Big brands usually have significant visibility online and a sizeable following offline, but any experienced SEO expert will tell you that optimizing a large business website is way more challenging than optimizing websites for lesser-known websites.
Why so? Well, because almost all small and medium business websites are designed to gang up against that one big brand, making the competition tough, uncensored, and sometimes dirty. Some small websites even use blackhat SEO and other shady tactics just to bring big brands down. And because the only way to successful SEO growth is to rise above all competition, it is very hard for big brands to develop an SEO strategy that shakes off the uncensored competition to bring in the needed conversions.
But it is not entirely impossible for big brands to build a unique and successful SEO strategy. It can be done. Here is how:
How to Build SEO Marketing Initiatives for Big Brands
Here are 5 areas upon which your SEO strategy should be built:
1. Grow your content to capture communities, not individuals
Your content should establish you as a subject matter expert, a leader in your industry. It should be high-quality, compelling, engaging, and well-written for the appropriate audience. Your focus should be to capture communities; steady traffic that will be coming to your website over and over again, not just isolated searchers. Among other content development strategies;
• Add to your static content images, maps, infographics, videos, and other engagement objects that are catchy enough to tell your brand story. At least include an engagement object for every 200 words on your blogs and remember to use the right keywords when naming the objects, and when you write their accompanying text.
• Only use keywords naturally. Keywords will get your website the needed ranking, but if they are overused or misused, you run the risk of diluting your brand’s value.
• Create & publish unique content consistently. Many marketers find it challenging to create engaging content on a regular basis, mostly due to financial constraints. Big brands must utilize that weakness to stay ahead of the competition.
• Use social media to grow your community. This means creating share-worthy content, adding visible share buttons on your site, linking the content to social media influencers, and encouraging people to share the content with their online communities. You can do that by holding social media contests where users with the most shares or comments are awarded.
2. Utilize on-page SEO more than off page SEO
Although you should not ignore the benefits of backlinking and off-page SEO, big brand websites ought to focus more on optimizing their own webpages rather than on getting backlinks. After all, your site is already an authority website, which means that most of the backlink opportunities you get are from your direct competitors. Only seek backlink authentication from educational, governmental, and research websites.
On-page SEO will help you maximize the off-page SEO benefits you get from the few backlinks you create. How do you utilize on-page SEO?
• Make sure that your website name and all Meta descriptions, Page Meta Keywords, Meta phrases, header tags, and anchor tags are optimized for your branded keywords.
• All keywords are bolded or italicized.
• Have a specific keyword density throughout the content of your site.
• Utilize XML sitemap, proper site-wide navigation, and transparency pages on your site.
3. Ensure that your page loads fast
This is an on-page SEO tactic, but it is weightier than the ones mentioned above, mainly because a small delay in page load time can cost you big time in conversions. 4 out of 10 searchers will bounce from your website if the site takes more than 4 seconds to load, and even for the 6 that hang on, 4 will not return to your site ever again. That is because many searchers consider slow websites to be untrustworthy, counterfeit, or both.
How do you improve your site’s load speed? By removing all non-essential elements, e.g. excess SEO/social plugins and widgets, compressing images, and choosing a responsive web design.
4. Build local SEO
Many big brands make the mistake of over-relying on brand recognition to bring in traffic, disregarding value propositions completely. A 2017 study showed that over a third of all search traffic for big brands is local which means that failure to optimize your website for local audiences might cost you a significant amount of traffic.
How do you optimize your big brand website for local search?
i) Optimize voice search
Increased smartphone adoption- plus the growing popularity of voice search- means that searchers will soon be speaking into devices more than they will be typing out their searches. Local searchers mostly use the traditional question starters when using voice search (who, why, what, where, when, and how). Ensure that your website optimizes these question starters for every webpage and, as much as possible, all H1 and H2 tags.
ii) Optimize your website for mobile
Not many local searchers have access to desktops, laptops, or tablets, so their primary connection to the internet is their smartphones. With smartphones comes apps and voice assistants. You already optimized your site for voice in (i) above; now invest in a quality, navigable app for your brand.
Why AMP is important for local SEO?
For two reasons:
a) It removes unwanted content that slows down mobile pages so that the pages load only the necessary components. The faster the page, the higher the visitors’ retention rate and, by extension, the higher the conversion rate.
b) Google and other search engines are now prioritizing websites that are optimized for mobile. Big brand web developers have a tendency of creating complex web designs, something that Google wants to discourage as a way of protecting its growing population of mobile searchers.
iii) Go for quality customer reviews
You will build more authority at the local level if your local customers give your products, services, and website positive reviews on social media. Google is also keen on using real reviews from real customers as an SEO ranking factor. Encourage your customers to give you 5-star reviews. In case they are dissatisfied, address their concerns promptly and satisfactorily. That will positively influence prospective customers’ purchase decision for your business.
iv) Treat each location individually
Big brands serve different locations, either nationally or internationally, and each location has its own demand and consumer behavior. Develop a unique strategy for optimizing your local presence by:
• Performing local keyword research
If you are a big fashion brand with customers distributed across the US, for example, the keywords you optimize in the West Coast region might not work in the East Coast. Do your research to find out which keywords to target for which audience, and then write unique content for each location. If you can base your content on local news stories, the more relevant your keywords will be to local audiences.
• Developing Meta data for each location
Create Meta Data for each location and include in it the unique keywords you discovered above. The Page Titles and Meta Descriptions in all your blogs/landing pages should also have the branded name of each target location.
• Assess the smaller local businesses that are giving you a run for your money.
How have they optimized their websites? Are there any loopholes in their SEO strategy that you can exploit? Use that data to develop a foolproof SEO strategy. Remember, at the local level, big brands aren’t your biggest competitors. Local businesses are!
5. Analyze your online data
Big brands have tons of data to deal with to the extent that they sometimes aren’t sure where their organic search comes from, or even which SEO tactics work and which ones doesn’t. That is why you must analyze your online data using the following tools:
i) Google Analytics to define content
This will tell you which webpages perform better across the basic metrics: page views, average engagement time, organic landings, and conversion rate per page. Depending on your target conversion rates, you will know which pages deserves to be optimized and for which region.
ii) Google Search Console data to query data
This will tell you how different subsets of your content are performing in SERPs, and the types of keywords you’re ranking for. It gives you a clearer idea of what your target audiences want so you can improve accordingly.
iii) Google Data Studio dashboard to audit data
This tells you how different campaigns are performing on a weekly basis, both offline and online campaigns, and how they impact your KPIs. When you compare this data with the ranking and search data you analyzed in (i) and (ii) above, you get a better idea on how to target your next campaign.
SEO changes quite rapidly, so you cannot be completely sure which SEO tactics will be working for your brand in coming months. That’s why your main focus should always be to stay on top of SEO- international, domestic, and local- in order to give your brand a solid foundation when new SEO features are introduced.