How to Improve SEO for Brands
Impactful SEO efforts are integral to every successful digital marketing strategy. With search engine algorithms constantly being updated, it can be hard for brands to ensure their SEO strategies will be impactful. So, how can brands start to focus on SEO? And, how can brands with solid SEO improve their efforts? We asked 15 experts share their best tips for brands who want to improve SEO. Learn how to improve your local search rankings, how to adjust your SEO efforts for the Google search algorithm update, how to utilize influencers to boost your SEO, and more.
1. Make SEO the core of your marketing plan
Dan Thornton, The Way of the Web The best way for brands to improve their SEO is to make it core to their overall customer experience and marketing plan. That means improving all important content on a site to ensure it's as good and useful as possible, improving page speed and usability, and maintaining basic website hygiene by avoiding large numbers of old or broken links and pages. Integrating SEO as part of any PR and outreach will pay dividends, but it's also important to monitor the links coming into a brand site (using tools such as Moz, SEMRush, or aHrefs) to not only ensure that you're getting good quality responses, but also to make sure you're not either giving the impression of spamming by having too many links suddenly appear, or potentially subject to negative SEO from your competitors which can lead to a penalty. This means proactively monitoring and updating your Link Disavowal file in Google Search Console.
2. Invest time in your content marketing
Steve Pritchard, giffgaff, @DigitalSteveUK One of the best ways to get your site to rank high in the search engines is through producing consistent, fresh and unique content for your website. Having a blog that posts interesting articles on a regular basis is a great method of getting people to visit your website, not just to shop, but to read your content – this creates its own audience. Content marketing is the most organic process for link earning, which is an essential part of a successful SEO strategy.
3. Host a local scholarship
Bryan Clayton, GreenPal My favorite tactic for building up domain authority is to host a local scholarship. What we do is post the $500 or $1,000 dollar scholarship in the state that we are targeting and then reach out to local high schools and local universities to let them know about that scholarship and for them to link to the application page. They are usually willing to do this as it helps their students so it's a win-win proposition.
This is a great way to build up local links and high authority local links boosting your domain's authority and establishing locally at the same time, for a relatively low cost.
4. Artificial intelligence is changing the way the Google search algorithm works
Cornelia Ardelean, SF AppWorks, @SFAppWorks Switching over to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) gives brands more visibility via Google in a carousel with a small icon (a lightning bolt) indicating their AMP status. I anticipate we’ll see more favoritism for AMPs in search results.
Artificial Intelligence will change the way the Google Search algorithm works. Long tail keywords and conversational queries are on the rise. UX is another important trend. Google favors sites that are properly optimized for mobile devices, ones that load quickly, and ones where it’s clear that users are enjoying their experience (with prolonged time spent on page, etc.). Progressive Web Apps are also favored, and it’s most likely that SEO experts will tail their strategies accordingly.
5. Write about things that interest people who might purchase your product or service
Dave Hermansen, Store Coach, @StoreCoach The first thing that small business owners need to understand is that writing articles about your products, services or your business is the surest way to put people to sleep. People want to read about things that interest them, so it is important to widen the scope of your content and write about things that interest people who might someday be looking to purchase the type of products you sell or services you provide.
Don't create any content without first knowing that it has a good chance to get a healthy amount of backlinks because links from other websites to your site are the best way of getting your pages to show up higher in the search rankings. Look for articles that other sites have written that have gotten a significant number of backlinks and that relate to your general niche. Next, create a complementary, opposing or similar type of piece that you know would also be the type of thing that would be link-worthy to those sites that linked to the original article. Then, it's simply a matter of contacting all of those sites, letting them know how much you like their website and that you have an article you think their readers would enjoy.
Good for content; proven for backlinks. The perfect marriage of content and SEO.
6. Utilize LSI keywords
Victoria Pavlova, Starlight MG One of the best strategies that can help businesses climb to the top of search results is the use of LSI keywords. This is one of the most overlooked strategies which is mainly used by top notch SEO firms. You will be surprised how easily you can implement it on your own. So what is LSI keyword? LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. Basically this is an algorithm that Google uses to look for relationships between various terms and concepts.
For example, when you search for a particular term in Google, it shows you words that are related to what you’re looking for. Google is doing this to present you with the most relevant content of quality, because pages stuffed with “exact” terms are normally spam pages. It doesn't mean you should avoid exact keywords in your content but rather diversify it. It's recommended to use at least 3 LSI keyword phrases within a piece of content. Each of them should be used only once for better results. So how do you find LSI keywords? This is pretty simply. Simply search for your term in Google and see what Google highlights in the description of the results.
