In today’s digital environment, it’s all-too-common (and, more accessible than ever with mobile devices) to do research online before purchasing a product or service. Upwards of 90% of people research businesses and brands online before doing business with them. This is likely even higher in 2018 with smartphone use.
If your online resume (individual search) or brand overview (business search) shows negative content, nearly 9 out of 10 people will have seen a negative slant before even speaking with you.
It goes without saying that these searches can shape perceptions in the mind of the user. A 2014 study indicated trust levels in search engines is at an all-time high. Hence the importance of not only monitoring but proactively building your brand’s reputation in search engines.
Don’t let it sound intimidating. Anyone can take these simple steps to build their brand. Here, you will learn about five awesome platforms to create to get you on your way.
And, as always, feel free to contact me if you need help with anything.
What is an ‘online brand’?
An online brand is commonly referred to as what is easily accessible, or findable, online when searching about a particular person, place, group, or company. In other words, what is easily found when searching for a brand on a search engine, such as Google.
The high-level information (found at the top of searches) typically has the most impact on the searcher’s perception of a brand. Thus, it is crucial for both businesses and individuals to build, monitor, and maintain their brand. The last thing you want is for a competitor, an angry customer, or ex to beat you to the punch. Proactive brand-building is the best defense against this.
This article will help provide insight on a variety of different websites (blogs, social media profiles, etc.) that will help your brand’s reputation flourish on Google.
Let’s jump into my top 5 favorite brand-building pages to optimize your brand and help you boast an impressive online reputation in no time.
LinkedIn is the #1 recommend profile to build for individuals and an excellent choice for businesses. The platform is very established on search engines like Google and will reward your profile with top Google rankings if optimized correctly.
For individuals, a profile can be created simply on www.linkedin.com. Once you verify your email, the most important part is to fill out your profile to the best of your ability. Ensure that your profile name is correct, you have a great-looking profile photo, that you add as much detail about your personal/professional life as possible, and connect with peers.
Within the profile, there is an option to add detailed descriptions of your background. Add a few paragraphs detailing each job you’ve worked, volunteering or philanthropic efforts, and your educational history. This will help create a more resourceful page for search engines and users.
For businesses, creating a profile is a bit more difficult. You first must create an individual account. Once that is created, visit this link to create your business’ profile. You will then land on a page which allows you to fill out company information. Adding essential details such as a company description, logos, specialties, URL, and location help legitimize your profile. The more details you can add, the better. From there, you have the option of sharing content and following other businesses – however, I wouldn’t recommend dedicating too much time to the sharing aspect. Filling out your company profile with correct details will do the job just as well.
LinkedIn is not only a great place to help your brand’s appearance, but to learn from experts in your industry and connect with like-minded individuals. Be sure to take advantage of these tools to maximize your brand exposure and capabilities.
Twitter is a stellar choice, and close to necessary, for brands of all shapes and sizes. The platform simply gets so much traffic and recognition that Google weighs it very heavily in search results. This presents a perfect opportunity for companies or individuals to ‘make a name for themselves’ on one of the most visited websites worldwide – while securing another Page 1 asset under their Google Search.
Individual and business profile creation is essentially the same. Profile names should be accurate, profile image and cover photos should be professional, and brand details must be filled out to max capacity. Once your profile is looking sharp, it’s time to engage.
Follow several dozen accounts that you find interest in. It’s strongly recommended that accounts you follow and engage align with your overall brand message to not confuse users. Follow maybe 50-100 accounts to start with, like a tweet or two from each, retweet a few posts, and you’ll begin to grow followers yourself.
What Google sees is the activity and engagement. Once you set your profile brand up for success, the rest is history – you just must keep the account relatively active. A good standard for basic branding is to spend 1 hour per week engaging and expanding your reach on the Twitter platform. Over time, Google will have no choice but to push your Twitter account onto Page 1. And, it won’t hurt to grow your personal and professional network on a top social platform, which more users are using as a search & brand tool.
If you have a website, brand, or product – you have to have a Facebook page. Not only do users expect you to have one, but search engines as well.
While Facebook’s overall authority has dipped a bit due to apps like Snapchat, Whatsapp, and Instagram, the SEO value behind Facebook still remains. The idea behind “liking” Facebook pages remains; an interconnected and engagement catalyst that Google simply loves.
Not only that, there is citation value behind your Facebook page. Google will trust your website more with an established Facebook page backing you up. Followers, posting, and engagement being more necessary for some than others. We’ll discuss that further in a later blog post.
First set up your profile by filling out all of the details, adding your business logo, website, phone number, address, and all other essentials. Another essential portion of this process is to claim your brand’s custom URL. Once you have your URL, you own your brand on Facebook, without the risk of being overshadowed. An example of my custom URL is www.facebook.com/hlkmarketing.
See further details on how to optimize your Facebook profile in a future blog post.
WordPress is already a platform that powers much of the internet. But what we’re referencing here is a free blog that you can create on wordpress.com.
Creating your own blog on a WordPress subdomain helps leverage the power behind the domain (wordpress.com) for your own brand. Your blog would be accessible at:
However, it is not as simple as other platforms to create a branded, well-optimized page. It’s different than a profile – where you would add only basic information. If you do choose to create a WordPress blog, here is a starter checklist for you:
[ ] Create a unique blog title (with your name or brand intertwined)
[ ] Create a unique logo
[ ] Add Contact Us and About Us pages
[ ] Create a theme or topic for your blog
[ ] Write 3 posts related to your theme
Over time, Google will see this and associate it with your brand.
Here are a few standout benefits for utilizing this blog set up for your brand.
- Flexibility – you are in complete control; content, comments, branding, and more. Google loves long-form content. Create several unique, high-quality blog posts on your WordPress blog will have Google interested.
- Organic visibility – built-in options such as tags can boost viewership and engagement without dedicated marketing efforts.
- Integration – connecting your WordPress blog to your Facebook and Twitter pages allow for automatic sharing of new posts.
All of these positive signals are read by search engines, and your blog and brand are rewarded. While Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn still dominate top slots in most branded searches, a well-optimized WordPress blog can beat them all.
Now, let’s get into the final, last-but-not-least profile, one that has been a hidden gem for my brand-building efforts.
Relatively unknown, Crunchbase.com is a dark horse in the profile branding race. It often beats out Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other major players like Glassdoor and Yelp. Over the years, it has established itself as a top-5 branding tool in HLK’s reputation management strategy.
A Crunchbase profile is best described as: A LinkedIn profile meets Social Media meets a News sharing hub. The sheer amount of detail you can add about any individual or business creates an incredibly powerful platform.
After setting up proper branding on your profile, find the ‘News’ section and add as many articles, blogs, presentations, and videos as possible (that are related). Stocking this with content creates more value and validation behind your brand.
Set up your page, sit back, relax, and watch it reach page 1 of Google in no time 🙂
Keep in mind that building your brand takes time, and Google takes its time ‘learning’ about these profiles before ranking them high, so remain patient in your brand-building quest. I’ve had brands take 6, 9, and even 12 months to show significant changes.
And finally, you have no time to waste – get out and start brand building! Or, contact me if you need some help!
Hayden Koch is a passionate digital marketer with expertise in SEO, ORM (Online Reputation Management), Social Media, and much more. He enjoys testing & building search engine strategies that outlast algorithm changes – but most importantly sharing those with you. Any questions you have related to rm, seo, brand building, or anything digital marketing, shoot it his way! Contact page is always open or conntect with him on LinkedIn.