Big Brand SEO: Brands Need To Become Publishers To Succeed

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As SEO evolves it’s imperative that not only small businesses understand and adopt the changing landscape, but brands do as well. Traditionally brands have relied on their “brand authority” to take over the search results for non-branded keywords, and much to our surprise Google has allowed it to happen.

This trend in big brand SEO was concerning for a couple reasons. First, brands in themselves do not always have the best answers for informational search queries, yet Google would allow them to rank for informational keywords. Second, many brands lack the substance it takes to be a true informational leader in their respective space, yet this was again overlooked in favor of their perceived authority in the marketplace.

Over the last year we have seen many trends among the search results, and have read through others insights that point to the fact that this traditional brand focus by Google is fading and that content is truly becoming the leading force behind driving incremental traffic for non-branded keywords.

10 Things Brands Need To Know About Big Brand SEO

    1. Without content sets outside of the branded copy you have been pumping out for years, you will have a difficult time ranking outside of your branded keyword set.
    2. Your organic competitive set is not who you think it is. Most brands will say that the other large brands are who they compete with for real estate on the first page of Google. What we find when we do competitive analysis across non-brand keyword sets, is the sites that are earning traffic for your non-branded keywords are the blogs and publishers that are creating informational content, and not the other large brands.
    3. Design only gets you so far, but adding high-value content will get you farther. Please step out of the mindset of “if you build it they will come”.

Having a fantastic web site is great but it isn’t enough for Google to confirm that your content should rank well. – Google

  1. When creating content it is important to focus on the correct personas and their journeys to drive quality traffic that will convert and increase engagement.
  2. As Google evolves brands that don’t have sets of high-value content (that fall outside of the marketing or brand buckets) will find it that much more difficult to rank for non-brand keywords.
  3. Brands need to provide value with their content sets just like everyone else. Creating sets of low quality pages targeting specific keywords is not a content strategy, it’s spam.
  4. As user behaviors shift the majority of online brands don’t have the customer loyalty they once did due to the expanding and evolving nature of the web. If you can’t satisfy your customers informational request they will go to a website who can.
  5. You will rank for what you have earned rankings for based on your content sets. If you only create product copy, Google will only truly value you for branded product names.
  6. If a brand thinks it can ignore the basics of SEO, they are greatly mistaken and will have a sub-optimized site that will not support their content sets.
  7. Informational content can drive conversions just as much as brand content. If you want to increase engagement metrics, conversions, and traffic, then increase informational content sets.

Tips For Brands Who Want To Do SEO

  1. Make sure you are following the basics of SEO (the TLCs). We come across many brand sites that are a complete mess, causing ranking metrics to get fragmented and user satisfaction to drop.
  2. Your customers are in a informational mindset when they are searching online, so brands need to step outside of the “conversion only” mindset and balance it with the informational mindset to capture additional engagement and loyalty metrics.
  3. You are not your primary audience, so make sure you understand what your customer type will find valuable before designing your site or creating content. This will help you speak to your primary customer type in a voice they understand and create value from what they find valuable.
  4. Create a great experience but don’t neglect supporting it with high-value content sets that satisfy all 3 content buckets.
  5. Make sure all your teams are trained in the basics of SEO. This will help minimize quality concerns and make SEO integration seamless and more efficient.
  6. Include your SEO team in all aspects of your planning, design, tech, and content creation.
  7. Build in time during each release for QA. Even if there was not a SEO release, it is still best to do some basic regression testing.

So brands, if you want to utilize the power of search engines and SEO to drive incremental traffic, increase reach, build loyalty, and engagement with your primary and secondary customer types, it’s important to evolve with the rest of the online space.

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