SEOs love to overcomplicate things so let’s be clear, Google has one objective – to rank great content from great brands.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that under the bonnet there isn’t an incredibly complex algorithm with endless technical components that can each have implications for your rankings, but there are several problems with this granular approach:
– You don’t always know which of these tactics is going to have a positive effect
– The effect is likely to be marginal
– Even if there is a positive effect, you don’t know how the algorithm will evolve in the future
Yes, conduct a complete SEO audit, both on-page and off-page, but rather than trying to game the system focus on what actually matters to the user:
– A secure domain
– Fast loading pages
– An intuitive navigation
– Broadly relevant content beautifully formatted
Above all, have a real strategy for the brand. By brand, I don’t mean “brand signals”, I mean the actual brand. The thing that exists offline as well as online and impacts every moment of the customer experience.
This may sound like something entirely unrelated to SEO, but it is going to make your life as an SEO so much easier….
1. It aligns your activity
When you focus on pure tactics, if one doesn’t work then it can seem like a complete waste of time. However, if EVERYTHING you do ties back to the same core themes and values, then it is all building your brand equity, both in the eyes of the user and Google. Every blog post, link, tweet and web page is reinforcing your position as authority for that particular audience and that particular set of keywords.
2. It ensure you drive other positive signals, such as social, UX and reviews
Whilst I’m not about to suggest that social can have the same impact as link acquisition on rankings, even the most traditional SEO would have to accept that Google is constantly seeking to expand the range of signals it uses to determine quality and trust. Many would argue whether or not Google would ever use bounce rate, for example, as a signal, but surely what we can all agree on is that if users are engaging more with a brand (however exactly that is measured) that has to be a good thing!
3. It will ensure you can engage influencers, which is everything for SEO
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways of attracting quality, legitimate links from within your target audience, but they’re only going to want to engage with you if they are attracted to the brand. More on this in my next post.
4. It means you’re more likely to be in a search market that is growing and has gaps
One of the primary objectives of a brand strategy is to identify growing markets with areas of untapped opportunity. Doesn’t that sound like the kind of search market you want to be competing in – one with little existing competition and masses of audience growth?