Do you own a small business and find it hard to compete online with bigger businesses? Google clearly prefers established brands when it comes to search rankings. But that doesn’t mean that small businesses or startups can’t get in on the action.
Build your brand and get Google’s attention (as well as potential customers’ attention) with these five SEO strategies:
1. Show off your brand to everyone, everywhere. Put your logo and brand name in images you post to Pinterest. Use your brand name in Twitter tweets. Make sure your company name is mentioned in any videos you post. If you offer interesting content along with your brand name, people will want to learn more and will search for your brand name.
2. Show that you’re a real (and reputable) company. Encourage user interaction on your forum and in your blog comments, because a site that can relate to real people and keep them interested also looks good to the search engines. Also, posting your contact information such as your phone number and physical address on your website looks much more professional (and much less spammy) than requiring people to fill out a contact form. To look even more professional and less like a one-man show, verify your address in Google Places and list your staff members in your About Us page.
3. Brand your anchor text, but not too much! Google’s Penguin update frowned upon the overuse of keywords in anchor text (the words you click on in a hyperlink). But it looks just as bad not to have any keywords or your brand name as anchor text. So use your brand name and best keywords as anchor text, but vary it up a bit – switching between your company name and web address, for example.
4. Do some name-dropping using your brand name. Use co-citations to your advantage. A co-citation is when an external source mentions your brand name or company without linking to your site. You can do this yourself by mentioning your brand name in blog comments and forum posts without adding a link – just be sure not to be heavy-handed or obnoxious about it.
5. Look for negative reviews on external sites and do some relationship management. As a result of certain bad actors who were using bad reviews to get more clicks and propel their websites to the top of the search engine rankings, Google now penalizes sites that get a lot of negative reviews on third party sites. So be sure to keep your customers happy, resolve complaints and avoid those negative reviews.
In many ways, building your brand online is a lot like building your brand in a brick and mortar store. True, you can’t compete on quite the same playing field as the big established companies. But with a little persistence and marketing savvy, you can drum up enough interest in your brand to generate more click-throughs, higher search engine rankings and a bigger customer base.