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How to rank in search engines through building your brand – 3 takeaways from #digitalks

It’s not widely spoken about, but it is possible to rank in search engines by building your brand.

Speaking at a recent #digitalks event in Melbourne, SEO expert and StewArt Media owner Jim Stewart unveiled how brand building and boosting brand mentions can improve your search rankings.

He advised starting with a solid foundation to get SEO basics on track and then putting in equal effort to build a strong brand.

Combining both strategies will ultimately lead to better search rankings which can convert to website traffic and conversations.

According to Stewart, these are the three things you can do to boost your search rankings by building your brand:

1. Get your SEO basics right

Much like laying a solid foundation on which to build a house, getting your technical SEO right is paramount to the future success of your online presence.

It’s important to make sure your website is user-friendly, offers an enjoyable user experience and meets technical requirements.

Google does not want to send users to your website if it contains errors, is slow, houses duplicate content, has bad code or offers low-quality content.

Fix these things and your site will immediately start ranking better.

Remember, site speed is also an important factor – halve the time it takes for a page to load and you’ll boost traffic by 80 per cent, Stewart advised.

2. Focus on building your brand

Build your brand, forget about Google, focus on the customer – that’s the advice Stewart recommends for anyone wanting to boost their search rankings.

This is because strong brands rank better, he said.

With your technical SEO taking care of the foundations of your search rankings, building your brand is the next crucial step.

“If you have a strong brand, your rankings will go up.” – Jim Stewart.

When Google rolled out their Vince update in 2009, they referred to it as a “trust” change. Consequently, new search engine rankings placed a heavy emphasis on branding and brand promotion.

Google doesn’t necessarily state that a strong brand improves search ranking however, they place emphasis on factors they deem important, such as trust, authority and expertise.

3. Brand mentions count

When people talk about your brand online, it counts.

If there is a spike in traffic to your site, a highly engaged post on your social media account or you’ve obtained press coverage, your brand will improve its position in search engine rankings.

But the results don’t stop there – when searches for your brand increase, your efforts to rank on other terms will get a boost too.

When StewArt Media received media exposure in relation to the auDA issue, the brand saw their web traffic double and noticed an increase in their search rankings for non-brand related terms like ‘marketing speaker’ and ‘marketing speaker Melbourne’.

“One area that is overlooked, when Google talks about citations, is brand search. Google knows people are searching for your brand and that’s why branded keywords are so important. It’s important to have your brand associated with the keyword that you want to be known for,” Stewart said.

If possible, get people talking about your brand to increase your popularity – Google recognises this as ‘Off Site Sentiment’ and rewards your brand with higher rankings because it is seen as relevant.

Build your brand

While a solid foundation of technical SEO is still vital for ranking in search, developing a strong brand is equally important.

Brand-related searches are becoming increasingly common, and Google responds by elevating popular searches to the top of its rankings.

A brand can be built in a number of ways: through content marketing, traditional and digital advertising, an active social media presence, offering a good customer experience and having a website that works well.

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