What Matters Most? SEO Tips to Boost Your Online Rankings – Guest Post

The following guest post was written by Katrina Fernandez. Katrina is a hardworking individual who always gives her best. As a degree holder, she aspires to establish within the media industry. Expert in building online partnership, she's been working in digital marketing services, Local SEO Search Inc. for several years. 

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Search engine optimization (SEO) can often seem like a mysterious black box. After all, Google changes their algorithm hundreds of times a year, and they don’t share exactly what goes into their ranking system.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re helpless when it comes to using SEO to boost your online ranking. Making an effort to improve the areas we do know matter to Google can make a huge difference in your organic traffic, which brings in more leads and more revenue.

Focusing on what matters most is the best way to get the most return on your SEO investment. Here are the things you should do today.

Use Mobile-First Development

It’s no secret that Google loves content that looks great on smaller screens. In fact, after boosting mobile-friendly content in search results for a couple of years, Google moved all the way into mobile-first indexing.

This means that if you want to do well with your SEO, it’s in your best interest to focus on developing all of your webpages for a mobile screen first, and then add extra features for full-screen users. That saves you enormous amounts of time when it comes to troubleshooting your mobile rendering, and helps you avoid any Google penalties for being unfriendly to mobile.

What about webpages that already exist? The first thing to do is get out your cell phone and navigate your site. Make note of any problems – text that’s unreadable, overlapping elements, or pop-ups that obscure everything – and make sure your developers fix the problems right away.

Focus on Page Speed and Security

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Page speed and security matter a great deal to search engines, but they matter even more to your users. As a result, focusing on these two elements will give you a huge double win as you improve the experience of your visitors while also boosting your page rank.

53% of users will leave a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Google will also drop your ranking if your site is slow. To solve speed issues, make sure your hosting is appropriate to your traffic level. Optimize images, video, and other page elements to load more quickly. Finally, take advantage of caching so that repeat visitors have an even faster load time.

What about security? If you don’t have a security protocol for your website (your domain doesn’t start with HTTPS://) then you’re well behind the curve. Way back in 2014 Google warned that HTTPS security was a ranking factor, and today users may be blocked from accessing your website if you don’t have it.

It’s not just search engines that care about security. Showing that you protect visitor and customer information is important to the general public as well. You’ll gain trust from your users if you make your security policy front and center – which will boost your leads and revenue over time.

Maximize On-Page SEO

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A lot of search engine ranking factors seem to be outside your control. However, the structure of your website, the keywords you use, and where you place your key content is all an essential part of your on-page SEO – which you control.

Make sure your website has a logical structure and is easy to navigate. Carefully consider the keywords you want to focus on. Don’t overlook longer keywords and locally-focused terms – often these will have the most impact.

Most of all, make sure you are regularly creating new content that is relevant and helpful to your customers. Answer key questions relating to your product or industry. Provide useful information in the form of text or video. Build trust and help your visitors see you as an authority.

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. You can work with an experienced SEO consultant who can help you create and execute a high-quality strategy to boost your rankings through on-page SEO.

Manage Your Online Reputation

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, if you Google it! You want to make sure that when people search for your company name or industry, the information they find about you is accurate and mostly complimentary.

How do you do that? Step one is to claim your Google My Business page and make sure your information is fully filled out. From there, encourage your customers to leave reviews after each interaction. Hopefully, you’ll get a lot of positive feedback. This will not only help Google see that you’re a great company, but it will also encourage other potential customers to trust you as well.

With a great online reputation and a consistent presence across all platforms, you’ll make it easy for new customers to find you and realize that you’re the best provider for their needs.

SEO is Essential

SEO may not be your favourite topic, but in today’s digital world you can’t ignore the importance of your online stature. By following these tips you’ll be focusing on the most impactful SEO strategies, which will maximize the return you get for your efforts. Don’t wait – start today!

