Brand SEO: Tips for building equity off-site
We’ve all heard how important it is to “own your page one” and “lock out your brand SERP” and suchlike. I am a big believer in brand SEO myself, as from my perspective the plus-sides are not just limited to the ability to dominate a few pages of Google for a search on your brand name. Numerous additional benefits can be had, from the SEO benefits of citation/link matrix – to the traditional marketing benefits of brand and message ownership; most are pretty simple to achieve…
1. Register your brand account on social media sites
2. Add some content
3. Distribute some content
Which is easy to say if your brand name is pretty distinctive!
On the other hand – if you are trying to “brand-SEO” for a fairly non-descript brand name, or an affiliate review site in a highly competitive sector, then you may need to look at building equity in your off-site inventory to avoid having similar brands, competitors or (on occasion), your own affiliates; giving you a brand-term beat-down in the SERPS.
Before considering a couple of ways to build your off-site equity, one of the foundation principles of brand SEO is to make sure you get your brand name right, everywhere you register it. I know that sounds a bit obvious, but I’ve personally done many social inventory audits when a brand name has appeared in numerous variations. Once the basics are in place here are a couple of ways to build equity in your off-site assets.
(Tip: We have found http://knowem.com to be a useful profile registration tool. Do be prepared to sit and authorise a few hundred “confirm” emails though. )
1. Take an audit of all of your brand/social profiles noting PageRank of the profile page as well. If you do have quite a number of genuine assets, you may just want to limit this exercise to top 50 by volume and audience demographic.
2. Check out your brand SERP, noting any gaps in the early pages and use your own judgement as to how many listings you currently own, and how many you could potentially own with a bit of work.
3. Strengthen off-site assets by building your citation matrix. E.g. ensure that any available field to reference an off-site URL is utilised, such as the “Websites” field in linkedin. It goes without saying that your most important social profiles should be clearly promoted on your own site too.
4. Use “followed” profile sources and directories such as Crunchbase, AboutUS.org and Technorati to develop some foundation follow links to your blogs and other social assets.
(Tip: Aboutus.org profile page external links are nofollowed by default, but if you take ownership of your page, flesh it out and then pop into their chat/help room and ask them nicely; they will “ProFollow” your links for you.)
5. Make your Flickr images available under the terms of the creative commons and let external attributions work to build your profile page equity for you.
6. Look at which of your social profiles could use a boost and create some kick-ass viral content originally for that medium. Now with social sharing sites this isn’t a one dimensional exercise, i.e. it isn’t purely a linkbait exercise. Sites such as YouTube and slideshare allow users to embed publicly available content onto their own sites (served from origin) – therefore moving into the realms of virality. Obviously a bit difficult to legislate for at the outset, but such content should first and foremost be visually compelling, entertaining and worthy of reference. A perfect example of such content would be “How To Do SEO Link building – Illustrated by Cute Puppies“, by SiteVisibility’s Kelvin Newman.
7. Old rules still apply!
Of course, as is true for building equity in pages on a website; the foundation principles of age, content, links, citations all still apply here. Again another good reason to register as many of your brand profiles as you can (from a reputation management point of view), and then build out as many profiles as makes business sense, looking at the best volume and demographic fit.
One final point about building your off-site equity (or perhaps we could call this social asset optimisation), it really helps to have a clear objective for participation in each medium, that is specific to the functionality of that medium.