Internet marketing has grown from spamming links and content to include tasks more aligned with its offline counterpart. All big brands worry about negative reviews, bad comments on social media, and their brand identity as a whole. In this article I will cover some SEO tips and tricks we use to help improve brand awareness and put you in control of how your brand appears in search engines.
Time and money invested in your brand can easily be capitalised when focusing on your internet presence. The opposite is also true; bad site structure or user feedback can lead to lower search visibility than the competition. There are several things a developer can do to help boost website exposure in Google. This article focuses on the top four ways to boost your brand identity in the major search engines.
“The links shown below some of Google’s search results, called sitelinks, are meant to help users navigate your site. Our systems analyze the link structure of your site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for.” – According to Google
A few simple steps will help Google list several links under our main website which we have some control over. The ability to create a set of unique links at the very top of Google can be very powerful, and all it takes is a few basic steps.
- Ensure your URL structure is logical and brief
- Create a valid XML sitemap — making sure to set page priority correctly
- Submit the sitemap to Google’s Search Console
At first glance it may look simple, but in reality can be somewhat difficult. Outdated content management systems (CMS), bad programming practices, and large wesbites almost always present problems when implementing an automated system. Using an XML sitemap generator can help when creating one in the CMS isn’t viable.
In May of 2012, Google released a major update called the knowledge graph. The update was designed to include semantic-search information for a wide variety of sources, which now contains around 1.6 billion facts compiled by machine learning algorithms.
For the average user this simply means that more relevant information while searching, such as company logo, opening hours and reviews. The quickest way to associate information with the knowledge graph is to use schema markup. This has been covered in another post — investing in local SEO — so I won’t repeat myself here.
Search results ordering
Controlling what is displayed when people search for your company can have several advantages. Negative reviews, legal action, and social media faux pas are just a few reasons one may want to “bury” a result that appears while searching for your brand or company name. The easiest method to clean up the first page for your brand is to create business profiles on the most respected business directory websites, such as Scoot and Yell.
This can be a double-edged sword though, as a severely disgruntled customer will go to extraordinary lengths to complain to whoever will listen. Creating listings on which they can comment can lead to negative reviews. Damage mitigation beyond this point tends to veer into the grey-hat SEO area. Getting staff members to create fake reviews isn’t advised as you will get caught eventually.
The “local pack”
Getting included into Google’s local results, called the local pack by SEO nerds, allows for additional information to be displayed alongside normal search results. Below is an example for the search engine results page (SERP) for the keyword “SEO Crowborough”
Following the steps below is usually enough to start appearing in the local pack.
- Create a Google My Business profile
- Verify it (usually by post)
- Add schema address information to your footer or contact page
- Create business listings using the same information
It can take up to 3 months to start showing for broad local terms, so be patient. But… If your website still doesn’t show for local search terms then you may have to check your citations for inconsistent data such as old addresses, incorrect formatting, and general inconsistencies are the most common culprits of local results omission.
Of course, if this all sounds a like too much to keep on top of, get in touch. We have a dedicated team of Search Engine Optimisation specialists with over 20 years experience in website marketing and damage mitigation expertise. If you want to find out more about what we can do for you to get your SEO campaign off the ground and increase search visibility, then please contact me (Jake Judd) today on 01273 478822, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.