Kayla Mackie, Marketing Professional, works for ReputationManagement.com where she leverages her passions for SEO and relationship building with marketing executives. She also enjoys staying up to date with the latest internet trends and practicing yoga in her free time.
While most marketers find the importance of SEO to be a substantial benefit to their marketing strategy, the reality is that many are not actually leveraging it. A lot of the reasoning behind this stems from uncertainty or lack of knowledge when it comes to using SEO for brand amplification.
SEO should move to the forefront of your marketing strategy in order to combat this knowledge gap. This starts with actions like allocating the proper resources, having decision-making conversations, and putting in the extra time to do your research.
If you’re wondering how SEO can boost your business outcomes, read on to learn more about the influence SEO has on your brand’s reputation:
Search engines are the first place someone interacts with your brand
Upon discovering a new brand, consumers turn to search engines like Google to learn more about your company and the products or services they’re interested in. Meeting those consumers at each stage of the conversion funnel is valuable and can be a missed opportunity if you’re not doing so.
The internet is everyone’s modern-day dictionary, magazine, scholarly journal, etc., so you’ll want to make sure your business stands out amongst competitors. Dipti Palmer, CEO of 99Stairs, agreed when we asked her why SEO is important in shaping consumer perception of brands, “Consumers, as well as B2B decision-makers, now turn intuitively to Google for information not only about a product but also a brand or an executive. It follows that they believe what they see in the organic results,” she said.
When you’re in control of your brand’s narrative, you’re more likely to gain sustainable customers, as you’re able to appear in not only product searches but brand and executive searches as well. Perhaps your brand has a strong charitable initiative; leveraging SEO as part of your brand strategy will target like-minded people who may be searching for new give-back initiatives or seeking more information about a certain cause that’s close to them.
Company reviews appear on Google’s first page
Company reviews are one of the consumer’s first impressions of your brand.
Review-based sites typically hold a lot of weight when it comes to ranking on the first page of Google. In fact, company reviews are known to send signals to search engines, which impacts trust and authority in your company. Positive and negative reviews are bound to appear in your brand’s top search results, even if you don’t appreciate them. Consumers, however, do appreciate both the positive and negative reviews others share.
The key tip here is how you approach your brand’s negative reviews. A negative review left by an upset customer can turn into a positive relationship if the right steps are taken to extinguish the flames. When a customer feels taken care of, they’re likely to be a returning customer in the future, and when you’re engaging with them publicly, potential new customers will notice the kind gestures your company took to alleviate the issue.
Google is paying closer attention to content than ever before
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing (and getting smarter with each iteration). If you’re familiar with Google’s updates, you’ll recognize acronyms like EAT and YMYL, which stand for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness” and “Your Money Your Life.” These are Google’s content quality standards. Aligning EAT and YMYL with content have been the focus for most of the recent updates.
However, Google doesn’t favor all authoritative content that mentions your brand. So knowing your industry’s standard practices is important in order to publish content that’s going to rank amongst competitors. Knowing how to properly build organic links to your brand’s web assets is also a crucial part of getting content to rank well.
Fresh and relevant content is going to perform well, so think of regularly updated platforms, like social media and blogs, as a place to leverage this content. If your brand doesn’t have one, starting a blog can also help your company rank for relevant keywords. Publishing trustworthy content focused on your brand’s mission or initiatives will let consumers know a deeper side of your brand while also impacting your brand’s search real estate.
SEO helps protect against negative news cycles
SEO has the power to amplify your brand’s story and put it in front of your targeted audience and potential new customers. If your brand is hit with a negative news cycle, some unfavorable and risk-worthy headlines are sure to appear in your company’s top search results and your brand story could take a turn for the worse. Without an SEO strategy behind your brand name and related keywords, those unfavorable mentions could linger for a long period of time, eventually putting your revenue at stake.
The problem? Most companies fall short by not budgeting for brand-related keywords and then suffer from a decline in sales, making it difficult to get their head back above water. By proactively approaching your brand’s online reputation, burying negative search results and regaining lost revenue is possible. For starters, optimizing your own website content according to Google’s SEO guidelines, creating new web properties like business profiles, and ramping up your brand’s social media content are just a few easy-to-control steps to take to begin fortifying your brand’s narrative in search engines.
CEO of Kalicube, Jason Barnard favors branded search as a tool to protect against risk and mentioned, “Exact match brand searches is one thing that can push SEO to the top of the priorities for executives who are struggling with how to deal with brand protection in a digital world. 99% of brands, C-level employees, and digital marketers are missing the boat. And my experience has been that when people ‘get’ the concept it is a true ‘duh’ moment.”
And we couldn’t agree more.
Using SEO to your brand’s advantage can shape consumer’s perception of your brand and will deliver more benefits to your business than you could gain through traditional brand reputation tactics.