With no real industry regulation around or even on the horizon, search engine optimization has really taken on many different definitions over the last ten years. Is social media a part of it? Is it not? What should be included in SEO and what shouldn’t? The reality is the Google and other search engines favor a branding like approach when building a website online.
Here is one major reason:
Time: If you are fly by night black hat spammer you are most likely not going to take the time to sit there and brand your business online, why? Because it takes time. The search engines realize that if you spend time in the social communities and connect with other like minded websites to strengthen your industry with good quality content and information you are actively trying to build and grow your brand online. For those who just look for loop holes in the search engines and pounce on them they will eventually lose their rankings. It might not be today or tomorrow but eventually there will be an algorithm update that allows your rankings to drastically slip. Where will your business be when this happens? Do yourself a favor and take the time now rather than scrambling around later.
Even Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt was caught saying – “The Internet is a “cesspool” where false information thrives.”
This comment alone should tell you that Google is constantly trying everything in their power to really push all the junk and clutter away from all the page ones of the search results and replace it with information that is relevant to that search query. Is a brand the only type of website that can supply good useful information? No. There lies the challenge for the three major search engines, what information has been hacked to the top and what has arrived from being a good source of information.
According to CNET News Schmidt also says –
“Brands, he said, are the way to rise above the cesspool. The corollary is that advertising via Google and its brethren is an essential way to build and sustain a brand.”
I think part of this comment is to boost ad revenues for Google but the theory behind the idea is correct. Building a brand online is the approach many businesses should be taking. When the economy goes sour who sustains their revenues enough to stay alive until the tsunami is over? Brands. If your business sits smack in the middle of a very saturated industry or market how else are you going to push through all the noise in the search results? When your search space is littered with pages and pages of search results for certain keywords your business is going to have to stand out in some way in order to find your audience. Brands are not built over night so it is important to start building that brand sooner than later.
Here are some ways to build your brand online:
Connection: First give people something to connect with. It could be a logo or a name even a phrase, but give your audience something they can remember you by in the online space. Your audience needs to be able to spot you in the crowd.
Heavy Social Media: Heavy social media will really help strengthen your online image and brand. By communicating on a daily basis with your audience and reaching out to new members that could become fans you start burning an image of your brand into the minds of your industry. Spend some time everyday getting in front of your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook audience to really build up your business brand.
Monthly Marketing: Every month you need to be putting out some sort of communication efforts. A steady stream of good quality articles along with news worthy PR through a variety of channels will help your brand grow nicely over time.
Brand rankings are the future of search and single random spammy web pages in search results will someday go away. Eventually the search engines will figure out what is lurking in the search results by accident and what truly deserves to be there. With the pace of technology the way that it is now I don’t think it will be long before the branding factor really makes its way into the algorithm for all three major search engines.