How to Start a Profitable Business on Amazon – Guest Post

The following is a guest post by Mark Armstrong. Mark started off as a business consultant for small SEO and web design companies. Eventually, his heart went towards e-commerce and all the awesome things that are happening in that niche. He has a plan on creating his own website but for now, he is focused on reaching out to people with a similar mindset and getting his name out there.

The reason why FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) is such a revolutionary program is due to the fact that it made online trade (and trade in general) simpler than it ever was before. In fact, this feature is on a rapid rise in popularity and this year alone there are 1,029,528 new sellers on the platform. In the past, there was a belief that the use of a third-party marketplace is a stepping stone or a temporary move but this is no longer the case. Amazon went above and beyond to allow its users to customize and improve their presence in order to persuade them to see this marketplace as a permanent solution. Nonetheless, getting there is much easier if you have a solid start. Here are some tips that could point you in the right direction.

1. Finding the right product

As soon as you pick the niche (which is somewhat subjective), you’ll be faced with the most important task of them all – picking the right product. Here, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution but there are some factors that could make your life a lot easier. For instance, an item that’s light in weight is easier to transport, whereas an average product sale price that’s between $10 and $50 tends to be the most profitable.

Also, when inspecting other products, you need to check the number of monthly searches of their top 3 keywords. Ideally, you would see over 100,000 searches per month. One last piece of advice that a lot of people tend to forget about is the question of whether it’s a seasonal product or something that generates revenue all year round. Remember, there’s no right or wrong here but the degree to which these fit your plans may vary.

One of the things that you won’t hear that often is the fact that China is probably the fastest-growing market on Amazon. In fact, its share is about 25 percent of the Amazon marketplace and there’s a growing number of sellers from this region (especially in Hong Kong). Therefore, finding an item that sells well in China might give you a boost.

2. A frugal start

The main reason why FBA is such a popular feature is due to the fact that it allows you to launch with as little as $2,000. This means that you can enter the business world without selling assets or getting in debt. In fact, you can use this program in order to amass an initial capital, regardless if you aim to make your own e-store later on or remain on Amazon for good. Still, just because your break-even point is close, this doesn’t mean that you can afford to underestimate or ignore it. Therefore, you should make all the necessary steps to cut your operational costs even further.

The first idea you need to consider is the notion of drop shipping, which allows you to trade in items without having to purchase them first or keep them in storage. Of course, this minimizes your profit per unit but it also insulates you from the risk of overinvesting in a product that people aren’t interested in. It also allows you to keep your logistics much simpler, due to the fact that you don’t actually have to handle the issue of storage yourself. One more thing you can do to minimize the cost is to find a local manufacturer and supplier. Here, the term local refers to the proximity to your customer, especially if you’re trading in a foreign market.

3. A good return policy

Perhaps the most important reason why you need your own e-store, other than avoiding the fee, is the fact that there are so many fake items on platforms like Amazon. This somewhat ruins the reputation of the platform and causes a general audience to be less trustworthy towards those using this business model. Needless to say, the only way to avoid this is with the help of a good return policy. Nowadays, this process can be automated and facilitated with the use of an Amazon refund tool.

What you need to consider is the fact that by offering a refund for your products you A) demonstrate that you are confident in their quality and B) have respect for your customers. This way, you’re also demonstrating that you’re more interested in maintaining a good relationship with your customers than making a one-time sale. Also, a person returning the product is usually not satisfied with it and offering them a full refund might, potentially, prevent them from leaving a negative review. In this way, a good return policy also becomes a method of damage control.

4. Work on your brand

In theory, all you have to do in order to start selling on Amazon is make a registered account, however, in order to maximize your profit, you need to do substantially more. First of all, you should host a website, potentially even a blog. Nonetheless, like Amazon, there are just platforms for the promotion of your business. What you also need are brand markings like a logo, a slogan, and a company name. You need to understand that buyers tend to judge products by the title of a listing. In order to maximize your appeal, you need to include a brand name, the name of the product and list a couple of features to the title.

