In the virtual world, establishing a brand name has become one of the best ways to Google-proof your business. Like it or not, your business is now more dependent on Google organic search results than ever – Many Americans research products online and B2B decision makers begin their research on search engines when looking for new products or services for their company.
You are at the mercy of the search giants policies, updates and algorithm changes. Going by the recent trends, both can be rather unpredictable.
While it is a fact that bigger, more established brands have it easy on Google, smaller businesses too can establish their brand names in niche areas through SEO services that yield steady, consistent results. The following are some of the most recommended tried and true practices:
When it comes to branding, look and feel matters
In order to create your brand recall value, you need to build a brand that your visitors and potential customers can recognize and remember. Take inspiration from the well-known brands that exist in the market and try to model your branding initiatives on similar lines. Design a memorable logo, follow a consistent color scheme for your brand’s online and offline activities and add catchy slogans and tag lines wherever appropriate.
Branding transcends into keywords too – Key in the right words
Branding your website doesn’t stop at just redesigning your online space and crafting a memorable logo. Include your brand name and your unique selling proposition, even within your keywords as you optimize your website. In addition to targeted SEO keywords about your products or services, ensure that you include selected keywords that relate exclusively to your brand.
Depending on how much you want to push your brand, you can either place the brand name at the beginning of the title tag (for SEO branding) or at the end (for traffic):
SEO Keyword | Brand Name – this puts more SEO emphasis on the keyword
Brand Name | SEO Keyword – this puts more SEO emphasis on your brand
If you put the brand at the end of the title tag remember that Google displays only about 60 characters in the search result pages; longer titles will be truncated. Keep your title tag relevant to your website’s content and the products and services that you offer.
Here are some rules from a good article on title tag optimization:
-If you have a well-established brand (i.e. Amazon), you may want to have the brand at the beginning of the title.
-If you are trying to build a brand and your efforts are sustained by SEO, the brand name will be the first word.
-If your brand has some recognition that you can still place and your campaign goal is to drive unbranded traffic, the brand name can be placed at the end of the tag.
- If your company name is not well known or if you don’t care about branding, don’t put your brand name in the title at all
A Cohesive Brand Strategy Pays Off
Build your branding efforts to spread out beyond just your website. Incorporate your logo and color scheme on all other aspects of your company, including newsletters, e-mail campaigns, press releases, etc.
The future of SEO lies in leveraging not just keywords but your brand name as well. Google’s latest updates and anti-spam policies have made the search engine’s preference for branded websites, as opposed to smaller, unbranded or nearly anonymous ones, quite clear.
Your Link Profile Must Include Branded Anchor Texts
There is no denying that SEO keywords-based anchor texts are still relevant; however, in terms of rankings, branded keywords have also become equally important. Your link profile, therefore, must include branded links leading to your website. Not only will this give you brand recognition on Google but it will also give you SEO leverage by making your link profile seem natural.
At least 20% of your anchor text backlinks should contain your brand name.
Use Social Media
No online branding exercise today is complete without social media marketing. The important thing to remember here is not to go overboard. The idea of social media is networking and information sharing, so focus on that and adopt a subtle approach when it comes to promotional posts. For instance, if you want to share a blog that plugs your products, promote it as a buying guide for people seeking those products.
Another advantage of social media is that it can bring you traffic irrespective of your Google ranking. Creating a buzz in social networks will also make your brand more recognizable.
Branding is no longer an exclusive game for the big boys club. In today’s competitive markets (both online and offline), even small businesses need to get their branding right, if they want to survive and grow. If you follow the simple practices outlined here, you will succeed.
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Traian Neacsu is the Director of Search Marketing and co-founder of Pitstop Media Inc, a Canadian company that provides top rated SEO services to businesses across North America. He has more than 10 years experience in helping small and medium businesses generate and convert organic traffic from search engines. Most of his time is dedicated to growing the company and spending time with the family. Connect with Traian on Google+.