Brand awareness is a marketing concept that measures consumers' knowledge of a brand's existence. Online brand awareness can be influenced by many online mediums including:
- Online reviews (CNET, Techcrunch, etc.)
- Display advertisements
- Paid ads
- Organic search engine visibility (Google, Yahoo, Bing)
- The social sphere (Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, etc.)
Relevant external links from sites outside your domain are one of the most important factors in determining your relevancy in natural search engine results. This, coupled with a good on-page strategy, will lead your site to become more highly visible (potentially first page in the search engines).
How to Build Brand Awareness by Building Links
It just takes persistence and a little creativity. The results will come.
Here are some good general strategies for using your existing internal assets (social fans and PR outreach) to build links and brand awareness.
Research and determine your online audience and how you can engage with them through social portals. This can easily lead to your brand getting new inbound links, while engaging with your audience.
Engage With Your Existing Audience
Create surveys, quizzes, and contests that make your fan bases engage with your brand and link back to your site. You can build decent SEO visibility by simply creating a message and distributing it to your audience, then let them discuss and respond to it.
What is the value for this type of strategy? Google and Bing have confirmed they look for social signals in their organic algorithms to determine the relevancy of a web page. In turn, this means for you to increase your online visibility for your brand, you must engage in this type of social outreach.
Find Your Most Influential Fans and Leverage
Research and reach out to potential power users that are fans of your company on your Facebook fan page, company Twitter account, or other social assets.
Work with your web and content teams to create engaging interactive pieces (Flash oriented), infographics, or objective informational pieces. These pieces should be non-brand specific, but can relate directly to statistics or information related to the vertical you're in.
Reach Out to Your Power Social Users and Brand Loyalists
Ask them if they would be interested in sharing the piece with their friends/followers. Now your piece has the potential to gain brand awareness and social influence through social portals like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, and bloggers. This in turn will bring in fresh links to your site with a minimal risk.
Also, there is potential for new traffic and users to become fans of your brand.
It's definitely worth the time you spend on this kind of social outreach strategy. Campaigns with great content pieces and backed by powerful social influencers can do extremely well in getting you both increased brand awareness and increased link equity to your site.
This social infographic that Intuit (tax software company) created demonstrates this kind of success. A quick backlink check reveals that more than 124 links are pointing to this post.
Also, the piece received many votes from social influencers on Digg, StumbleUpon, and Twitter. All these sites are major social influencers online.
PR Outreach to Build Awareness and Links
As the famous author George Bernard Shaw once said, "The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished."
This leads into my next topic of discussion, knowing thy PR team. Work to build a good relationship with your PR team or client's team.
Communication with this team can be key to easy brand and SEO successes. Inquire about upcoming product releases, partner projects, or announcements. Look for opportunities where an upcoming product launch, press release, partner project, or a general company announcement can be leveraged to help the SEO strategy.
Also, make sure to educate your PR team on the importance of SEO teams and PR regularly collaborating with one another. Also, provide best practices for optimizing press releases and partner releases that correlate and are relevant to the SEO strategy.
When the release is published on partner sites, syndicated news sites, and blog sites, you could see a potential new influx of links. This can lead to easy wins for both teams.
Talk to PR about reaching out to partners that are sponsoring or part of a product page you have optimized and then have them link back to it. Utilizing existing resources can be a huge and easy way to show SEO value and successes. Aside from this, by educating and working with other teams such as PR, you now have created more allies for your cause.
One Example of How This Helps Your Brand Awareness and SEO
Take, for example, this Toyota press release, for a Sienna head lamp recall. Toyota received more than 10,000 links.
However, the piece doesn't have any anchor text links in the content of the piece to help support the SEO strategy. This would have been a great opportunity in this piece to link out to another internal Toyota page to help support other product lines or pages on the organic front.
Leveraging your PR teams and building good social strategies are a great ways for you to leverage brand to help you achieve your companies SEO goals.
By developing this form of brand awareness and link building you will be able to improve your company's SEO visibility. You'll also be able to consistently engage with your fans and grow your brand users and loyalists.
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