7. Integrate influencers into your overall SEO strategy
D. S. Dexter Tarbox, SocianSelect, @SocianSocial With the market for Social Media Influencers and other brand ambassador programs expected to double by 2019, it’s highly likely that these services will continue to be an important element of brands' strategies to gain visibility on major search engines. While traditional online ads as well as Influencer campaigns can gain wide traction and allow customers to link directly to the company's online presence, there is a dramatic difference in the rate of both measurable engagement and organic visibility on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). No doubt all marketers should continue to seriously consider integrating Influencers into their overall SEO strategies.
8. Create a Wikipedia page
John Caiozzo, SEO Inc. One of the best ways for a brand to improve their SEO, is to create a Wikipedia page or enhance an existing Wikipedia page to leverage Google’s Knowledge Graph feature. In addition to Organization structured data, Google pulls information from Wikipedia to generate a knowledge graph. Some Brands are fortunate to already have a Wikipedia page, but may be missing the company info box – by completing the info box, you make it more likely that Google will create a knowledge graph. If your Brand doesn’t have a Knowledge Graph, consider creating a Wikipedia page or hiring an experienced editor to create one.
9. Site speed matters
Sam Warren, RankPay, @RankPay If your web pages don't load quickly enough, visitors will bounce and your search rankings will drop. One way to quickly improve site speed is to download and install an image optimizer plugin (these are available for all major content management systems).
Images are often the largest resources a web page needs to load, and they frequently are uploaded in an uncompressed format. There's no good reason for this as image optimization plugins will utilize lossless compression. Meaning, you won't experience any impact on image quality.
10. Share short videos about your product or service
Najeeullah Babar, Interloper Inc., @BloggerKhan Show the product from multiple angles so customers can get a better idea of how the product looks all around. Also show the product in use. If it is apparel, make sure you show short videos of models wearing them. If it is a commercial / industrial product, show people using it in real life situations. For example, if you are selling a wrench, show a person using that wrench and why it is so specific that a run of the mill wrench won't cut it. Serves as social proof as well as a product advertisement. Then upload the videos to YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and anywhere else that allows you to upload videos.
Bonus Tip: Write an informative blog post and embed your YouTube video in the post. Include links to your blog post and product in the description of the YouTube video.
11. Utilize Google My Business
Tanner St. James, The Scott Resort & Spa, @TheScottResort Google My Business is a really important tool that more local businesses should take advantage of. One of the main benefits is that It's free to use, and it gives local businesses a way to manage their online presence by verifying and updating important information. It's critical for helping customers find you easily. When optimized correctly, the page shows up above normal organic search results. Make sure your listing is filled out completely and accurately. In addition, confirm that all of your citations across the web are displaying identical information. Tools like MOZ Local and Yext can assist with this process.
12. Optimize for local search
Ben Landers, Blue Corona, @BlueCorona For business owners, the main things to watch this year is their technical SEO and optimizing their website for local and voice search. Google has ramped up efforts to favor websites that are not only responsive, but are secure (HTTPS), extremely fast and ready for mobile indexing. Websites should be optimized for voice search, which means long-tail, conversational key phrases. “Near me” searches (restaurants near me, plumber near me” are increasing in popularity, so your local SEO should be tight. The biggest ways to improve your local SEO is to add local business schema and to be sure your NAP is consistent.
13. Expand and update your best content
Jason Lavis, Out of the Box Innovations, @JasonLavis08 Rather than thinking of new ideas for content, look at all of your website pages that are on page 2-5 of the search results. Isolate the ones with decent search volumes and/or buyer intent keywords. Then, check the first page competition and expand your pages to cover the topic better. Finally, focus your sharing, promoting and outreach efforts on these pages, make them into cornerstone content and main traffic drivers.
14. Conduct a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)
Kristopher Johnson, The Gantry Restaurant & Bar One of my favorite marketing strategies is conducting a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). This is a fantastic way to put a brand directly in front of its target audience. It provides people from all over the world the chance to ask direct questions to an expert. This can create the perfect environment for high user engagement that is contextually relevant. The best part about it? It's fun! And it only takes about an hour of your time.
15. Consider a content audit
Hilary Young, Hilary Young Creative Use available technology. If you have a website powered by WordPress, you should be using an SEO plugin. I happen to like Yoast, which grades your SEO using red, yellow, or green and then explains to you the specifics of what you can do to improve your rating.
Keep up with your social media. While changes to Google's algorithm claim not to take social media activity into account, it has also been widely reported by SEO experts that Google crawls social websites to collect data, just as they would with any other site.
Consider a content audit. Content is now a major factor in SEO and I've encountered many, many businesses that realize it's time to give their website a content overhaul. Sometimes it's as simple as rearranging a few things to better the user experience, and sometimes it entails a complete rewrite of the entire site. But being thoughtful about how your content affects the overall user experience is a major component of SEO and should not be overlooked.