If you look at how SEO used to be, then it seemed to be the antonym of brand building. Brand building was about building quality pages and copy, but SEO was about making as many links as possible regardless of the copy’s quality. The two are now converging, and many people are considering them the same area of focus. If you want to improve your traffic, then you have to improve your brand. Google has made significant changes to its search engine algorithm, but these changes are great for serious business owners who have been yearning for quality to be prioritized.
In the past, most SEO agencies and business owners would create two types of copy. They would create compelling and effective Web pages that would increase conversion rates, but they would improve SEO and traffic with quick content that had little thought or coherence. The former was to build the brand and improve sales, but the latter was specifically for SEO to improve organic traffic.
Google has been prioritizing quality since the first Panda update, and the recent Hummingbird update makes quality an even bigger issue. You can’t get a good rank with cheap content. This is good because now all of your content will build both your brand and traffic.
Gone are the days of competing with people who could spin thousands of articles with a program. Every piece of content, even if it’s just for a link, should be good enough to sit on your main page. If you’d be embarrassed to show it, then Google will probably penalize the article.
Another former SEO practice was getting links from any website. It used to be that any link was a good link. That stopped years ago, but it’s even more of an issue due to the recent update. You now have to ensure that all of your links are relevant and coming from good websites. You can’t just stick an article on a spammy article directory and hope for more traffic. In fact, this will reduce your traffic because you’ll be penalized.
The best way to build your brand and links is to use smart guest posting. Instead of posting on a general article directory or Web 2.0 property, you should find relevant blogs and websites with a good following. For example, if you sell tires, then find blogs about car enthusiasts. Posting a long, detailed article on one of these websites can have some major benefits.
Not only will you build your brand amongst your core demographic, but you’ll also gain significant traffic from those who click your link, and Google will take notice of your good linking efforts. This one link will be worth more to your brand that dozens of spammy links.
For the longest time, business owners only used social media for building their brand. It’s great for this purpose because it allows you to talk to your demographic, form an audience that loves your products and content and reach customers in a deep and intimate way. The problem was that you might only get a few links from your social media efforts, which wasn’t always worth the time.
Google has started accepting social signals, which are signals that come from popular social networks. For example, if someone talks about your brand on Twitter, then this will show Google that people are interested in your brand. This interest will translate into a better ranking. This is especially true if the brand has a hashtag near it.
If you have an active community on any major social network, then you can easily leverage it to improve your organic traffic and simultaneously build your brand. If you’ve been ignoring social media, then now’s the time to start posting.
Brand Versus EMDs
Exact match domains, or EMDs, are still incredibly popular, but they are losing their power for various reasons. Google still gives extra points to EMDs, which can help you get more traffic if you’re still just targeting keywords. For example, a domain like “lefthandedscissors.net” will make your website more relevant if someone looks for left-handed scissors through Google.
At the same time, EMDs have lost some of their power because Google reduced the bonus that relevant domain names received. Not only that, but EMDs typically aren’t as good for branding. Imagine if McDonald’s just called itself “Fast-Food Restaurant.” Another example is if Target just called itself “Massive Retail Store.” It’s unlikely that either of these brands would last for long, even though people would know exactly what to expect from the store.
Another added bonus of using a brand name is that it will be much easier to find your website. If you use EMDs, then you have to rely on always being the most relevant website. If you’re not, then others will easily take your traffic. If someone searches your brand name through Google, then they will instantly find your website. You don’t have to worry about anyone stealing your traffic in this regard, unless someone is illegally using your brand name in their domain address.
SEO is no longer about hoping that people will stumble upon your website in the dark recesses of search engines. It’s about being recognizable so that people will follow you and your every word. That’s become much easier with the Google author tag, social media and memorable content.
You shouldn’t be trying to aim for relevancy anymore. Serious businesses are looking to be recognizable. You want your copy to be instantly recognizable so that people follow you and quickly find you through search engines. This is only done by putting your brand first.
At the same time, this has become much easier because Google is now expecting this. Don’t just shoot for links. Aim for great links with compelling content that you would be proud to showcase.
SEO is changing, and the changes are great for serious business owners. Many of the algorithm updates are pushing spammy link building and poor SEO tactics out the window. Content creators and business owners now have to concentrate on making powerful content and relevant links, but this is great because it allows you to focus on your brand and SEO simultaneously. If you follow Google’s new rules, then you’ll improve both your traffic and number of loyal customers.