It's easy for a company to set up a website on the World Wide Web. However, the ever-changing Internet demands that simply having a website is not enough to claim a presence. If a business wants to be successful on the Internet, they have to create a strong brand and know how to reach the top of the search engines. Search engines are no longer concentrating on keywords, either; the focus is now on content, quality and user experience.
Search engines are looking for websites that engage their readers. Articles and discussions are welcome and encouraged. However, not just any articles or discussions will do. The content on the website has to be of good quality and relate to the company or the company’s industry. Fresh, informative information will keep the customers returning to the website.
Keywords are still important, especially since those are what people enter into the search engines, but keyword stuffing will actually reduce a website’s ranking. Discussions that engage the reader are also noted, so it is important that the website has a comments section or discussion forum where customers can ask questions or talk to customer service representatives.
Word of Mouth
This does not mean simply people referring their friends to a company. Word of mouth on the Internet is also how often a company’s name or brand is mentioned on other websites, establishing the company as an authority. Search engines take this into account when ranking is determined. The goal is to have an embedded link on another website that leads directly to the company’s site. Brand reference is good, but an embedded link is better.
Using Social Media
Having a Facebook page or Twitter account for the company isn’t enough for the new SEO rankings. The content on those sites needs to engage the reader as much as the website content. The content also needs to be unique. The new search engine algorithms are designed to recognize duplicate content, and duplicate content is scored low. Sharing the link to the website article is acceptable, but better ranking comes from the short advertisement or description of the article on the social media forum. Duplicating the same text from Facebook to Twitter is also discouraged.
What does this have to do with branding?
Branding is the process of positioning the company as an authority. The only way to do that is to get people talking about and reading about the company. It’s about good customer experiences, both with the product and through communication. Paying attention to the people and their needs before profits creates a positive brand image.
Small businesses that do not have marketing departments would be wise to hire a company that is proficient in SEO and branding. SEO alone will not rocket a company to success on the Internet. Building a strong brand that is attached to certain keywords is the best way to ensure that a company’s business does not get buried at the bottom of the search engine.