Most companies only optimize their own site. But optimization of all top branded content can work wonders.
When marketers perform search engine optimization (SEO), they usually only do it for their own website or websites they control completely, like product or service-specific sites. It is important to do SEO to stay competitive, but it’s also essential to promote pages that are positive about your brand even if you don’t control them.
Examples of positive content beyond the main company site you can optimize include:
- Positive articles
- Positive review sites
- Wikipedia page
- Executive LinkedIn profiles
- Company LinkedIn profile
- Industry news about the company
Optimize brand content you don't control
When a third-party site posts something great about your company online, link to it.
Link to positive content
Linking from your sites' press page to any new, positive, content - even if it's not content you control - tells Google and other search engines the target article on is relevant. This single signal will improve ranking slightly as it passes "authority" from your site to the content on someone else's site that you want to promote in search results - all without costing you a penny!
Generate a press release whenever something good happens
When your company gives to a charity, gets funding, or earns an award, create a press release about it - every time. Then post the press release widely. Ensure you include a link from the press release to whatever positive coverage you receive. The link will almost certainly be a "nofollow" link since it is from a press release (which is normal), but Google sometimes follows these links.
You'll also earn the appreciation of whoever generated the positive content about your brand by shining a spotlight on them - which can mean more positive articles about your brand in the future.
Direct your SEO company to build links to other positive sites
If your brand works with an SEO agency, ask the agency to devote about 20% of their budget to link building for third-party positive content. Each month they should look for new articles about your brand with positive sentiment and build links to them. Most agencies should be able to easily earn at least a handful of links to each article. This will be a signal to Google to improve the visibility of those third-party articles that reflect well on your firm.
Note: Doing so will not hurt your company rankings, but it may put a slight amount of drag on progress as resources are being diverted. But it's usually worth it because prospective customers don't just go to your site - they look at other sites before contacting you. While your SEO program may be just a little slower, the quality of your prospects should improve.
Search for mentions and ask for links
Your company is probably mentioned online. But most of those mentions will not have a link to your site or to any other positive content about your brand. They're just mentions, after all. But you can ask publishers that have mentioned your brand in the past to create a link long after the piece has been published.
To do this, perform a search in Google for your brand. Then look at each mention of your brand name in the articles you find (ignore social media). When you find an article that mentions your brand but does not link to your site or any other web property you own (like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) ask the author to add a link. Your email or DM could simply say something like this:
"Hey _______, thanks for mentioning Acme Widgets in your wonderful article. Would you mind taking just a moment to link to our BBB profile (could be LinkedIn, Crunchbase, etc. ) from our name? I'd really appreciate it."
Most authors won't do it, but some will. If out of 100 articles you get 10 links to sites that are positive about your brand you'll have succeeded.
Ask your customers for reviews
Google tries to learn about how your reputation is perceived online. To do this they look at sites your brand does not control. A big one they look at are review sites. When a customer has done business with you, and they are happy, ask them to leave a review. This is called "gated" review management. By generating good reviews organically, and over time, on sites like Google Reviews (Google Business), BBB, Yelp, and others, you can increase the rankings and visibility of your site without SEO or link building. This method leverages something called "EAT" which stands for Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness.
What do branded searches mean for my business?
It is critical for brands to own their search results. This means they should have as many owned properties as possible on the first page of Google search results. They should also work to remove or push down negative brand mentions.
What is the impact of negative search results?
Whether you run a business or not, you should be concerned about negative search results. Bad search results can cost someone a job, a partner, or an opportunity for upward mobility. They can cost a business revenue.
How can I improve my brand's search results?
Brands with problems like bad reviews, a low cumulative review score, negative articles, a lack of good online content, or other problems must identify the problems and work to either remove them, change them, or make them less visible. Once things have been cleaned up, they can move on to protecting what they’ve earned.