5. The importance of images

The downside of selling items on Amazon (and of e-commerce, in general), lies in the fact that your audience can’t personally examine the product like they would if they were to visit a brick and mortar retail place. The closest you can get to make up for this is to take quality photographs, use adequate photography methods and upload them to the product page. The method is particularly important and it depends on the type of the product. For instance, a ghost mannequin is ideal for selling clothing items, while it’s an unavailable option for other product types.

Conclusion

In the end, you need to understand that the choice of staying on Amazon or switching to a platform of your own depends only on your preference and long-term plans. As for the profit and chances of advancement, there’s really no limitation. You see, over 70 percent of all U.S. consumers have a tendency of buying from Amazon and there are those who managed to profit from this idea. In fact, the simplicity of this process is something that could potentially allow a one-person startup to earn several thousand dollars per hour. Nevertheless, it will take quite a bit of time and effort until you reach this stage.

5 Ways to Tell Your Brand’s Stories on Social Media

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The following is a guest post by Al Gomez. Al is a digital marketing consultant. He is the President of Dlinkers, and he specializes in SEO, PPC, & web development since 2008. Al has over 10 years’ client digital marketing experience and has helped businesses such as Dr. Berg, Patexia, Panel Wall Art, the Ritz Carlton, and countless others use the web to drive online visibility and generate leads.

Storytelling on social media is all the rage nowadays…

As consumers and target audiences trust sales pitches and product descriptions less and less, there is a greater need for brands to up the ante when it comes to engagement. Technology has evolved so much that interacting with brands have never been easier. But horrible experiences also abound. (Need I mention what they are?)

There is a solution to this kind of predicament, and it comes in the form of storytelling.

Storytelling and Human Nature

We’ll discuss storytelling and psychology in just a minute…

But first, and foremost, let me ask this question.

As a child, how fond of storytelling were you? In any shape, method, or form, any child would have been fascinated with the stories that they heard (or read; or seen). And even as an adult, that love for hearing stories hasn’t diminished. Although it’s morphed into a different form, the affinity that we have for hearing an introduction, a climax, and a resolution hasn’t changed at all.

Now, let’s step back from the modern era for a bit…

Imagine how people of the old days lived their lives. Without technology, how did people entertain themselves?

They played games, listened to music, and yes, they told stories. Lots of them.

In the words of Psychology Today's Pamela B. Rutledge Ph.D., M.B.A., "Our brains still respond to content by looking for the story to make sense out of the experience. No matter what the technology, the meaning starts in the brain."

Why, you might ask? Simply put, stories are the perfect example of authentic human experiences.

Stories are so powerful because:

  • It is a form of communication. It's very primitive, and yet, it has transcended the generations.

  • Stories represent a larger self and universal truths.

  • They are all about connection and collaboration.

  • Stories are how people think. It's how we make sense of life, isn't it?

  • It's how, we, as humans are wired.

  • ●       They trigger our imagination by engaging the right brain.

Is it such a big wonder why a lot of brands take to storytelling on social media?

Storytelling Formats on Social Media

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Thanks to technology evolving above more than what we had hoped for, brands and marketers no longer have an excuse to create stories that are bland and unappealing…

There are so many methods to tell stories nowadays, that it’s just up to us to delve deeper and come up with creative methods to indulge our viewers and audiences in our storytelling.

Besides technology (ranging from smartphones to virtual reality headsets), the number of platforms to share these stories have also increased in number (from print to stories on search engines to ones on social media networks).

Telling your brand’s stories on social media can be done through:

  • Videos: It’s how people prefer to consume content nowadays.

  • Images: A nod to visual content once again.

  • Posts: Something motivational or inspirational. Even captions do excellent work and pack a punch when combined with visual content.

  • Podcasts: Audio appeal, and a good way for people to entertain themselves while doing other things.

