Your brand’s digital presence is (much) more than SEO

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Companies use search engine optimization (SEO) because they want to improve their presence in online searches. However, the truth is that for big brands – and especially national brands – SEO has little to do with why brands may show up in first-page search results. The core value proposition of SEO can be misleading or at least misunderstood.

Knowledge panels, social accounts, Wikipedia, and job reviews are all essential parts of your digital presence. Along with your website, these are the first things consumers, investors, and even journalists will see when they search for your brand.

Yet, despite greater visibility online, they are not particularly impacted by SEO, especially for direct brand searches. To understand why this would be so, let’s look at the key elements of your digital presence that SEO box help with – then dig into everything else.

Related: SEO isn’t just about link building. Don’t overlook these expert strategies.

The Big 3 of SEO

SEO has three main components: onsite, offsite, and technical.

Onsite SEO covers all of your website’s copy and metadata and is essential to improving your rankings for specific keywords. For example, if you’re selling artisanal charcoal toothpaste, an on-site SEO strategy will involve creating content around search terms such as “natural dental products”, “organic toothpaste” and (I assume) “tooth cleaners”. old-fashioned teeth”.

Off-site SEO involves all external actions (taken outside of your website) to get Google and other engines to consider your site trustworthy and authoritative. The most common off-site tactic is to build backlinks. Content creation can be part of this strategy, as you want relevant sites – like the Center for Holistic Dentistry to follow the example above – to link to your pages.

Technical SEO is all about improving the cogs and bolts of your website as a whole, which can help with both search engine visibility and website functionality.

Offsite and technical SEO has broad applicability to any type of research. On-site SEO is more contextual and keyword-focused. But for searches directly related to your brand, these three strategies are less useful than you might think.

Avoid SEO blind spots

The information that appears immediately when people search for your brand is critical to your reputation because very few users will click through to the second page of results.

So let’s think about the types of search results you see when you search for your brand name. Your business website should be the top organic result – if not, you have an SEO problem.

But what comes next? If you’re a local business, you should see a Google My Business profile to the right of the organic results that includes photos, your website URL, a Google Maps link, hours of operation, and more. An SEO agency should advise you on how to claim and optimize this profile.

If you’re a top national brand, people should see a Google Knowledge panel instead of a My Business profile. Knowledge panels appear in search results for notable people, places, brands, and proper names. Google pulls knowledge panel data from many public sources, including Wikipedia. Side note: If your brand is well known enough to have an article on Wikipedia, then your brand almost certainly has a knowledge panel.

With a My Business profile, the most effective way to improve your listing is to first claim it (using a verified account) and suggest changes directly to Google. You can also search for updates for your Wikipedia article, as the descriptive language at the top of the knowledge panel is likely taken from the online encyclopedia.

Your social profiles are also going to appear on the first page of search, both in the knowledge panel and as organic entries. An SEO agency may advise you to update these profiles to ensure that all relevant descriptive data is correct and consistent across each profile (eg, that you use the same tagline, list the correct website, etc.). Using these channels effectively to promote your brand is entirely up to you. Too often, the first page of search results for brands will include links to social accounts that haven’t been updated in months or don’t reflect a recent brand change.

SEO also won’t help you deal with negative reviews or outdated information on Glassdoor and Indeed job boards. Both appear high in search results for businesses and are frequently visited by job seekers as well as journalists and investors.

Researchers for your brand will also see countless company profiles on sites like Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Crunchbase, GitHub and others. Some of these profiles can be updated directly by verified employees, and that’s a good idea if you want your Google results to stay accurate.

Related: 5 Common SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Your digital presence is more than your website (much more)

To reiterate, SEO is essential to online marketing. I just want to remind brands (and brand managers) that traditional SEO doesn’t cover everything, and there are important and very vital pieces of your digital presence that fall outside the scope of search engine optimization. .

For this reason, it’s important to periodically perform a comprehensive audit of your digital presence, starting with all first-page search results for your brand. It can be helpful to compare your results with those of your competitors, as you can see effective steps others are taking to improve their presence that you can replicate.

One thing is certain: you cannot afford to leave your digital presence to chance.

About Scott Bridges

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