Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

5 ways to get Google-savvy / SEMrush brand manager Alexandra Tachalova

Quality content is key to search engine visibility, says SEMrush brand manager Alexandra Tachalova

There’s absolutely no question that good content and successful search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy are fundamentally linked. When someone is searching the web for the answer their interests and needs, effective SEO methodology can help your best content to stand out and really shine.

However, as today’s SEO professionals and marketers are all essentially playing on Google’s field, we have to follow the rules of its game. Step off the pitch and you could lose your place…

SEO tip one: See what your competitors are up to

Analysing competitor activity is extremely important in working out website strategy. Done well, it will not only help you avoid simple and potentially costly mistakes, but can also enable your brand to keep one step ahead of its nearest rivals.

Start by looking at which keywords appear on your competitors’ sites and their positioning. It‘s surprising how often you can increase your use of long tail keywords [specific keywords that are less common individually but combined are more frequently searched for].

Here, a specialist SEO search tool can be extremely valuable, especially when it comes to tracking market trends and adjusting your own marketing policy. This may include, for example, identifying top-performing keywords being used by major online competitors that you own site has not adopted. If these keywords work for them, why shouldn’t they work for you?

SEO tip two: Be more strategic when building backlinks

Creating a link building strategy should start from analysis – including the general market landscape and competitors’ backlinks activity.

This research should enable you to form a clear media plan which includes target blogs and online magazines for articles and posts. In particular, try to occupy a niche where the media are writing about competitors, as they are more likely to post your content because the types of topics will be well-known to them and likely to be a good fit for their sites. If you have the budget, bloggers will gladly place sponsored-competition prizes.

Another easy way to create quality backlinks is to post press releases on websites that allow you to post links to your site either in the body of the press release, or in a separate section about your company.

Pay attention to the guest blogging, another great link building exercise. Once you’ve built a relationship with the blog and had posts appear, continue to engage with it by leaving comments and participating in discussions with other readers. When participating, add links in the comments as this will contribute to your Google score.

SEO tip three: Create quality, Google-friendly content

Content can be a tricky thing. We all know that content means a lot because it has dual purpose –

first to provide your customers with information about your product and second to help your site come out on top in search engine rankings.

The key challenge is to maintain the right balance between these two objectives. If you write text for the search engines, you risk losing your readers and therefore your clients. However, even if you write great content without paying attention to the strong keywords, you lose positions in search engines.

Finding new topics to write about can be a big problem for many companies, especially when it seems like nothing is going on. However, even if there is nothing quite right from a company perspective, external news events are a constant source of comment opportunities. Again, when writing about external events, the simplest way to boost traffic quickly is to create content based on the most popular keywords, using Google autosuggest.

Another key rule with content is to make it unique and avoid copying and pasting content from different sources. Equally, it’s also worth noting that if you continuously create valuable online content, readers are more likely to become customers and spread the word to other potential clients, observers and experts. As such, the more valuable your content, the better the potential return on investment.

Tip four: Get your brand out there

When promoting the brand online, it’s worth adding your website to Google’s Places for Business. Even if yours is an offline company, this will help your customers pinpoint your location via web searches and in turn attract more attention to the site.

Equally, if you have a good PR story, make sure you get it out there: mentions and links on news sites can go a long way to improve Google rankings, especially if it is picked up by Google news.

SEO tip five: Don’t forget about social media

From an SEO point of view, posting content updates and links on Google+ and Twitter has been shown to contribute towards significantly higher Google rankings. As well as using keywords and site links in the post, avoid making it appear too corporate to potential readers by avoiding direct brand references.

Creating official pages and profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter can also go a long way in helping to grow brand visibility. The more employees with LinkedIn profiles the better, especially when the company name is featured in the title.