How to Tell Your Brand’s Stories on Social Media

The formats and the method of distributing your compelling stories matter, of course. But none are as important as the message you wish to convey to your target audience. What do you want your target audience to know? How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do afterwards?

To evoke certain responses from your chosen audience, here are five methods to tell your brand’s stories on social media.

#1 Show real people

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In today's mode of storytelling, it's best to show real people working behind the company -- not just the brand logo or the company name (though that’s important too). From the first to the last link of the business.

Showing what goes on behind-the-scenes is no longer breakthrough news -- by any means. But showing what happens within the company walls, and how products are made -- or how services operate conveys more than authenticity. It fosters transparency and honesty.

Do you know how you can make it even better?

You can spice up your storytelling by letting members of team tell a story from their point-of-view. That's how you show different perspectives, and display your brand in a bright light, at the same time.

With full discretion, don't hesitate to show the big life-changing events happening in your company. From something as simple as an office renovation to events as grand as a product launch.

Tell your audience all about it!

#2 Uncover Your Origins

Another classic method of doing your storytelling -- or a good material you should use, is your company's complete background information. History isn't always the most interesting to a lot of people. But in this case, it's safe to say that it's an exception.

It's especially beneficial if your brand has been around a while, and it's been gradually gaining a lot of engagement. That's a perfect time to share company history with an audience who's interested in learning the company's beginnings.

Company histories are authenticity and encouragement rolled into one. It's you telling your audience that reaching your dreams is perfectly possible.

It's the business version of a Disney fairytale…

#3 Encourage User-generated Content

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Do you know what's more valuable and engaging than your own stories? Your audiences'.

User-generated content comes in three different forms:

  • Customer feedback: That's the most common type of user-generated content. It fosters engagement as your customers ask questions and get answers in return -- either from you or your other clients.

  • Reviews and ratings: These are more straightforward. And they come in either positive or negative. Numerous studies show that peer reviews go a very long way to up your business' credibility.

  • Pictures and screenshots: Pictures for B2C; screenshots for B2B. Image-proof goes a long way and is as powerful as the first two UGCs mentioned. It complements the other two, and adds another level of trust and transparency to the brand.

Encouraging and magnifying user-generated content tells a story all its own. And the best part? It's a story from your customers or clients that tells others how they feel about your business and your product; how they see it, and how they interpret the message that your business advocates.

#4 Highlight Your Corporate Social Responsibility or Advocacy

There's a thin line between tooting your own horn to look good, and sharing company resources with others while genuinely caring for the people and living things who need special assistance. When you're involved in doing social responsibilities, tell your audience about it.

Only do it, however, if you truly do care about a particular cause. Don't do it for the wrong reasons...

However, showing your target audience and the world that you have a stand on a particular issue shows everyone that you have values and advocacy that you uphold. Consequently, it’s a message that reflects in the products that you sell as well.

#5 Get Meme-ing

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There's an underdog among social media marketing methods. I won't ask people to hazard a guess, because I'll come right out and say it anyway...

Ladies and gents, we are living in an age of memes -- the most popular form of expression online and an integral part of pop culture. We'd be fools to ignore this marketing tactic any longer.

There's no long list of reasons for companies to start using memes. In fact, there's probably only two that will sum it up completely.

First, and foremost, memes fit seamlessly into social media platforms so well. They spread like a wildfire -- as a result. Second, humans these days are characterized with short attention spans. A meme's upfront nature makes it the perfect medium for quick consumption.

Memes are like inside jokes everybody wants to be in on. Why is it so popular among brands? The answer is simple; because they drive traffic and engage the target audiences simultaneously.

Make references to popular culture (The Avengers, ridiculous social issues, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, music stars, etc.) tastefully and tactfully, and you'll be surprised at how much people like it -- as long as its really funny and it's something everybody relates to, of course...

There's also inside memes. Jokes that revolve around your niche are a good way to catch your audience's attention.

