A different version of this post was originally published on McBreen Marketing.
Let’s face it, there’s some tired SEO terminology out there.
And, not too long ago Lisa Buyer wrote a post titled, “20+ SEO Words You Should Delete From Your Vocabulary Immediately.”
In this fun post, SEO maestro, Eric Enge wrote a comment that captured my attention.
And his comment helps be frame my approach using the magic mix of modern SEO and branding.
Here’s the quote:
“Too many people continue to focus solely on old-fashioned ranking signals, like content and links. These do remain important, but it’s also important to take a broader view of how your brand is perceived online.”
He goes on to state…
“Try this: engage in branding and advertising campaigns, or actively engage in, or create, conversations across the web about your brand related to the query. That’s a clear sign that consumers consider you relevant to the query.”
Repeat this as a mantra:
Modern SEO is about taking a broader view of how your brand is perceived online.
Valuable content is the core of a modern SEO strategy.
These days, SEO is about extremely useful content. The ever-changing ways in which Google indexes content means that really, really good content—content that is relevant to your brand—will continue to rise.
Don’t get stuck on horse and buggy SEO
In the past, SEO was about refining keywords, developing a backlink strategy, and for some, gaming the system.
Gaming certainly doesn’t work like it used to, and keyword strategies still work of course, but they won’t work effectively unless you do the following…
Clearly show your expertise with first-rate content tailored to your ideal customer.
The wonks at Google are continually refining, and these constant updates translate to a more extensive view when it comes to how customers make their buying decisions.
This more comprehensive view means that things like value, integrity, and even creativity are rising to the top in the land of search.
Here’s a great little rundown of Google’s major algorithm updates from Search Engine Land.
Modern SEO, search, and why branding matters more than ever.
You want potential customers to find you, get to know you, come to like and trust you, and then buy from you. But the problem comes with a prospect’s unlimited search options.
And their searches are more purpose-driven than ever!
Google calls this Path to Purpose.
Basically, here’s what Path to Purpose means:
Content that is personally relevant to your prospects is the THING that engages them.
So, your Brand Purpose is key to your prospect’s Path to Purchase.
In the new world of online marketing, purpose-driven branding has EVERYTHING to do with SEO
That, my friends, is why branding matters more than ever.
Harbinger defines brand purpose as “the ownable, actionable impact your brand will make on the lives of your target customers, rooted in a fundamental insight. It resides at the intersection of what your brand offers the world and your consumer’s deepest cares and desires.”In the new world of online marketing, purpose-driven branding has EVERYTHING to do with SEO Click To Tweet
Harbinger goes on to say, “Brands with clarity of purpose financially outperform those without.”
I’ll get to how this applies to SEO, but just know that branding and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly.
SEO is now a fully fledged branding and marketing medium.
Your customers want information now! They’ve been conditioned to expect a world of information to open up at their fingertips.
That’s why SEO is no longer a mere tactic, but a medium intimately bound to branding and marketing.
As search engines evolve into powerful “answer engines” understanding is core.
For your business to establish credibility, trust, and help Google clearly understand your brand they want to see…
- Reputation marketing (positive online reviews)
- Public relations (outreach campaigns to popular bloggers and media)
- Getting links from credible sites (your local chamber of commerce, associations you belong to, popular websites, etc.)
- A consistent stream of quality content. And studies have shown that well-written long form content works best.
- Optimizing your site for SEO
- Off-site strategies (social media marketing, citations, influencer marketing, etc.)
- Active social media communities
This “stuff” is what the search engines want to see.
The bullets define how your prospects search for your products and/or services.
And they define why SEO is now a channel that needs to be a key component of your branding and marketing.
Your key to a SEO strategy that works? Branding done right.
Brand traction is the key to a long-term SEO strategy that works.
SEO is long play. And to make SEO work for you, you need to be ready for a marathon.
And to make this long-haul SEO thing work for you, you have to have powerful brand as your hub.
Mark Traphagen knows SEO. And he often writes about the importance of having unique content that stands out from the competition.Brand traction is the key to a long-term SEO strategy that works. Click To Tweet
In the three marks of great content, Mark details the importance of writing great content that aligns with your brand and your customer’s needs.
1. Write helpful, credible, and engaging content that earns you the right to market. What Jay Baer calls Youtility.
2. Make sure your content aligns your goals with the wants and needs of your customers. (content that’s a perfect balance of the two.)
And, in Mark’s world, he recommends starting with your business goals, not the conventional wisdom of “starting with the prospect in mind.” Because this content model, one aligned with your brand, will help you find the best customer opportunities.
3. Put your own spin on content to make it stick in the reader’s mind. He writes you don’t “have to completely reinvent the wheel” just bring a fresh perspective on it. Your voice!
To me, Your Voice is all about Your Brand!
Don’t think like a marketer. Think more like a very creative teacher, you know that cool teacher that the students love and wins all the cool awards. She makes the other teachers jealous because she is so damn good!
Be that teacher when you create content.
Fight the resistance.
When it comes to marketing your business, there’s an innate resistance in people that has to be overcome.
And that’s exactly why you need a brand with purpose. And your purposeful brand must to be aligned with your SEO strategies.
According to Mark, you need to first think about your business goals. Then think like your prospects and customers so you can build a bridge to connect what is relevant to your brand and the things that matter to your customers.
But also be distinctive. Being unique is key and that my friend, originates from your brand 🙂
Here’s how any business owner should position their brand.
Clearly and concisely define what you do, what makes you unique, and exactly how you will help your ideal customer.
That’s a crucial first step to branding but brand-building is something that is not always a part of the SEO conversation.
To grow your business you need a strong brand presence.
To stand above the competition, your brand needs to be clear, unique, and resonate with the right people.
Most business owners know how important SEO is to their success but don’t realize focused branding is key to an effective SEO strategy built to attract your ideal customer.
So, how do you build your brand and improve your SEO?
Create content that does the following…
- Represents the goals and values of your brand.
- Resonates with the right prospects and customers.
- And is built not only with a focus on the right people but also the search engines.
Businesses that get people to know, like, and trust them, and buy from them, produce content that shows the relevancy and authority Google likes.
SEO is not dead. Heck it’s just getting started.
But for it to work, a strong brand is key.
Step one is positioning your brand for success. Build an unmistakable brand then weave it into your SEO plans.
Your brand will be a beacon projecting the trust, quality, and authority signals search engines love.
You’ll climb in search engine rankings.
Your ideal customers will find you.
And the happy marriage of Branding and SEO will help your business thrive.