Content Strategy is now a rocket taking off to take your website to the moon – it has generated a lot of buzz and news and is the trending topic for SEO sites. We all know that branding is important, especially with the latest launch of Google’s EMD update – which is Google’s way of cleaning up the web from spammy, EMD-dependent money sites. So how does Content Strategy Relate to branding? Better yet, how does branding affect SEO?
Content Strategy Involves Feeding your Target Audience with Information
A brand is an idea – it stands for a personality behind the company. This idea is fed to grow larger and larger with each and every piece of other informative ideas supporting it. Those ideas are published as content. Creating a great content strategy in dishing out informative support ideas to your brand is a great way to make your branding stick. Give your audience:
- Information they want - Information that they are already searching for. Chances are, majority of your traffic comes from the search engines.
- Information they SHOULD want - Information that they weren’t expecting to find but you fed it to them and they loved it anyway. I’m doing this by giving you an option to check out more of my posts through interlinking and having a ‘related posts’ section down below every post.
- Info about you - As the blogger / CEO – Your age, beliefs and philosophies – make yourself human over your website. An excellent example of this is my author bio where you can check out my personal blog and find out more about me.
- Info about your company - Company history, about page, team, etc. Want to know where to start with this? Check out our About page, Team page, and SEO Hacker History post.
- About your processes - Just enough for them to know you’re someone they want to work with someday. We do this all the time. In fact, this post is one great way of sharing our process to you in terms of content strategy and branding!
- Your products - How it works, why it’s different, why it’s valuable, why they should buy it. We have all our products lined up in our SEO Services section of the site.
- How you want to make their life better - Through your product, brand, philosophy or what have you
- World peace - ‘Nuff said
Content Strategy is Giving Away Part of Yourself to your Target Audience
Brands stick when they give lasting value to a person – enabling the brand to touch the person’s emotional level and climb its way up to the person’s memory. Eventually, that brand will make the person’s ‘top-of-mind list’ and acquire word of mouth referrals. Consequently, if that person is a blogger or webmaster, the brand might be able to get word of mouth links. Lasting value means that you have to:
If you’re writing a tutorial, tell them what you did, how you did it and how they can do it too. If it includes cost, tell them, if you generated revenue out of it, tell them. People appreciate transparency – even in short talks with a stranger at the pet shop.
SEO Hacker has been very transparent in our tutorials. Check out our Content Strategy tutorial and our other free tutorials in SEO School – study how we dished out great, free and valuable tutorials with full transparency even to code-level.
Give them what they want
Know what they want. Listen. Publish content that help your target audience. Give them value. Give them answers. Guide them. Educate them. You can’t tell them that it’s not your responsibility because it is if you want them to reciprocate your branding with their loyalty.
Help them to know who you are
People won’t know who you are and what you stand for unless you tell them. They will know your products and services but they also want to know who you are (even if it doesn’t seem that way sometimes). People are always looking for a story. Stories are hardwired into our system as human beings. Tell them your story – it’s one of the main keys to effective branding.
In return, they will feel cared for and they will see your initiative in sharing yourself with them – which will be reciprocated by their:
They will keep coming back simply because they want to read your stuff. They want to know more about you, your company, even your bad hair day.
This is extremely important, especially in the internet where you can’t just sell a product to a visitor who doesn’t know who you are.
This comes after trust and loyalty. This is the stage where they will nod their heads with just about anything you say – because they believe in you and they simply like who you are and what you do.
Once you have their patronage, it won’t be a tough job selling to them. Of course, don’t sell them anything that will harm that trust, loyalty and patronage you’ve worked so hard to build.
Word of Mouth referrals
It doesn’t stop with a purchase, more often than not your target audience will remember you especially when another person approaches them and asks for help in the specific niche you’re involved with.
How Does all this Affect SEO?
Well to cut the long story short, branding has a lot to do with search. It does not affect SEO and rankings directly but goes through the human emotional filter. Once it passes and makes a strong emotional connection to the person who’s reading your content, your brand has stuck – resulting in an indirect effect in your SEO and rankings. Some of which are:
1) Natural Sitelinks
An increasingly important part of Search Engine Branding. A brand search now shows only 7 results. Imagine for a minute that I didn’t get top spot for the brand term ‘SEO Hacker’ the next one looks like it has a negative connotation – which can pretty much damage my brand’s brand search.
2) Brand Searches
Brand searches rock. You can be sure that the person who searched for your brand will increase your Dwell Time metrics (bounce rate, time on site, pages visited, etc.). Take a look at my brand search stats (1 year span) and notice the quality of users it brought in my site (You might be one of those!)
3) It pulls up all your keywords
Brand searches increases Google’s awareness of your brand – especially if you have a good Click-through rate (CTR) from the Search engine results page (SERP). The more brand searches you have coming in your website, the more authority your have as a brand, the more authority your website will have in terms of its SEO.
4) Product-related keyword queries that go with your brand pulls your rankings up
Having people type in “What is SEO? SEO Hacker” or “On Site Optimization SEO Hacker” or “302 redirect SEO Hacker” greatly improves my relevance to those key terms. Of course, this is completely done from the end-user and should NOT be manipulated in any way. I saw how product-related keyword queries with the brand name on them bring up some of my client’s rankings – and it did so with SEO Hacker as well. This is arguably one of the best reasons why branding is so important to SEO.
5) Lastly, brand links are gaining more and more weight especially with Penguin on the roll
Exact Match URLs are good – but too much of ‘em will call Google’s pet Penguin to peck your rankings down. Brand URLs have an ever increasing value – even to each of your page’s deeplinks. Having a good mix of brand links to your landing pages together with exact match URLs can be the answer to having a Penguin-proof link profile.
Tips for Keeps: Branding is NOT about the search engines. This is where black hat, grey hat and all other hats come to an end. People say ‘Content is King’ but the story behind it is that content only paves the way for great branding. It’s a great brand that sticks that will keep your ranks up – and keep the sales on an all-time-high.