Just Take It from Influencers

And when you go back to the root of it all, just take the time to learn from the experts of social media influencing and the basics of marketing…

A lot of mega influencers know how to play their marketing games, and how to engage the audience so flawlessly.

  • By 2019, there will approximately be 2.77 billion social media users worldwide.

  • 84% of consumers make purchases after reading about it (Scrunch).

  • 83% of consumers trust peer recommendations over branded advertising (Nielsen).

They’re not exactly influencers for nothing!

What kind of story do they tell, you ask?

They tell stories of their lives with every social media post. With every life update… In every vlog they do, they tell stories. In some cases, they even stir up drama. And what does the internet do? It consumes it and everybody participates.

I’m not saying you should start a brand scandal or drag an opposing brand to start drama to generate engagement and attention.

The main point I want to drive home is the importance of storytelling…

In Conclusion

Telling your brand's stories on social media is commonplace, and it's everywhere! Storytelling is that kind of entertainment format that hasn't diminished in quality (only increased). Moreover, it's transcended time, and will continued to do so in the generations to come.

A lot of brands nowadays understand that a lot, and everyone is called to constantly adapt. So what's the key?

For 2019 and beyond, storytelling on social networks is the thing. And doing it effectively comes with audience research, creativity, and clever strategizing.

Creative Ways to Increase Your Company’s Visibility - Guest Post

The following is a guest post from Ivan Serrano. Ivan is a journalist living comfortably in San Francisco, California. Ivan's niche is in social media, business and marketing. When he's not typing up another masterpiece, he'll likely be off practicing his photography or losing his voice yelling at the television whilst watching his favorite sports.

It’s not enough for your business to offer high-quality products or excellent services — people also have to know that your company exists. If you want to nab customers who might otherwise fall into the hands of your competitors, it’s essential that you find ways to stand out from the pack.

You’ll also have to make sure you’re making clever use of current technology such as social media and mobile apps. More than 40% of the total population rely on multiple devices to stay connected with individuals and brands that are important to them, so your marketing efforts will have to reflect the technology of the moment.

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Striking the right balance between consumer psychology and technical savvy can be difficult for even the most experienced marketers, so here are some strategies you can use to start off on the right foot. Use your own blend of the following tactics to ensure that your marketing efforts will be unique and allow you to establish a distinctive voice for your brand:

Blogging 101: How to Create Content that Doesn’t Suck

Everyone in the ecommerce space understands that blogging is important, but too many business owners treat it like a chore instead of an exciting opportunity to engage with potential customers. Remember: when you blog, you’re always communicating something about what your brand is — and who it’s for. That being the case, you need to avoid boring or pedantic content like the plague. After all, nobody wants to associate themselves with a voice that seems drony and dispassionate.

You should already have a pretty good idea of who your ideal customer is, so take that concept to the next level: imagine how they talk, what they’re interested in, and how their sense of humor works. Then use that information to inform the content you write for your blog. Should your posts be stylish and quietly sophisticated, or quirky, sassy and outrageous? Are they for customers who are serious about solving important problems in their industries, or for fun-loving individuals who count on your products to spice up their lives?

It’s also essential to make sure that you’re blogging for different stages of the buyer funnel. 47% of buyers report viewing between three and five separate pieces of content from a given brand prior to engaging with a sales representative. What does that mean? Simple: in addition to posts that raise awareness of your products and the problems they solve, make sure you’re publishing content that deepens a potential customer’s awareness of how you can solve their needs and eventually convinces them to make a purchase. Then go one better: make posts that offer troubleshooting advice for customers who have already bought your products, so they’ll be more likely to remain satisfied with them and recommend them to friends, family, or colleagues.

