Your brand is the most important asset your company owns. Good brands have an easier time of connecting with their audience—whether that’s maintaining current customer relations or encouraging people to become new customers.
Building your brand is important, and many companies allot thousands of dollars each year toward this effort. But there is one strategy your company uses each day that can also help build your brand. That strategy is search engine optimization.
How SEO impacts branding
You already know that a good SEO strategy can help draw in customers. When someone types in a search relevant to your business, your website pulls up in the search results. The more often your website ranks (and ranks high) in relevant search results, the more recognition people have with your brand related to that query—whether it be for products, services, or information.
Use SEO to build your brand
By being listed high in the relevant search results, your target audience will begin to see you as an authority. Use SEO to impact your brand so your company’s name, logo, color palette, messaging, and more will be readily recognizable.
Here are three ways you can use SEO to build your brand:
1. Build reputation through reviews
Whether you’re a small, local restaurant with a single location or are a large, national chain of brick-and-mortar stores across the nation, your brand can benefit from reviews.
For local businesses, you’ll benefit the most from reviews on websites like Yelp and Google. Customers can leave reviews for all types of businesses, from restaurants to dentists and florists. Start by finding all the online profiles for your business—Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, YellowPages, etcetera—and claim them. On all these claimed pages, update your information, including hours, phone number(s), website, and menu. Be sure to keep your page updated as changes in business occur.
Your main focus after updating the information is to check on reviews. You’ll want to check once a week for new reviews and determine if you need to respond. If you’ve received a particularly stellar review, write them a “thank you” reply. Remember that you don’t have to respond to all! If you have a less-than-perfect review, don’t worry: It’s a great opportunity to build your brand. Show that your company looks to resolve issues and is mindful of their customers’ concerns. If someone had an experience where their food was cold, apologize and offer them a discount for their next visit.
The same applies to large, national companies but with different methods. Set up your website so that when a customer leaves or submits a review or comment, they have the option to check a box to receive a response from a customer service representative. You’ll need to establish a team to manage the responses and work to resolve customer issues.
By responding to your customers and addressing their concerns, your brand will be seen as responsive, caring, and trustworthy.
2. Define brand identity to audience
While you can define what your brand is, your brand is ultimately what customers tell each other it is. But you can have an influence on how they feel about your brand. SEO companies can better define your brand by ensuring that messages and visuals are consistent, wherever your current and potential customers may interact with your brand.
The easiest way to keep track of your brand voice and visuals and other elements is to create a brand guideline. A brand guideline is a document that outlines the visual elements of your brand. Some may even include taglines, voice, and more.
To create one, you need to first develop a Table of Context that lists all sections so the reader can easily find specific information Sections may include Logo, Color, Fonts, Graphics, Photography, and Examples. Then, section by section, detail everything that someone may need to know when applying your brand:
- For the color palette, list out main brand colors and complementary colors. You need to include PMS (Pantone), CMYK, and RGB numbers so the correct color will be used, no matter what format.
- The fonts section will detail your brand’s main font and weight. If you use a specialty font that was designed or purchased (and not something that comes pre-installed on all computers), you’ll also need to list an alternate, standard font that can be used.
- For logos, provide the actual logo, including minimum sizes in pixels. Provide examples of how the logo should not look, such as distorted, inverted in color, with a filter applied, and more. Be sure to provide acceptable, alternate versions of the logo, which will be necessary as part of design.
Once your guidelines are finished, give all employees a copy. Everyone from graphic designers to social media marketers and creatives will need to reference this guideline so anything related to the company in “on-brand.”
By ensuring that you are consistent with the visuals and messages you use, your audience gets to know your brand’s identity—and soon begin to recognize it.
3. Build your backlink profile
Successful brands have authority. And while a high rank in a search result tells the searcher that your brand is worthwhile and authoritative, your SEO and consumer perception can be built through one tactic: Link building.
Here are two easy ways you can build links.
- Guest blogging: Websites always need fresh content, so take advantage of this need by offering to write content for the website—and then link to your own website in the body of the copy as a source. Look for a page that addresses guest content. Some may have specific criteria your piece has to follow, such as a minimum number of words. Others require that you pitch an article topic to them prior to writing while others may have an article outline drafted. Once you submit your article (and they love it), look into being a regular contributor. More articles for them and more links for you!
- Answer questions on Quora: Another way to address individual concerns and build links is through Quora, which is a website where people ask and answer questions. Create a Quora account and start following topics that relate to your company’s products or services. Based on these topics, Quora may “ask” you to answer questions—and don’t forget to browse on your own! For example, if you have a marketing company, you’ll want to seek answers related to your services. So, if you design and program websites, you’ll want to search for answers related to those keywords. In your answer, include a hyperlink to a blog post, video, white paper, etcetera as a source. Now you’ve built a link and helped someone out.
Through outreach efforts, guest blogging, and great content, link building helps draw the audience from one website to your own. By having multiple high-ranking, authoritative, and quality websites link to your website, search engines determine that your website is valuable.
Start building your brand today
You likely already have an SEO strategy in place, but now you can be more mindful of how what you do in SEO can impact your brand. Using these ways, you can continue to build your brand—and command more authority in your industry.