For those struggling to find business from organic search engine optimization (SEO) or for those who want to stay abreast of the most recent changes to Google’s algorithm.

Brand as it relates to SEM + Google

Does Google know your brand?

Recently Rae Hoffman-Dolan over at Sugarrae.com interviewed the best and brightest in SEO today. Through a series of interview questions she aims to get at the answer to the age old question: What is linkbuilding?

If you are new to internet marketing, I’ve pulled out the most important takeaways from these expert sources to help you get started and up and running on them for yourself.

These are the experts who were interviewed for the article in July 2011:

 

Let’s get started!

 1. What does “Brand” mean for Google?

The Google algorithm is so adept at keeping up with the changes of the web that it has started to pick up on brand “signals.” Brands have obviously been around a long time, but Google is giving them more weight because on the internet brands can be “searched for” instead of simply “found.” For example, if you were searching to buy a computer online you would most likely type “Dell” or “Apple” and not simply “computer.” This lets Google know that you are looked for as a brand which in turn gives your business weight and higher search results.

How Can You Stay On Top Of This Strategy?

Make sure your links are branded! Your links should have anchor text with your brand name when possible, your brand should match your domain name and your social media mentions should mention your brand. Google is starting to push brands to the top of the pages over non-brands, so that the obvious conclusion here is that Google rewards brand names.

Also, If you write articles for your site, your article marketing efforts should always mention your brand name, product and content should be based on your keywords AND brand name.

Building your brand will take “real-world” commitment. Building relationships and making connections with sites that matter to Google. If you’re focusing on local search engine results, your local newspaper is a great place to get a quality back link from. You need those inbound links (partnerships) with authority sites and if you focus on what your brand has to say and say it everywhere you go, the exposure and links will naturally follow.

 2. Social Media: Sharing Content as Link

Adding a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & +1 buttons to your site is a no-brainer. It allows visitors to share your content for you thus giving you an unlimited amount of links in these forums. Visitors can do part of the work for you in a Google friendly way. Google likes these links because they are user-generated which is important as the internet becomes more and more social.

 How Can You Stay On Top Of This Strategy?

If you haven’t done so already make your site shareable by implementing the buttons I mentioned above. Create a Facebook page for your business and keep it active by syndicating your blog content there. Post a link to your newest content on Twitter. Connect with authority sites in your vertical on Twitter, this is much easier to do than becoming an authority yourself, that takes more time.

Claim” your listings and “optimize” them on every major social site you can think of. Start with Google Places and Yelp. Do your research and keep tabs on comments and reviews about your business.

 3. Panda

I previously blogged about the Panda update to Google. By now you should be aware of it and focusing your efforts on high-quality content for your website. To get hit by the Panda updates means that you would have seen a decrease in pagerank in your site metrics. If you saw such a disaster occur and didn’t know why, well, Google changed its algorithm again and you need to stay up to date on what that means for your website.

 How Can You Stay On Top Of This Strategy?

If you were hit by the Panda update, don’t panic. Your site is still worthy of links. Be realistic. How bad are things really, can it be fixed? If you created a site with mostly rubbish content based around Adsense, it’s going to be a hard and possibly not worth the trouble. If you have a site with good content that just needs some editorial tweeks, then get to it. If your quality is lacking because you’re not the best writer, consider hiring a freelancer to write and produce fresh, quality stuff, I cannot stress this enough!

It makes sense to improve the design of your site as well if that’s needed. Once you get on top of this strategy you can go to town getting people to link to you. Just make sure you have what they will want and value first.

Part Two Coming Soon!