In the past, SEO was simply a tool brand employed to drive traffic to their websites. Yet, in the past year alone, SEO has incurred dramatic changes that have altered its primary functions. SEO is more than simply a vehicle for driving traffic; it is transforming into a supportive mechanism for brand-building and 2013 is expected to reflect this extraordinary evolution.
A New SEO Emerges
Google is making certain that the days of link buying and excessively-optimized content are part of internet history—at least in terms of page rankings. Google’s new algorithms released last year penalize websites that employ manipulative strategies to boost SEO at the expense of quality content. What is surfacing on the SEO front is a necessity for strengthening brand value and optimizing customer trust. Driving traffic is only one part of the equation. SEO professionals will steer their efforts toward maintaining positive recognition for known brands and increasing visibility for lesser known or unknown brands.
Tackling Brand Recognition
Moving SEO activities toward brand-building endeavors involves critical exploration of the brand in question. Gauging public reaction to a brand will involve an in-depth analysis of searches involving the brand. Google provides tools that allow webmasters to track the types of searches used in conjunction with a brand. Then, let the graphing and charting begin. Metrically understanding the sentiment surrounding a brand can help the SEO guru steer a course toward improved branding.
Moving Beyond the Desktop
As an increasing number of people search the internet from mobile phones, social media sites, or other apps, the need for strong SEO beyond the typical PC search is essential. In light of forms of access to internet searching, brands also need to create a presence on these alternate platforms that are predicted to outshine PC access to the internet in the near future. SEO experts can enhance brand-building efforts by making brands present on all popularly used search platforms. For optimum brand-building, increasing brand visibility on sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook is an important early step.
Organic Links and Positive Content
Now that Google has marketers in a tailspin, SEO jobbers may as well play by Google’s rules if they want to protect the SEO of their sites. One way to make friends with Google and support brand-building activities is to forgo paid links in favor of organic links. Of course, the thing about organic links is that they tend to occur in the wake of positive content. A website or blog posts quality articles, posts, or relevant content about your brand and others find it of their own accord from their social media site, blog, or website. It requires subscribing to the adage “if you build it, they will come,” but it also increases genuine brand-building work and decreases the temptation to rely on tricks and manipulating search engines for higher rankings.
Employing positive content is strategically important and typically involves hiring skilled writers, but it’s also essential to showcase that content over a variety of platforms. Creating positive brand content is step one, but it’s got to be followed up with saturation—and not just all-over-the map saturation. Experts are predicting that carefully targeted saturation efforts will have the most impact for promoting brands and boosting SEO.
SEO, Brand-Building, and Charting Success
It may not appear easy to track SEO practices and their effect on brand-building—certainly not as easy as gauging traffic patterns for instance. However, one way to measure the impact of SEO brand-building is to keep tabs on search volumes surrounding brand keywords. It may take time to see these volumes increase, but they provide hard data that can be differentiated from direct traffic in analytic reports. Simply speaking, webmasters should see an increase in traffic from branded searches versus any other avenues that direct people to the website; this data will indicate how successful SEO brand-building campaigns have been.
The Year Ahead
Of course, who knows for certain all that 2013 holds in store for SEO and its new brand-building job description. How the two will complement one another in light of Google’s algorithms is still unfolding. It’s certain, though, that SEO has crossed a threshold and its role is increasingly complex. Yet, brands that want to shine in the coming year and years ahead will need to turn to SEO gurus to achieve the internet promotion they need to be not only recognized, but loved above their competitor’s brands.
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