Search engine optimization is about building a business, it just happens to be online.
The approach is very similar to how you build a business in a brick and mortar setting. It takes time and a lot of work.
Since SEO is about building a business, it starts with building a rock solid brand.
The first thing that you want to rank at the top of Google searches for, is your brand name. I believe you have to rank for your brand name, before Google will even consider ranking you for a competitive search term, like a search for the good or services your business offers, that can bring in a lot of money.
Not only do you need to rank number one for your brand name, you need to cover the entire page of the search results for your brand name. You need to dominate the front page search results for your brand name.
Great SEO starts with making sure everything on the first page of the search results, all lead back to your website.
Why is this important?
Because this is what real brands, real businesses, big businesses do.
Google any big brand and you will see what I mean.
There is no mistaking this brand. You’ll see that everything on the page is about the company Coca-Cola. They are even running Google Ads against their brand name.
My favorite example is Best Buy.
Just try to Google “best buy + any phrase you choose” and it will give you results from the electronic retailer’s website.
Google “best buy pizza”. Apparently Best Buy’s website sell pizza ovens because that’s the first organic search results you see.
Google “best buy shoes”. Apparently the Best Buy website sells shoes. An electronics retailer… selling shoes. And why not, they get free traffic from Google, so why not make the most of it?
And finally, to drive home this point, Google “i want the best buy for a pair of shoes”. The first three organic search results are for the Best Buy website.
Best Buy doesn’t even need to try to rank for “best buy shoes”. All they have to do, is put up a page on their website that sells shoes and they will rank at the top for it.
Why? Because they have a rock solid brand. Even more than that, they have one of the world’s strongest brands.
Ok great. So how does having a powerful brand defend your business against bad PR?
Brands like Coca-Cola, Best Buy, Target, etc. rank so well for their brand name, that it is very difficult for anything to rank that has that brand name in it.
At least anywhere near the first page of the search results, where all the eyeballs are.
If you are a smaller business, someone could file a Ripoff Report about your business. Not good. Ripoff Reports have your brand name in them, and they tend to rank well.
You might have someone that fills out a bad review about your business on a review website, and it ranks for your brand. I’ve seen it happen.
Even worse, your business could be involved in lawsuit, or maybe an accident happened and people got hurt.
This horrible bad news, will rank for your brand in Google search.
People will see this when they search for your brand name, and they will run away.
To move stuff like this off the first page of the search results, requires hiring a company that provides SEO services called Reputation Management. Real Reputation Management is the most expensive type of SEO services you can buy, because it requires about 10X the amount of work of regular search engine optimization.
The way you move the bad search results is by ranking “favorable” search results above them, not suppressing the bad ones.
There are very few companies that can actually pull this off.
This is where having a powerful brand can really save you money or defend you from negative press.
If you have a powerful brand, it will be hard for a news report to rank for your brand name. Or, if a bad search result does rank for your brand, it’s likely that there won’t be multiple results.
If you just have one bad search result that shows up for your brand, then that’s a lot less work than if there are three on the first page. And the bad result will be located lower on the front page, which is better than in the middle, or at the top.
This is just one of several reasons why I focus so much on branding with SEO. It’s not exciting. It’s often difficult or impossible to explain to the client why, (unless you’re Best Buy), you need to keep doing SEO for your brand name.
It can bring you extra revenue when your brand gets so powerful that it ranks at the top for searches that are “brand name + keyword”, like in the Best Buy example.
And, it can save you the cost of buying very expensive Reputation Management SEO services as well as the amount of lost revenue that occurs when a customer Google’s your brand name and sees a bunch of bad results, and decides not to purchase your good or services.
A brand search is one of the most common searches in Google.
Having a powerful brand can make you more money, and save you money.
This is the best way to approach SEO. It’s not exciting, until you need it.
This is how you build a business online.
Bruce Paulson is the owner of Determined Solutions an SEO company that focuses on branding in search.