The Next Big Thing in SEO is Brand Presence
Brand presence is the next big tactic in your overall SEO strategy. You’ve heard of SEO – search engine optimization – right?! If not, Google it. And that highlights the definition: SEO is the magic of bringing your content to the top of a Google search.
Since the dawn of time (OK, since 1990 when the first search engine was created in Canada - you’re welcome, world), search engine optimizers (SEO’ers for short) have tried to influence search engines to make their page appear at the top of a search result.
Because of this, sophisticated engines like Google must crack down on tactics that influence their results. A great way to do this is to recognize brand presence and monitor for industry relevance and consistency.
Brand presence is everywhere your brand exists online. This can be through social media, directories, reviews, your website, guest blogs, and that random ancestory.ca account you created once. It all adds up to a blueprint of what you or your business is about.
Brand presence management isn’t really a new tactic. I discovered the awesome power a few years back. I went beyond standard search engine optimization for a public figure who had some issues with negative pages coming up in a search for his name. By building a strong presence on social media, affiliate websites, and media outreach, the first page of a Google search result went from half of the top pages displaying negative websites, to only one (couldn’t get rid of that one unfortunately).
Beyond being able to make your brand flood the front page of a search result, presence creates a time-capsuled dialogue of your product or service to the world (and search engines). Let that sink in for a moment. What are you posting online that’s representing your business by association? What can you post to help increase your SEO so you can be found organically in a Google search?
Brand presence is the next big thing in SEO because it’s the only long-haul accountability factor in combating spam SEO tactics. SEO’ers are interested in quick results. But those tactics become disingenuous. Having your brand name tied to a library of content that is relevant to your industry makes your brand appear like the expert.
Put yourself in Google’s shoes for a minute. You want to give users the best possible experience. You’re going to do everything you can with your $66 Billion to do so. That means verifying that the content served up in a search is reliable, trustworthy, and from a source that is consistent.
That’s why brand presence can help give you an edge in your SEO strategy. Now don’t get me wrong, having a sound website and utilizing your keywords is still vitally important. But if you want to have a long-term edge over your competition, you need to position yourself as an expert in your field through social media, directories, and by driving traffic to your website. Because you can bet that Google is looking to see if you’re a “real” brand when it comes to vouching for your content in a search result.
Ways to improve your brand presence
Set up social media profiles for your business
The ones that help the most with SEO are Facebook Page, Linkedin Business Page, and Google+ Page. Hey, I get it – nobody likes Google+. But you can automate posting via Buffer to show Google some love. Tie up any social accounts that you’re no longer active on; an inactive feed gives prospective clients the impression that you’re out of business. (If you're just getting started on social media, check out these tips to help you stay focused.)
Add your business to Business Pages
They include Google Business, Bing Places, and Yelp. Most of these require a verification process which requires mailing or calling you. This allows search engines to feel confident that you are a legit brand because you’ve been verified through physical methods
Engage with your community where they are online
Leveraging a network of people who will view your content means you get traffic to your website and the potential to build referral links.
Make friends with the media and bloggers
Reach out to those who are in your industry. Get your brand out there through partnering with others who have a network you can tap into. You’ll get coveted referral links and traffic to your website.
Share relevant content
Share industry related content that is helpful to your audience. You should also be sharing other people’s stuff for variety. Remember, keep it relevant to your industry because you’re creating a catalogue of expertise in your industry.
Be consistent with your profile description across all the platforms you’re on. Make sure your description uses keywords that are relevant to your product or service.
How to make this easier on you:
I know brand presence management can seem overwhelming. Many struggle to produce content regularly, especially if they’re a solopreneur. Here are some tips:
Welcome email flow
Set up a series of emails to send when someone joins your mailing list. Normally people send one (or zero) welcome emails. Before you put new sign ups into your regular fodder, send them a short series of emails that include your best blog post (even if those suckers are old). You’ll get more traffic and engagement to those pages, which drives up your search engine rank.
Have a template email you send to clients at the end of a job that asks for a review on your Google Business Page. Make it short and include a link. Driving up those 5 star ratings on Google is going to make your product or service come out on top.
Now go out there and populate the internet with your fabulous selves!
Rachel Di Martino is a Toronto Mom of two who started Geek Unicorn on a mission to help brands prosper online through SEO, web development, and online technologies.