Quite simply, SEO is an umbrella term for all the methods you can use to ensure the visibility of your website and its content on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The methods vary from tactics you can implement behind the scenes on your website (e.g., on-page SEO) to off-page approaches you can use to increase visibility (e.g., link-building, social media marketing, content marketing, etc.).
Google says you should start optimizing your website for search engines from day one. Why does an on-page SEO strategy matter so early in the game? Well, search engine optimization is not all about high rankings, traffic, and lead generation.
In the online world, your website is the nerve center of your online presence. It’s your identity card, telling search engines and visitors who you are, why you matter, and how you are better than the rest. When optimized properly, your company website can boost your brand image and increase your online authority.
Once you’ve accomplished on-page SEO, here’s a look at how to build an SEO-friendly brand.
Improve your online reputation management strategy
Customers don’t trust promotional content anymore. Instead, they rely on peer reviews. Stats back me up on that. According to BrightLocal, 88% of online consumers trust customer reviews as much as their friends’ recommendations.
Online reviews are honest, transparent, and unbiased. As such, they are important local ranking factors. Moz confirms that review signals make up to 15.44% of Google’s Local Pack.
Here’s how good online reputation management can boost SEO:
Sign up for quality directories
Sign up for Google My Business and create a free business profile. Next sign up for all major local business directories. Online customers use these sites as objective sources of information about your brand and are even eager to leave feedback.
Encourage user generated content
For example, reward the best photo of customers using your product with free products or services. You could even host a giveaway, where a user-generated photo or video is required to enter the competition.
Collaborate with popular bloggers
Start with a competitor analysis. Google “competitor’s name + reviews” to see where their authoritative referrals come from. Once you find an influencer that reviewed similar products, reach out to them, inquire about their sponsorship rates, offer your products for free, and ask whether they would be interested in reviewing your product or service. Don’t write a generic pitch. Be convincing and share what’s in it for them and how their audience would benefit.
Monitor brand mentions
Use Google Alerts and similar tools to stay on top of your brand and product mentions on the web and social networks. By tracking customer discussions in real-time, you will be able to give instant feedback, help them solve problems, and even respond to negative feedback.
Proactively address negative word-of-mouth
Google emphasizes that 55% of Millennials ignore those businesses that have lots of negative reviews. This is why you need to test your backlinks regularly and identify the ones that may hurt your online reputation.
This is where backlink analysis tools Ahrefs, Linkody, Majestic SEO, and Monitor Backlinks can help. You can also digital marketing reporting tools integrated with SEO tools to gain better insight into your SEO performance and brand impact.
Pay attention to negative backlinks. For example, if you find inconsistencies on your site or outdated information, fix it and inform the website owner about recent changes. On the other hand, if the website owner publishes negative reviews just to ruin your reputation, you can reach out and request content removal or even use Google’s Disavow Links Tool.
Build credibility with content marketing
Many marketers grapple with the idea of what is better: content marketing or SEO?
However, they are two digital marketing strategies that shouldn’t be separated. If your content is not optimized for search engines, it will be invisible in the SERPs. On the other hand, without killer content to provide a wider context for your keywords, your SEO tactics would be meaningless.
Most importantly, when merged together, these two strategies can work wonders for your online brand. Here are three ways to get the most out of both:
Create quality, solution-oriented content
Write content relevant content that educates your ideal customers and helps them solve problems faster. Quality content helps you increase your brand reputation. Understanding the value of your content, people will keep visiting your site as a go-to online resource.
Stay away from keyword stuffing
Don’t stuff your content with a bunch of keywords. Google wants you to make your content easy to follow and user-friendly. In the era of voice search, focus on long-tail keywords, conversational phrases, and questions that will make your content findable and not hurt the user experience.
Optimize your headlines
This is the first thing a searcher sees when browsing through the SERPs. Use power words to make them catchy, intriguing, and inspire a visitor to click. In addition, optimize meta descriptions that inform a user what your page is about. If your meta description is full of fluff text and spammed with keywords, users will simply skip it and choose a competitor over you.
Write High-Quality Guest Posts
Guest blogging is one of the most significant inbound marketing tactics for numerous reasons.
First, backlinks are still Google’s key ranking signal. And, earning quality links from reputable sites in your niche may boost your rankings and traffic significantly.
Second, they increase brand exposure and visibility. Namely, popular magazines, platforms, websites and bloggers in your niche have an extensive online following. So, by contributing to these sites you can get more eyeballs on your content effortlessly.
Most importantly, guest blogging is not just about getting a quality link from a reputable site. When your content is published on reputable sites you also increase your brand authority. You are positioned as a credible online resource.
This is a great way to build a strong personal brand and show the human side of your business. Just look at the popular names in the digital marketing industry like Neil Patel or Larry Kim. They’ve been contributing to all major sites in their niches for years to get people to remember them and make their brand more relatable.
Test and optimize your SEO strategy
Finally, SEO goes far beyond online reputation management, content marketing, and guest blogging. It also incorporates website security, on-site optimization, UX design, and technical SEO.
These are all aspects of your SEO strategy that may help you boost your brand image when used strategically. Therefore, it’s important to understand that SEO is not something you can set and forget. To boost your brand and set yourself apart from competitors, keep up with industry trends, identify major pain points, and take actionable steps to resolve them.
Lauren Wiseman is a marketing specialist, contributor to Bizzmarkblog.com and an entrepreneur. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in the fast-changing and demanding market, strongly believing in a holistic approach to a business.