10 mins read

How to Create a Brand SEO Strategy – Whiteboard Friday

The author’s views are solely his own (except for the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Miracle provides valuable insight into establishing your brand’s online identity and mastering the SERPs in this informative Whiteboard Friday.

Digital whiteboard showing how to create a brand SEO strategy

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Video transcription

Hello everyone, my name is Miracle Inameti-Archibong. I am Head of SEO at John Lewis Finance. Welcome to Whiteboard Friday. Today I’m going to talk to you about how to create your brand SEO strategy.

Why do you need a brand SEO strategy?

Why do you need a brand SEO strategy?

Now why are we talking about a brand SEO strategy? I mean, it’s 2023. Traditionally, SEOs have always been looking for generic keywords, and that’s not a bad strategy. I mean, that’s where the search volume is, right? However, when we’re all competing against each other in the same crowded room, it becomes really difficult to gain visibility. We have all seen the SERP developments. I mean, there have been 233 major algorithm updates since 2000 and it feels like Google and all search engines are constantly chasing the target. And instead of chasing them, why not get your customers to come directly to you? Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about the generic section. Please do that, but we need to diversify our audience. If there is an algorithm update, if something changes, we have something to fall back on. Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of AI. And we have all seen how search engines integrate AI into the SERPs.

And that means that visibility becomes more and more difficult because with personalization the data is brought back and it is most likely only the top brands that will be included in this SERP. That’s why we want to make sure people search for us and go straight to our content. Another thing is the increase in competition. Have you ever done a search? I mean, I searched for hope, like a poem about hope, and I got over four million results. And all the page titles look very, very similar. And it became really, really difficult for me to distinguish which one I wanted. And so in the end I just chose a brand, a newspaper brand that I knew. And that brand identification helped me figure out what I wanted to see. And that’s why we talk about brand SEO, because we want to make sure your brand stands out in the SERP and people can get to you.

How to start creating a brand SEO strategy

So how do we start with this strategy?

Tips for Creating a Brand SEO Strategy

Become a unit

The first thing you need to do is make sure your brand is a recognized entity. Google your brand. Does it trigger a knowledge panel? How do you get your brand to trigger a knowledge panel? How do you get Google to understand that this name is a brand, that this is the product we sell, and that this name is the target audience? First, make sure you use a consistent naming convention. Make sure this is the case across all of your brand assets, your social media, and your platforms. How many times have I seen websites migrate or change their name, and even though they don’t like changing the name of their social media platform, they simply abandon it or close it and create a new platform or a new entity. What you need to do is make sure you are consistent, taking ownership of all the legacy assets you want and moving them in the right direction. Do you have a Wikipedia page?

I know they’re notoriously hard to get, but Google gets at least 70% of its knowledge panel content from there, so you’ll want to make sure you have one.

Establish relationships between entities

The next step is to establish relationships between all of these identities. Now, for example, if you search for dresses, because I have a beautiful dress on, if you search for dresses, what makes Google recommend them, and if I search for Zara dresses, perhaps, what makes Google recommend Forever 21 or H&M recommend? How does Google know that all of these brands have a similar profile? So what you want to do is make those connections. There is a tool called TextRazor that allows you to take and paste some of your content. Google will then show you some of the links and the associations it makes with that content.

So you need to think about where you’re building links, where you’re getting citations, and making sure you’re targeting similar brands with the competition you want.

Use schema markup

Another option is to give a serve. Now Google can crawl the web and understand content. However, you want to make sure your content is very clear. You want to make sure you tag your organizational schemes, your product, and everything you do to make it easier for search engines to understand what your content is about.

Interact with your local audience

Are you engaging with your local audience?

Again, if your content is local, make sure you are engaging with your local audience. Now it’s not just about launching your GMB profile and thinking, “No, I’m done.” This is about creating an engagement strategy.

So respond to reviews, create a strategy to collect reviews, and make sure you interact with your audience enough to make them want to like posts about you, take photos, and share with search engines. Because at this point, search engines place more value on what your customers say about you than what you say about yourself. So you want to make sure that you’re using all the features, the post features, the advertising features, keeping everything updated, answering questions, and really engaging with that audience.

Master your brand’s SERP

Master your brand’s SERP

Again: Are you dominating your brand’s SERP?

Now I’ve done a search. Traditionally, everyone just thinks that if your brand name is included in that search, in the keyword of a search query, you will rank number one. But this is wrong as more and more brands ignore their brands and chase generic keywords. So I looked for ways to book a flight on Expedia. And surprisingly, even though Expedia is a big brand, it wasn’t ranked number one.

Now the website that was number one is called Techboomer. They had a complete article with step-by-step instructions and screenshots from the Expedia website on how to book a flight. They also had an accompanying video to go with it, and that was what ranked first and second. Now I went to Expedia’s website and tried to search for this content. I could not find it. And to make matters worse, Expedia bids on this keyword. So they’re paying for their own branded traffic when they could have easily targeted them through content and through the use of content.

Create a plan to maintain a positive brand reputation

Create a plan to maintain a positive brand position

Again, we talked about reviews when you are part of local search. You want to make sure you do the same even if you’re not in the local area. Where are people engaging with your content? How do people talk about your brand, your products and whether you’re doing well? You want to make sure you’re there, getting all the feedback, and engaging them with content that makes it easier for them to understand your product.

You want to make sure that if you use Trustpilot or any other review tool you use, you are actively trying to collect reviews and responding as quickly as possible.

Create a top-of-funnel content strategy

Create a top-of-funnel content strategy

Again, you want to develop a top-of-the-funnel content strategy. Now a lot of SEOs shy away from this because it’s really hard to measure, but if you’re really intentional about the purpose and working with the right channel, it’s not just an SEO strategy. You need to work with the brand, social media, and product team to bring this to life. And the key to this is establishing your brand’s online identity.

Now you want to give your brand a distinctive, unique identity and position it. For example, what makes someone an Apple? What makes someone an Android? And these two users: “Well, I can never use the other product.” And that’s what you’re trying to do. Determine who your brand is for and who you want to target with your top-of-the-funnel content strategy. There’s something called social identity theory, which says that if people can do this for their brand, their confidence will increase when they associate with a brand because they feel like that brand understands them . And they became your marketers. They recommend your brand to other people. You advocate for your brand worldwide. And that’s exactly what you want to achieve with your brand SEO strategy.

Now I’ll end with this comment. If we all target the same keywords, we’re competing in a very, very crowded space. Your brand’s online identity is your beacon. So let them come to you.

If we all chase the same keyword, we will all be competing in a crowded space.  Get your customers to come to you.

Thank you very much.

Video transcription from Speechpad.com