You won’t hear Google state that brand is a ranking factor, rather they allude to the fact by placing emphasis on factors that encompass brand and that they deem of the utmost importance: Trust, Authority and Expertise. Digital brand building is now more important than ever, especially as evolving technologies such as voice search transition people away from the traditional methods of typing in searches. While “brand” is quickly becoming the element that can elevate your business above your competition, it shouldn’t come at the expensive of ignoring your site’s fundamentals.
Yawn! Boring! I know. Before you switch off though, consider this; the most expensive house in the world isn’t going to last long enough to impress anyone if it’s built on quicksand. Poor technical SEO is like termites in your site, slowly eroding all your good work as it quietly weakens everything you’ve strived to build. The technical fundamentals have changed little as SEO has evolved, but get them wrong and your quest for strong brand building will count for little. So what are the basics? It’s all about creating a rounded, enjoyable customer experience, and in that, you must consider the Googlebot as a user of your site. Avoid having a messy site with poor navigation, slow speeds, duplicate and poor quality content, bad code and errors. Anything that is bad for the user is bad for Google. So fix it!
Now you have a strong foundation for your site it’s time to build your brand. As mentioned earlier, brand is not one single identifiable component, more the successful amalgamation of Google’s core principles of Trust, Authority and Expertise. Google’s Vince update in 2009 was a Trust “Change.” A consequence of that was that brands ranked higher. Why? Because people trust brands. The top ranking sites have been proven to have the most amounts of direct traffic. Ultimately, brand is a reflection of your business. Get people talking about your brand to increase your popularity. The more people that directly search your brand the higher you will rank for non-brand search related phrases. It’s imperative that you have a strong brand within your buyer personas. Google admits that “Off Site Sentiment,” that is, people talking about you and people searching for your brand, count to them. For example, the current media exposure for StewArt Media due to the auDA situation resulted in traffic doubling to our website with over 10k impressions and increasing the rankings of non-brand related phrases like “marketing speaker.”
Google should not be your first source of traffic. Word of mouth and quality products or services will help attract a loyal following. Google is the all-seeing eye. It will observe activity around your brand and reward popularity with higher rankings. “URLs that are more popular on the Internet tend to be crawled more often to keep them fresh in our index.” – Google January 2017.
Firstly, you don’t need a massive budget to build a brand. Knowing your buyer personas will help you hone in on marketing only to those with a greater chance of conversion. It’s important to understand the facets of modern “content marketing” and understand that when we say, “content marketing” we really just mean, “marketing.” Learn to leverage the right content and medium at a suitable buyer persona, whether it be a YouTube video, Facebook ad, or LinkedIn connection. Work towards obtaining a Featured Answer as this will help you rank for other related phrases. ProBlogger displayed for 90 phrases at No. 1. After achieving a Featured Answer they showed for 250 phrases. Concentrated searches equate to authority branding and back the theory of “social proof.”
Digital search is changing, and although a solid foundation of technical SEO is still imperative, it is important that you place as much effort into digital brand building as you would into technical SEO. Brand related searches are fast becoming the norm and increasing conversions using brand will increase revenue. Strong brands rank better via direct search and it is Google’s obligation to elevate popular searches to the top of the rankings. It’s time to forget about Google and focus on your brand and customers to pave the way for future business growth.
Source - firebrandtalent.com