Create an Influencer Army

We’ve just covered the importance of word of mouth, so don’t rely on your blogging to drive the hype machine alone. 70% of all millennial consumers report being influenced by their peers when they decide whether or not to purchase a product, so look for bloggers who fit into your target audience and reach out to them. Offer them free samples, exposure on your blog (if it’s large enough), and other incentives to get them writing about what you offer. A single kind word from an ostensibly unaffiliated influencer can be worth boatloads of simple self-promotion.

Incentives Aren’t Just for Influencers

Influencers love receiving deals and freebies, but you know who loves those perks even more? Potential customers — especially those who might struggle to afford your products and services otherwise. Offering scholarship opportunities to students can be an excellent way to raise brand awareness amongst potential buyers in their late teens and twenties, but it can also earn you the respect and admiration of their families and help you secure loyal customers for life.

Crack the Viral Code

Human interest stories tend to be much more shareable than advertisements, so don’t just write stories about how wonderful your products and services are. Try to write at least a few pieces in the style of news items each time you’re about to release a new product or offer a new service, and include real-life details of how your work has helped customers in the past.

Here are a few tips you can use to lend more credibility to your voice when creating news-style content:

  • Avoid a first-person voice (i.e. “my company” or “our products”). Use third-person so that it sounds like someone from outside your company has taken an active interest in your work.

  • Keep your tone neutral — don’t explicitly hype up the work you do, just explain how it helped someone solve a problem they were having. Trust that your audience will be smart enough to make the connection.

  • Publish in sources that aren’t directly connected to your blog. Medium’s content guidelines make it a fairly easy place to publish, as long as your writing appears credible and neutral. Buzzfeed is also a viable option for content creators who have mastered the “listicle” format.

Once you’ve made high-value content, make sure it includes backlinks to your landing page so that the people who read it will have an easy, natural way to engage with your brand. Then make sure you share the piece on social media through targeted ads so that it reaches as many of its intended readers as possible.

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Final Thoughts: Do What the Other Company Can’t — or Won’t Do

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when trying to distinguish your business from the pack is to embrace what makes you different. Don’t try to mimic the tone of successful competitors in your writing; they’re already nailing that approach. Don’t design your packaging to look like the boxes used by the leading brand in your field; make something that doesn’t already exist. Creativity is all about knowing when to take risks, and there’s nothing riskier than being yourself. Crucially though, there’s also nothing more rewarding.

Why Brand Building Should Be the Foundation of Your SEO Strategy

The following is a guest post by Meaghan Yorke. Meaghan is a web designer who is quite passionate about writing. These days she is all about researching various IT related topics. When she is not working she enjoys dancing classical ballet.

Branding is more than a logo or an established slogan. It goes much deeper than that. 

A brand is a perception of your business through the eyes of the customer, the experience provided behind your product or service. It’s what makes your business reside in the hearts and minds of the consumers.

Branding and SEO work great in sync as they both paint the natural representation of your brand - no gimmicks. Users trust and rely on search engines to provide best, relevant and personalized results. Consumers trust and rely on brands to provide the best recommendations, personalized experiences, and trustworthy relationships.

Although SEO performance can be quantified, branding KPIs are a bit vaguer. But there’s an underlying connection between these two that drives organic growth. Not to argue which one is better. Let’s elaborate.

NAME RECOGNITION AND BRAND AWARENESS

What drives your click in Google SERPs for specific queries? How often have you clicked the first result? Organic link CTR isn’t as concentrated as previously stated by the people in the industry. Since 2011, the organic CTR in Google SERPs has been dropping for the first ranked result down the line for the rest. A more recent study suggests that top organic results drive up to 20% CTR while positions #2 to #5 range 9%-12% CTR. This isn’t a whole lot lower and it suggests that people who just started shopping around or are researching a topic they’re not familiar with, are going to click on a result they are more familiar with.

And this is the link between SEO and branding, your mantra and starting point - a familiar brand name will give you a greater chance of click-through even if you aren’t positioned as #1 in the SERPs. Well established brand presence is vital for your SEO strategy success - the greater the CTR on your result in SERPs, the better link, and rank positioning.

