When thinking through your brand’s SEO strategy, remember that SEO strategy and branding strategy are two sides of the same coin. You’ll want to build the two strategies concurrently, so that when you’re thinking of one, you’re also thinking of the other.
A 2018 study found that 80% of search engine users will choose to click on a site whose brand they’re familiar with, even if that site isn’t the first one listed on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). In addition, both online and offline branding efforts contribute to the likelihood that searchers will select a familiar brand from among the search results.
Branding and SEO Strategy
Before you can begin building an SEO strategy or a branding strategy, you’ll want to have a clear idea about what your brand is. Identify your core values and ensure that you remain consistent to those values in all aspects of your online and offline presence. What audiences do you hope to attract based on your values, content, and products? Think about the profile of your ideal customer and then consider how your brand can fulfill the needs of that person.
To prepare consumers to recognize your brand when they see it pop up in search results, use your name and logo liberally in your online presence. Your company’s name and logo should appear in all the materials you share with the public, from your own website to your newsletters to your social media profiles.
Across all forms of marketing, make sure that your brand has a consistent and trustworthy voice. It’s crucial that visitors to your website and social media accounts believe in your brand’s authenticity: A 2017 study found that almost 90% of consumers would be willing to reward a company for authenticity, whether by recommending them to others or staying loyal to them in future purchases.
For an increasing number of searchers, user-generated content is key to earning their trust and willingness to read, click and buy. Wherever possible, encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand through social media posts or product reviews. Not only is such user-generated content a demonstration of your customers’ trust in you, but it helps, in turn, to develop trust among potential new customers.
Content Creation as Branding Strategy
Due to the expansion of Featured Snippets on Google, an estimated 30–40% of searches are resolved without the searcher ever clicking (this is called “no-click search). That makes it more important than ever to create valuable content that rewards the searcher for clicking.
Blog posts of 2,000 to 3,000 words now substantially outperform shorter posts, particularly if they cite their sources thoroughly and link to high-quality websites in the content of the post. In a search environment where users can get easy answers through no-click searches, you can set yourself apart by digging more deeply into a topic and collating information in new and valuable ways.
Content personalization is another way to maximize the value you’re providing to your customers. For instance, if a visitor to your website has already purchased a product, you can recommend related products that they might also be interested in. Similarly, share links at the end of blog posts to other blogs on similar topics to help your customers find what they need.
Blog posts are far from the only type of content you can create when building your brand. Try branching out into other forms of content like podcasts, vlogs, live streaming, and webinars, and assess how valuable that content is to your customers. As always, consistency is key, so invest your time in content strategies that you’re passionate about and able to maintain over the long term.
When creating new content, keep accessibility in mind as much as possible. This includes technical SEO strategies like optimizing your site’s load times, as well as strategies like placing alt-text on any images and including closed captions on any video content. Use accessible words and sentence structure in your posts, and pause to define any new terms for readers who may not be familiar with them.
Making Use of Keywords
Though the use of keywords in SEO strategy has changed over the years, keywords remain an important consideration when building an SEO strategy. Short-tail keywords, or keywords consisting of one to three words, return so many results that it’s increasingly difficult for smaller companies to target those keywords in their SEO strategy.
Instead, use short-tail keywords as a starting point, identifying the top keywords relevant to your customers and your brand. Then identify an array of long-tail keywords that users search for relatively often and that relate to your short-tail keywords. Next, create content that pertains to those long-tail keywords.
As always when working with keywords, your content should be informed, but not fully shaped, by the keywords you hope to target. Instead, the keywords you choose to target should be shaped by the needs of your company.
By the same token, avoid overusing your long-tail keywords in blog posts. The keywords are a tool for helping searchers find your content. However, once users have reached your post, they will want to find content that’s valuable to them, rather than content that uses the same few keywords over and over. Bringing searchers to your site is only half your goal. Equally important is providing content that encourages searchers to stay on your site and engage with your brand in the long term.