A successful brand encapsulates so many elements, including company culture, color palettes, the strength of the product, and brand monitoring data amongst other things. When mixed together just right, the result is a strong and healthy brand that is well-known and, more importantly, well-liked and respected by other businesses and consumers alike.
So, where does SEO fit in? Well, SEO is a hugely important part of creating awareness in the digital world. It’s no longer enough to rely on word of mouth, or even traditional PR and advertising – if you’re not maximizing your online presence and using SEO to be more visible then you are putting your business at a serious disadvantage in comparison to the competition.
With that in mind, here are the SEO techniques that you should focus on in order to have the biggest impact on your brand’s visibility.
Make full use of keywords
When planning a keyword audit and SEO strategy, it’s worth remembering that there are multiple different types of keywords, each with its own strengths and benefits to brand visibility.
For example, short-tail keywords generate a large volume of results, but are highly competitive and therefore harder to rank for. Short-tail keywords are usually three words or less and are generally used as starting points to build upon in greater depth later.
Long-tail keywords, meanwhile, are generally the largest focus for most SEO experts. As they are more context-specific, they are easier to rank. Search volume tends to be lower, but the payoff is that you are more likely to reach your target audience.
The four types of long-tail keywords are:
- Navigational – Narrow-focused keywords that typically connect to a particular domain by searching for a brand name or high-profile individual. Anyone searching for your company’s website does so with navigational keywords.
- Informational – Broad, contextual keywords that search for content that may be found on a number of sites. Think product reviews, questions around legal matters, etc.
- Commercial – Usually used before a purchase is made, commercial keywords encompass product descriptions and prices that people will use when shopping around.
- Transactional – Used by searchers looking for help in completing tasks, transactional keywords include the likes of subscribe, buy, etc.
Lastly, there are also Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. LSI keywords are words and phrases that are related to your search terms, if not directly. Put simply, they are the words and phrases that someone who is interested in your search term might also put into Google. If your article is about dog ownership, then suitable LSI keywords might include ‘cats’, ‘kennels’, or ‘raw feeding’.
Know your H headlines
Perhaps surprisingly, the format of long-form content posted online can have a huge impact on SEO and, in turn, brand visibility. In fact, any blog post that you share should make good use of the three Heading options that are found in the format box of your word processor or blog client.
Here’s how they should be deployed
- H1 headings – A H1 heading is basically the headline of your post or article. To get the most out of an H1 heading, it should be written in an attention-grabbing way and include a targeted keyword or phrase. It’s important that your H1 headline also gives an honest representation of the post’s content. Misleading H1’s will often lead to a high bounce rate, an indicator of low-quality content that search engines will penalize you for.
- H3 headings – H3 headings can be used in one of two ways. Firstly, you can use them to highlight a short paragraph below the H1 headline. This needs to be a concise phrase that encapsulates or leads into the main thrust of the article. If you were unable to integrate a keyword or key phrase in your H1, then it should definitely be included here.
Alternatively, you can use H3 headings to break your content into sections. These should be treated as titles that differentiate parts of your content and help to create a flow that guides the reader.
- H2 headings – If you use an H3 heading underneath the H1 headline, then it is worth using H2 for the sub-headings. A useful trick is to write subheadings around the questions that are frequently submitted to search engines regarding the chosen topic, and provide the answer in the main body text.
Alt tags are a way of creating SEO-friendly images, and too many times disregarded comfortably. When you upload an image to your website or even social media posts, you will have the option to add alt tags, and they’re a great way to boost keyword usage without being heavy-handed.
Alt tags are actually used by search engines in order to make content accessible to the visually impaired. They are designed to be read aloud to users who require a screen reading service, so you must be careful how you use them. If you try to simply stuff in a host of keywords then Google and the other search engines will notice and swiftly penalize you.
When it comes to alt tags, you will get a much better result by accurately describing what is in the image and relating it to your business with one or two keywords at most. With multiple images across a blog post or a case study not to mention the rest of your site, the opportunity to utilize more relevant keywords and reap the benefits of alt tags increases significantly.
Create high-quality branded content
Creating high-quality content is another great way to draw attention to your brand. In fact, one of the most effective ones.
Continuously posting fresh and engaging content such as blog posts, social media, videos, and other website content, will enable the creation of brand guidelines and largely improve your following for your brand. As well as keeping your brand in front of your target audience, content like this will let you take control of perceptions with the use of tone and stances taken. Needless to say, the more money you can afford to budget for high-quality content, the better the results will be, especially for SMBs and startups looking to scale.
When it comes to content, there are two types of links that need to be included in order to boost SEO – internal and external.
Internal links are self-explanatory, referring back to content that you have written previously to demonstrate a deep understanding of, and relevance, to the issue.
As for external links, there are actually two forms to consider.
- Outbound links from your site to a third party.
- Inbound links from a third-party site back to you.
Firstly, let’s look at linking out to another website from your own. It seems counter-intuitive to potentially take readers away from your page, but the fact is that search engines look favorably on external links. They are seen as a sign of authority, that you have done your research and therefore have something to offer the reader.
Using outbound external links not only tells Google and other search engines that your content is relevant but also builds credibility with readers who will see your site as a resource of value that is worth returning to.
One or two external links per post is generally considered best practice, but there are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing where to link to:
- Don’t link to direct competition. Not only will you be leading customers to them, but you’ll also be improving their SEO ranking.
- Do not link to sites that aren’t trustworthy or seen as authorities themselves. Any site you link to should appear within the first two pages of any given search.
- If you think a site is trustworthy but are not 100% certain that Google will agree, you can add a no-follow attribute to the link. This basically instructs search engines not to use that link when calculating your page ranking.
- It should go without saying that linking to gambling sites and porn hosting sites is a no-no unless those are the industries you operate in.
- Linking to expert content from well-known figures and bodies is always preferable. Linking to Wikipedia is fine.
Once you’re regularly creating web content that is both attention-grabbing and relevant, the next step is making sure as many people know about it as possible. Your keywords and other SEO techniques will certainly help in this regard, but the next step is to create an actionable link-building strategy.
Link building is, put simply, finding ways to persuade audiences to link to your content in their posts. The first step should be to do the research to find out what your target demographic is concerned with. You can then answer those questions using data, insights, and citations within your content, creating a post that is more likely to be shared and linked to by that same group.
The easiest way to start link building is to look for mentioned link opportunities. Putting your business name into Google’s news filter will allow you to find historical mentions. You can then contact the article host and request that a link to your site be included if it has not been already.
Any press releases or news stories present excellent opportunities for link building, so be sure to check every time someone in your business gives an interview, issues an announcement, hosts, sponsors or takes part in an event, or otherwise does something newsworthy. To ensure the proper audience targeting and contextual messaging, boost your efforts with any of the best-matching backlink analysis tools to better align your metric-driven marketing campaigns.
Brand and SEO go hand in hand. Without the one, the other will not be as strong as it might otherwise be.
By viewing SEO and brand as two tools to use toward the goal of greater visibility, you will create a strategy and working practice that will lead to notable rewards going forward. It may seem like there’s a lot to take into consideration, a lot of dos, don’ts, and best practices that need to be adhered to, but none of the above should take long to get to grips with. Once you do, you’ll be on your way to rapidly improving your brand visibility.