Branding has quickly become of the most important SEO strategies today.
We can just simply call this “Branding SEO”. Meh, its a working title.
Backlinks are still very much an important factor in establishing authority in the eyes of Google and their search results.
Any veteran SEOs know that backlink volume was the play years ago. This led to a lot of spammy black-hat practices. Consequently, Google responded with algorithm updates and technology to reward quality content instead.
Today, we see Google actually owning a lot more of the top results with their own syndicated content.
Yeah it’s a bit scary. For businesses to compete, they need to focus more on branding and customer retention/loyalty.
Focus content marketing on expertise and brand building
Traditional link building is a great strategy for small or new websites and brands who are still trying to establish themselves among their peers.
Building these very small pathways from other sites to your site can be effective early on even though they are time-consuming, costly, and it is generally not enjoyable getting turned down.
A story that reflects this is with Heineken’s founder. Rumor has it, he went door to door to different bars and asked if he can order a Heineken. When they turned him down, he would yell and march out of the bar yelling “I won’t come back here until you guys sell Heineken!”
Whether this story is true or not, the Heineken CEO did some guerilla marketing to get others to think about his beer. Building small backlinks is the same type of strategy.
As you begin to scale and grow based on your service or product, you should be able to build links organically, transforming traditional technical or paid link-building into more of a public relations ordeal.
Heineken no longer paces the halls of the internet looking for backlink opportunities. Heineken, as a brand, is heavily talked about and earns links naturally via the brand they have been able to create.
Google is always changing their algorithms and trying to make offline signals more important to ranking websites. This means that established companies are working hard to build their brand loyalty and customer experience.
They do this by fine-tuning their content marketing strategies with awareness as a goal.
I have a guide that introduces 7 key content marketing goals that may help as well.
Sites that are trusted create great topics that generate high traffic.
How exactly can you build trust with link-building?
The link between branding and SEO
Websites, especially established sites are quite selective on whose content they promote nowadays. In the past, SEO professionals would mass-scan the internet for places to leave a comment and a backlink back to their site.
These would often look very robotic and mass-produced. Problem is, that method worked. Google has done wonders for content marketing because they have improved their technical ability to filter such strategies out.
SEOs would benefit greatly from approaching link building as a branding activity. The best way to build a portfolio of powerful links is to increase the awareness of your company!
With brand awareness, authoritative sites will organically link to your content.
I can guess your next question: How can I build a brand if nobody is coming to my website!?
Leverage existing audiences for branding SEO
→ Quick answer: leverage the existing audiences of social media, competitors, or already established publications.
Social media platforms have done an amazing job at creating a community in which users can consume curated content at all times. Leverage these communities to find and engage with your ideal audience.
In a similar vein, your competitors, specifically the very successful ones have already crafted the ideal formula for reaching your ideal audience (their audience too).
Study their social media, email campaigns, content style, etc. to figure out what types of strategies you can absorb and improve upon.
Some industries are so vanilla and everyone simply repeats each other’s content marketing styles. This is the perfect opportunity to pivot and create something new.
Established industry publications have massive audiences and this is a great place (if you can afford it or are good) to capture some views back to your site.
It sounds counter-intuitive to create content for someone else but it is an amazing way to reach their large audience if you can create content that is unique and fills a gap in their existing content wheel.
If done properly, you should be able to pick off some of the stragglers and have them come over to your site.
If your branding SEO strategies are sound and you are constantly testing and optimizing, your company should be able to organically establish credibility within your industry by utilizing existing audiences.
This approach is not only effective, but it is ethical and you run little risk of being penalized by Google for breaking their rules.
Don’t panic, keep it organic.