When it comes to using the Internet as your brand’s platform, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) represents the totality of the techniques you need to use to make sure your brand stays on top of every Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
This means that with the help of proper SEO utilisation, your brand’s webpage will be ranked as a top result when people search for it on engines like Google.
Yet many brands have abused the powers of SEO throughout the years – link building, for example, has been turned into a scheme by less popular brand owners forcibly trying to up their ranks, and I’ve seen it firsthand.
A friend once tagged me on his first vlog about the 5 most essential Android apps for your brand-new phone. But we never got the chance to read substantial feedback due to the comments section being overtaken by self-promotional content.
People would comment, “Great post… check out my awesome new game” or “Speed up your phone with…” and insert hyperlinks for their products.
Unethical SEO activities such as these have prompted search engines to adapt accordingly.
For instance, Google has developed a new algorithm that caters to both express links (hyperlinks) and implied links (citations of resources that do not lead you directly to the target resource page) – and this is where brand mentioning comes in.
What’s a Brand?
The term “brand” is not limited to just the commercial, buy-and-sell concept of products anymore.
A brand can also pertain to a representation of an item, a person/group of persons, an idea, or a topic.
The success of a brand is thus determined by its quality, usefulness, popularity or the efficiency of how it is presented or advertised – and these elements are extensively incorporated into online digital marketing.
Getting That Seal of Quality
You get brand mentions every time your product is being talked about online in blogs, videos, web articles, social media and reviews.
Unlike the spammers who mindlessly spread their product placements everywhere, feedback from real users who mention your product or service are seen by other users as authentic and reliable.
Thus, a good SEO ranking nowadays means your brand is getting social proof – trust, approval and verification evident in all the online buzz.
Naturally the next question will be: how can you push your rankings to the top using brand mentions?
There are 5 main ways to do just that.
1. Prioritize Content
Achieving high sales for your product or better blog branding are only possible if your online content is relevant and well-placed.
A good balance of text and images, credible information, and differentiation from all other online resources (including your own pre-existing online articles) are all elements of appropriate content.
In his blog post “5 On-Page SEO Techniques That’ll Boost Your Rankings (Checklist Included)”, Alex Chris further dissects this subject and he also emphasises that “long articles are proven to rank better than short articles”.
CNN has attracted readers and followers not by using link schemes but through posting relevant content, so when you view CNN articles you won’t see unnaturally placed links.
Well-established, high authority sites like these have gained natural popularity, and Google only shows this kind of result in their SERPs.
Google also counts your brand mentions towards your SEO, among other factors.
In the blog “Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List” by Brian Dean, we can see a comprehensive take on how to position your content to satisfy Google’s language as a search engine. It won’t happen overnight, but this is what better blog branding and product citations should slowly but surely achieve.
A word of caution: avoid overloading your webpages with contents that are too large.
Majority of today’s Google searches are done using mobile devices. A customer can easily get discouraged if the page takes too long to load, or if your website does not have a mobile-friendly version for easy-reading on smaller screens.
2. Guest Blogging
When it comes to posting on someone else’s blog, you have to choose the website wisely: write for a blog that widens the scope of your audience and exhibits your own voice in a positive light. It is also better to establish relationships with the most popular, well-connected, high quality content blogs in your field.
A lot of well-known blogs encourage submissions from guest bloggers as long as they meet specific requirements.
Getting your content published on a platform such as The Huffington Post, a high authority site, will help your brand’s identity. Guest blogging increases both ranking and organic traffic on your website.
Your host blog’s good reputation will help you get views, and both express and implied links will route the audience towards your content.
You could also take additional steps like promoting your article via Facebook or e-mail.
3. Connect With Your Audience
Know your audience and present your content in a manner which will appeal to them specifically.
For instance, if your target group is the elderly then you’d best avoid modern slang – you’ll definitely want to know your exact demographics.
This demo from Clicky gives us a peek into what kind of data we can expect from their statistics report:
Other data we could get from sites like these include traffic sources, sales activity and visitor geographical position.
Connecting with your audience also extends to customer service. A lot of businesses underestimate the impact of a good customer service experience.
Remember that you want social proof – a satisfied user can help with better branding by referencing your brand among their Facebook contacts, on review sites or even through word of mouth.
It is crucial that you express sincere gratitude when a customer gives positive feedback while at the same time addressing any negative response in a constructive manner.
4. Track Your Mentions
It’s important to find out where most of your brand mentions are coming from so that you’d know which sites to invest your time and resources on.
Talkwalker Alerts (very similar to Google Alerts), Mention (slightly more powerful than the former) and Social Mention (for tracking social media mentions) are some of the tools that can monitor your brand’s activity and performance as well as send you alerts whenever you get brand mentions.
For example, searching for the keyword “Unicef” on Social Mention gives us a page that shows these metrics and links to recent brand mentions:
A list of the top keywords used are generated, too. Neil Patel writes in his blog post entitled “The Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Your Google Rankings Without Getting Penalized” how to use these keywords effectively through on-page SEO.
Looking closer at the Sources box on the bottom left of the page, we see Reddit as the top source of brand mentions:
When we click on it, we are routed to this page listing the links to the Reddit articles containing the mentions:
Each of these links will give UNICEF insights on the public’s view of their brand plus the opportunity to respond to their audience in the same way as a commercial product owner or informative blogger could.
For instance, if your top source is Reddit, you may want to consider creating your own official Reddit article for an even better blog branding, taking advantage of the organic traffic on that site.
5. Links Still Matter
Spammer link building schemes may have ruined SEO but that doesn’t mean SERPs won’t count hyperlinks anymore, especially with today’s more discerning algorithms.
Find the most relevant brand mentions and turn them into links. Websites that are worth your consideration are those with a high Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA).
Moz’s Open Site Explorer is a tool that can show you these figures:
Considering the fact that a 40-60 score range is already worth your attention, the example above clearly has excellent results (they are, after all, the scores of Business Insider).
If you’re lucky enough to have brand mentions on high authority sites, send a simple letter of request to the site developer or article author to turn the implied link into a backlink. Most will be happy to oblige without any fuss.
Search engine algorithms and online trends are constantly evolving. Thus, competition in online marketing becomes tougher and SEO techniques must move in step with today’s smarter technologies and highly-discerning customers.
Consistently strive to find the right balance between on-page and off-page SEO while considering the relevance of brand mentions – only then can you rank higher than the rest.
To learn more about Search Engine Optimisation, check out some more articles on marketing.com.au: