Let’s be honest: Your business doesn’t exist because you want to spend all your time “building a brand.” You have a product or service to deliver. Your goal is satisfied customers, and that takes up plenty of time as is. Developing your brand online simply isn’t your biggest priority.
Unfortunately, a quality business isn’t enough to succeed online. You need to take a few steps to develop your brand. Don’t worry – this is actually pretty easy:
The Importance of Brand Signals
The term “brand signals” is relatively new, first coined in a 2011 post by Rand Fishkin. He explained how Google separates businesses online into two groups:
- Brands: Businesses that consistently meet the needs of searchers
- Generics: Less reputable websites with a history of poor user experience
Obviously, you want to be considered a brand and not a generic.
How Google Determines Your “Brandworthiness”
We’re going to assume your brand is an actual business that works to deliver a quality product or service. The problem is Google won’t just take you at your word. In 2011, Moz first identified the major characteristics of a reputable brand.
A reputable brand:
- has a physical address (even if the company is entirely virtual)
- is registered with appropriate trade agencies
- has obvious contact info and evidence of real employees
- has evidence of offline advertising and activity
- is searched for by name
Building Brand Signals
Here are some quick, easy actions you can take today to build your brand signals.
Add Content to Your About Page
Fill your “About” page with plenty of details. Describe who you are and what led you to the business you’re in. This not only helps you connect with customers, but it also signals your legitimacy to Google. After all, anybody can put up a website. Real biographical details are a lot harder to fake.
Include your office address in your biography. Update your location on Google maps, too. Even if your business is virtual, search engines still want to connect your brand to a real, physical place.
Maintain a Presence on Review Sites
You’ll want to claim your spot on the major review sites. Every major review site will have a profile page. But you have to create an account and actually claim your page.
There are tons of review sites out there. Focus on these top five:
You’ll want to make sure your information is identical across every profile page. If you’re located at “123 W. StreetName” use the same exact punctuation and abbreviations everywhere online. Any mismatch will negatively affect your search rankings.
Create a LinkedIn Profile
A presence on all the major social media profiles is important for building your brand. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles all reinforce the idea you’re a real business with real employees. A LinkedIn profile is especially important if your business has employees. Your employees can explicitly state they work for your company. This also shows Google that your employees are real people.
Create Profiles on Niche Platforms
Reputable brands are involved in their industry. You want to identify any niche websites that are specific to your industry. For instance:
These professional connections help boost your brand’s legitimacy online.
Write Guest Posts
You don’t want to publish content just on your site. When you publish guest posts on other sites, search engines assign legitimacy to your brand through co-citation. To put it simply, some of the credibility of a more established site can transfer over to your brand. The more credible the website (or the higher the domain authority) the better. If a spam-filled, low-quality website is featuring your guest post, Google won’t give you much clout.
Add Visuals to Your Content
You’re not just building your brand for the search engines. Brand signals are also for users. The more people are aware of your brand, the bigger pool of potential customers you’ll have. One quick way to improve the visibility of your brand is to include visuals in your content. Studies show content with relevant images has a 94% increased view rate compared with similar content without visuals.
You can add a funny cartoon, an informative infographic or anything in-between. The point is to not publish dense blocks of text.
Get Building, Your Brand Needs It
If you have a legitimate, reputable business with real employees (and we’re sure you do) then building your brand is pretty easy. Mainly, you just need to take a few simple steps to increase your visibility to both search engines and potential customers.
Taking the time to strengthen your brand signals is one of the best ways to reach new customers you can then wow with first-class service.
Do you have any questions about how to boost your brand? Describe your business and what issues you’re having. We’re happy to point you toward some winning strategies!