground.
- Positive online relationships. This generally means positive relationships with your consumers through constant commenting and/ or testimonials. However, it can mean positive relationships with others in your industry, which brings us to the next point.
- Authoritative associations/ connections. The more you can show that your brand is connected to powerful people, companies, and publications on the web, the better it makes your brand look.
- Consistent messaging and visibility. Part of having a solid brand is making sure that your messages are consistent across the board—social media particularly—and making sure that your brand is seen online so that it can be continually recognized.
What it really comes down to is really knowing your brand and what you want people to think when they think about your company (even better, when they think about your industry). Having some of the characteristics above can help ensure that you know what your brand represents, which means you can be ready to use your SEO methods to help make branding happen.
Top 5 Ways to Use SEO to Reinforce Your Brand
Advanced Web Ranking wrote a great article here that talks about how these two strategies, SEO and branding, not only support one another, but actually reinforce each other’s efforts to create a “synchronized marketing front.” When done correctly the combination can help you create a measurable and long-lasting strategy. Below are a few ways you can merge the two:
Brand Image Alt Tagging
Image alt tags help make sure that the Google bots can read your image and know what it is all about, so it’s obviously essentially for SEO when talking about the images in your articles. However, spending time on your alt tags can also improve your branding with a little bit of extra work. You always want to make sure that your brand logo is showing up on Google image search, and this occurs if you add branded text within the alt attribute.
Strategic Link Building
This is probably the SEO tactic that can help you build brand awareness most, but only if done correctly. You want to make sure you’re focusing on how the link relates to your brand as opposed to the link juice it’s trying to bring back. In other words, simply building links on irrelevant websites and/or with keyword rich anchor text is not going to make mention of your brand to an audience that matters (not only an audience that will navigate and convert on your website, but an audience who will share your articles on social media and further spread the word about your brand).
Fortunately, that way of building links are no longer SEO best practices. A great option today would be to create more infographics that are clearly created by your brand. Infographics are most likely to be shared, and they help show your brand as an authority. You can learn about creating infographics here.
Narrow Down Your Niche When Researching Keywords
Keyword research will probably always be an important part of SEO, and the introduction of semantic SEO makes this even more important. However, if you want to also focus on building your brand it’s important that you don’t only focus on keywords that have a high search volume and/or low competition. While this can be great in certain situations, it’s not always going to do anything for your brand. For this reason, it’s important to also focus your keyword research on narrowing down your niche.
By thinking on a smaller scale, you can begin to become established within a smaller group of people. Being an established part of any group helps give you credibility, create solid relationships, and makes you more relatable and easy to connect with—all the things that help build a brand.
Completed Google+ Accounts
Plain and simple, your Google+ account is where Google gets its information for their Knowledge Graph. Whether you’re one of the top results now or you hope to be in the future, this has to be ready to go so that when someone hovers over your company result your brand name and logo will pop up on the screen. Local SEO not only appreciates this, but it’s one of the best ways to get your brand out there to as many people as possible. It’s all about visibility, and this tactic is the king of making that happen.
Don’t Forget Company Reviews
This one might be a little obvious, but it wouldn’t be a good list without this point. Reviews are actually more beneficial to your branding efforts than your SEO in most cases, but regardless, this is another spot where both will benefit. The more reviews you have on Google particularly the better you will rank, but reviews are where people go to check out the reputation of your brand. This is where those relationships and credibility come out, so you should always work on getting as many positive reviews as possible. You can visit this article to learn more.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list, just some of the most popular tips, so what would you add? Let us know in the comment section below.