AUTHORITY BUILDING

Two words - Featured snippets.

The appearance of rich snippets has been increasing in SERPs over the past few years. Knowledge boxes, direct answer boxes, question and answer panels just to name a few.

GoogleMyBusiness should be your first business listing - it’s your doorway to branding in Google SERPs. For any branded keyword search query, GoogleMyBusiness listing will appear in the right side panel of the SERP along with additional data such are your social media profiles and shared posts on your Google+ page.

In order to compete for featured snippets in SERPs, your websites posts and pages need to have a valid HTML5 markup and structured data implemented in form of microdata or JSON-LD. This helps add context and structure to the content fields of your website and makes it easier for the web crawlers to understand the semantics and meaning behind it. This is something that top digital agencies with a technical SEO background should be able to implement seamlessly in your websites page and post templates.

Web crawlers ARE getting smarter in content interpretation though. Providing great user experience should always have priority over technical on-page search engine optimization. Content beats code, so focus on becoming an authoritative figure in your industry, market, and niche by creating topic-relevant content that brings value to the end user. It’s essential not only for better SEO performance but for building brand awareness as well.

LINK BUILDING

Link building is a cornerstone of any SEO strategy. Signals from backlinks make up to 23% of total confirmed Google ranking signals today. Your positioning in SERPs is directly proportional to the number and quality of backlinks acquired from websites across the web. In layman terms, link building can be seen as a sort of endorsement.

From the branding perspective, it’s way harder to build quality links and in volume without having a well-established brand. High-quality publications with established and knowledgeable communities are most likely to have a strong editorial team behind it. A good editorial practice is to always check the brand and the representative that reached out in its name for social profiles and their recent backlink portfolio. If a brand or its representative is shady or new, they will most likely be denied of any publication or simply ignored. So it becomes way harder for them to acquire a quality backlink on a topic relevant website.

And there’s the other side of a coin. If your brand is well established with a strong online presence, it will be much easier for you to acquire natural, organic backlinks across the web, without a direct outreach. Authoritative industry representatives that blog and publish across the web usually research their topics and back them up with sources from blogs, publications, research and whitepapers published on well-established websites. If you were to publish a piece on a blog that has a strong branded image and a community behind it, it will most likely be used as a reference in future publications. And if this was your website, you may certainly hope for it to be naturally referenced and linked back to from other topic relevant websites.

Let’s set up an experiment, here’s an example - we’re using non-personalized Google search to look for “microdata markup for web agency”. You can use this link. The official library any experienced technical SEO specialists would definitely visit is Schema.org, but it doesn’t contain any information about this markup, it’s non-existing.

So which of the results would you click on if you aren’t familiar with the topic? Which result would you refer to if someone asks you the question? Which one of them would you use as a reference in your publication? Let me guess, it isn’t the same result that answers all of the above.

BRANDED SEARCH QUERIES ARE EASY WIINS

This somewhat goes without saying but people are more likely to find what they’re after if they know what they’re looking for. If a user googles your brand name, they are most likely looking for you and what you have to offer. These users are already familiar with your brand and what it has to offer so the probability of click-through and conversion is greater. Branded keywords prune the competition.

By syncing your branding strategy with SEO engagement, you are getting on a right path to growing brand recognition. In time, you will be able to drive brand searches with more conversion value than of those search queries made by users who are just starting to shop around.

THE KEY TAKEAWAY

When starting out, without any previous online presence, you can focus your marketing efforts on SEO performance. Techniques like link building will get your website noticed by search engines, and if done properly, will start ranking in SERPs.

However, focusing on branding from the early stages is a much smarter move. Branding strategies help you build name, reputation, and authority. It opens a path to establishing a strong online presence. And it definitely improves your chances of acquiring natural links and brand mentions.

Either way, the crawlers will crawl. The user experience is what will always prevail.