Search engines are changing. SEO is not dead; it’s evolving with search. Google pushes updates out almost daily, and as the most advanced AI continues to learn and improve, the task of search engine optimization becomes more difficult. A few years ago, everyone could call themselves SEO experts, but those days are gone and with the changes comes the need to be better at marketing as a whole, which is not necessarily bad.
Search engines are forcing business owners and marketers to understand their target audiences at a deeper level than ever before, to answer tough questions that people want answered. If you can do that, your business will profit.
Thinking about the brand as a whole helps create a message that speaks to people in a more focused, and perhaps more human way.
What does it mean to think about brand as a whole?
What type of message and values do you want to be known for? Make this as clear as possible and find the best ways for your work to demonstrate this in a consistent way.
Consider the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness: a prospect looks for a product or service based on their needs/wants. What kinds of questions are they asking themselves, and can you provide the answers?
- Consideration: they do some research and discover your brand and competitors, considering all the possible choices. Do you stand out in significant and positive ways in the marketplace?
- Decision: they determine which choice best suits their needs and make the purchase. Did they choose you, and if not, what are your competitors doing better?
- Customer Loyalty: depending on your business, this could be the most important part. Have the resources and preparedness to offer your customers support, answer questions, and do whatever it takes to ensure their experience is superior to any of the others they could get in the market?
On that note, search engines are looking for positive signals about your brand from other people. This includes testimonials, comments, questions being answered, your content being shared by other businesses or individuals, etc.
On another note, because search engines like to see positive signals about your business, it’s fair to say they do not like to see negative signals. This can include a variety of things, but one which has not been proven yet, is negative brand mentions on the web. There have been instances where businesses had something negative happen that resulted in bad press, and coincidentally their rankings were affected negatively shortly thereafter. So if you’re getting bad reviews, take the time to follow up with those people and take care of their issues or misunderstandings (even better if this can be done online for others to see).
GOOGLE UPDATE: an app called Bulletin is in the works, for the purpose of publishing hyper-local news and community-focused content where it can be easily found, including on Google search results. This could be beneficial for uncovering events and stories that miss local press coverage. Learn more here