By Matt Bertram, Enterprise SEO Consultant at EWR Digital and co-host of the SEO podcast “The Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing.”
Whether you’re a CEO of a large enterprise, marketing director, small business owner or author, you can and should use search engine optimization (SEO) to build your brand. Personal and business names alike can improve their online presence by standing out and gaining recognition.
SEO focuses on improving the user experience for consumers. Your website’s speed, design, content, responsiveness and intent all play a role in your visibility and desirability online. The easier your online presence is to find and access, the faster you can build awareness to draw the right people to your brand.
To supercharge your brand awareness efforts, target the right audience with the right content at the right time and place. How? Through SEO.
Using SEO To Build Brand Awareness
By optimizing critical elements of your website for search, you can boost your rankings and achieve greater brand recognition online. Attract more traffic to your website and convert visitors into leads and engaged consumers.
1. Use content marketing.
Publishing quality, valuable content on your website regularly is one of the most effective ways to increase your rankings on search engines, build brand awareness and attract quality leads to your website. Content marketing can help you build trust with people, educate consumers and inform people of your products and services.
To create a foundation of outstanding content, focus on giving your audience what they need. This may include answering common questions, offering unique perspectives on industry-related topics or crafting engaging pieces that people can’t wait to consume.
Content marketing isn’t limited to blog posts and case studies. You can create everything from e-books and infographics to videos, podcasts, webinars and other creative pieces to engage your audience.
2. Identify relevant keywords.
Optimizing your content with appropriate keywords is an essential part of every great SEO strategy. Identifying relevant phrases and longtail keywords can help you rank for the terms needed to enter the conversation with consumers and meet them where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Ranking near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific key phrases is also a form of social proof. In other words, it can boost your credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of consumers, as organic rankings are typically more trusted than paid ads.
Remember to optimize every piece of content for search intent (or user intent). Give users what they intend to find when they type specific terms into search engines. This will help boost your conversion rates and keep people onsite longer. Focus on keywords that are navigational, transactional, informational and commercial to satisfy intent. And don’t forget to target branded search terms in addition to industry keywords.
Optimizing the following on-page elements with target keywords can help you enhance your visibility and brand recognition:
• Page title
• Headers and subheaders
• Meta description
• Body paragraphs
• Image alt text
• Image file names
3. Incorporate a link-building strategy.
According to Ahrefs, backlinks are among the top three ranking factors on Google, yet 66.31% of pages on the web don’t have a single backlink. Ahrefs also found that website traffic correlates to the number of backlinks a page has. The more backlinks a page has, the more monthly organic search traffic from Google it receives.
To boost your rankings on Google and increase brand awareness online, incorporate a quality link-building strategy. Here are some tactics to help you start moving the needle:
• Reach out to others in your industry or niche and offer them valuable resources.
• Pitch guest blog posts to relevant websites with links to your site and have people guest post on your site if they have an authoritative presence online in a related niche.
• Fix broken links across your site and on external sites that link back to yours.
• Find mentions of your brand across the web and request a backlink.
• Produce high-quality content that people want to share.
• Get people talking about you on social media.
• Draft a press release if you have something noteworthy to share.
4. Target your core audience.
Who is your primary audience? To raise brand awareness successfully, you must target the people most interested in what you offer. Fish where the fish are located.
Satisfying search intent and creating a seamless online experience for your core audience is vital — something Google calls micro-moments. You can connect with the right people and draw them toward your brand by sharing valuable content on relevant topics and incorporating keywords for your specific niche.
5. Utilize local SEO.
If you’re a small business or want to raise brand awareness locally, local SEO can help you optimize your online presence to gain traction within your area. Localize your content by focusing on the search intent of people nearby to begin showing up for local searches.
To optimize your website for local search, follow these steps:
• Generate regular local reviews to build your credibility. (Nearly 90% of consumers around the world try to read online reviews before purchasing.)
• Create and fully optimize a Google My Business (GMB) account and add new content and images often.
• Optimize your website for voice search.
• Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and the target page is relevant to the local searches you are trying to rank for in Google Maps (GMB).
• Build content covering local events and topics.
• Add location-specific content and keywords to your website.
• Add your business to online NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) directories.
When your primary goal is raising brand awareness, optimize your website to draw in traffic at the top of your sales funnel (in the awareness stage). Focus on introducing your brand to new visitors or prospective customers. By keeping your content informative, fresh, high-quality and relevant to users in this initial stage, you can start building trust and gaining the brand recognition you desire.