Inbound marketing is a brand marketing strategy that focuses on having customers and potential customers find you. This post is the sixth in our series on how to become an inbound marketing hero. In the last post in this series, we talked about the importance of budgeting sufficient time and resources to keep your inbound marketing website up-to-date with content that your audience will find magnetic.
Once these resources are in place, it’s time to make sure your website is getting traffic; brand awareness can’t spread if your target audience isn’t able to find your site through search engines like Google and Bing. Because of this, it’s necessary to budget sufficient resources for an online marketing best practice called search engine optimization, or SEO. When SEO and branding work together, it’s a recipe for inbound marketing success.
SEO and Branding Work Together to Help Your Website Spread Brand Awareness
In a nutshell, SEO is the practice of writing and structuring your website content and links to your website so they contain the keywords that members of your target audience are typing into search engines. Doing this properly will help your website appear as close as possible to the first page of people’s search results. There are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page.
- On-page SEO is the process of writing content that strategically contains focus and supportive keywords in body copy, URLs and other places that the search engines read when deciding how to rank your page.
- Off-page SEO is the effort of getting other websites to link back to your website, with links that the search engines can index. The more quality indexed links you can get, the more your site will be credible in the eyes of the search engines.
Ultimately, you have the most control over your on-page SEO. And just like your audience, Google has things it likes to see (and things it doesn’t like to see) in how your content is written and presented. When your web content doesn’t meet the search engine’s checklist, it won’t be paired as well with people’s searches, and its rank will suffer.
For this reason, it’s crucial to keep at least a minimum viable level of SEO hygiene. Avoiding this would mean squandering the resources you have put into increasing your brand awareness through a brilliant content strategy and website. Remember, your website must be at least as searchable — if not more searchable — than that of your competition.
Tips to Use SEO and Branding to Up Your Brand Awareness
To keep the minimum viable SEO hygiene, it’s key to think about some basic on-page SEO best practices:
- Do you have the resources to invest in researching the keywords that your customers are likely searching for?
- Do you know where your keywords need to be placed? Body copy, URLs, titles, headings, navigation bars and other elements of your website all need to include your keywords. It’s up to you to understand how these components will target certain keywords and to what end.
- How will you keep a good balance between your brand personality — specifically in how it shines through in your web copy — and your copy’s keyword density? SEO and branding mustn’t be fighting with each other.
- Do you have the resources to stay up on the current best practices for keyword research? Keywords change over time. It’s up to you to make sure you aren’t using keywords that have become outdated.
- How is your site competing against others for the search engine’s attention on a given keyword? Are you aiming for keywords that are too popular for your content to dominate?
- Are you aware of how the pages on your site are targeting specific keywords? If two pages on your site are optimized for the same keyword, then they are officially competing for the search engine’s attention, and lowering the overall searchability of your site.
Good SEO Hygiene is an Ongoing Effort
Like raising brand awareness, good SEO is an ongoing effort. Because it takes time to assess the results of an SEO effort, and because not all your keyword efforts will place you on the first page of search engines, adjustments will be needed over time.
The Challenge: Balancing SEO and Branding
On-page SEO can be learned by your copywriting resource or tasked to an SEO expert. Ideally, on-page SEO duties can be split between the two to ensure all the bases are covered. But whatever the case, there will always be a tension between SEO and branding. It is key to balance the desire for copy that is driven purely by your brand personality, and the need to insert (or sometimes, the temptation to stuff) keywords onto a page. It is up to you to make sure a balance is achieved between the two poles to ensure success with your SEO and branding.
Want More Posts on Inbound Marketing?
This post is the sixth in the Inbound Marketing Series. Other posts include:
- Inbound Marketing Step 1: Is Your Brand Ready to Start Inbound Marketing?
- Inbound Marketing Step 2: Be Clear on Your Audience
- Inbound Marketing Step 3: Create a Content Strategy
- Inbound Marketing Step 4: Online Location and Social Media Channels
- Inbound Marketing Step 5: Budgeting Sufficient Resources