In today’s world, your fiercest competitor may be just a keyword search, digital ad, or smartphone scroll away. Consumers increasingly research products and services online, which means that making the most of search engine optimization practices is essential to your business. After all, if web users can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.
If you have ever worked in brand management, you know what a complex effort SEO can be. That complexity factor ratchets up when you add management of SEO for your personal brand to that of your company brand. While using your personal brand to promote your company can be very rewarding, it can also be somewhat confusing. The lines can quickly get blurred, so here are some SEO tips to help keep things in focus.
1. Understand What a Company Brand Is
The term “brand” is used to describe an intangible marketing concept that helps people recognize and identify a business or person. Key factors in establishing a brand include pricing, mission, values and target audience. Walmart, for example, is not addressing the same apparel shopper as Nordstrom is. Companies use branding as a way to differentiate themselves and gain a marketable edge over their competitors.
Say a group of attorneys establish a firm and want to market their services to automobile drivers in need of traffic lawyers. The first step is to create a brand that positions them as both trustworthy and experts in their field.
Rather than promising to provide all legal services to all people, the attorneys should tailor their website content to their industry niche. Their law firm SEO marketing strategy could involve creating authoritative blog posts that answer questions like “How can I get a traffic ticket dismissed?” Content with keywords like “DWI” and “speeding ticket” help the firm define its brand and show up in searches where their speciality is relevant.
2. Understand What a Personal Brand Is
Branding doesn’t just apply to companies anymore. Individuals use communication channels, including social media and blogs, to boost their personal brand. Doing so enables them to attract opportunities, whether that’s a better job, a coveted speaking gig, or a new client. From sharing insights on LinkedIn to tricking out their company bio, personal branding strategies let professionals tell the world who they are.
A robust personal brand can benefit both the individual and the organization they are associated with. Costco fans love a good bargain, for instance, but they’ll drive past a Sam’s Club to get one. That’s because the employee-friendly practices of Costco CEO Craig Jelinek resonate with their social values. A personal brand can humanize a company in a way that draws audience members in.
Ensuring a mutually beneficial symbiosis between company and personal branding is certainly possible, but it does require a thoughtful approach. Take the lawyers in that recently created traffic law firm. An attorney who’s concerned about the disproportionate impact of traffic offenses on communities of color, for example, might highlight the issue in their online profile. In personal blog posts, they could target keywords like “criminalization of poverty” and feature organizations working to address the issue. These efforts, while adjacent to the firm’s work, would be part of the attorney’s personal brand, not the company one.
3. Apply SEO Fundamentals to Both Company and Personal Branding Strategies
While company and personal brands are different concepts, the good news is you can apply the same SEO best practices to boost both. Google’s recent algorithm update is intended to improve the relevance of user searches by foregrounding content that prioritizes quality and search intent. This means that when crafting content in either context, it pays to keep the E-A-T framework in mind. E-A-T stands for “expertise,” “authoritativeness,” and “trustworthiness,” all of which characterize content that ranks high in search engines.
You can demonstrate expertise by creating a web of onsite content that provides the information your audience is searching for. One popular way to accomplish this is by using a hub-and-spoke model. The content hub is a long-form piece of content that discusses a topic central to a business or personal brand. The traffic law firm, for example, might craft a hub article about reckless driving.
Spokes are shorter pieces of content that link to the hub and answer related questions. These might include “What are the penalties for reckless driving?” or “What do the cops consider reckless driving?” The links between these pieces create a content web that helps to establish your authority on the subject. And getting trusted external sites to link to your online content will underscore your trustworthiness. When you achieve this SEO trifecta, search engines will take notice.
4. Know How and When to Use Your Personal Brand Equity to Support Your Company Brand
As the cult of Costco shows, personal branding can be used to boost the credibility of a company. Think of it like a testimonial. If a prospect trusts the individual, then they are likely to trust the company as well. This is important to both B2C and B2B businesses.
Building a solid personal brand takes time, effort, and intentionality. You can leverage all of that hard work and brand equity to boost your company with some simple SEO techniques.
First of all, keep it relevant. Even if you are heavily invested in the company, things that don’t directly have to do with the business do not belong on the corporate site. This includes links to your personal sites. A company’s online presence should really only include content with keywords that are part of their SEO strategy.
If you’re going to link personal and corporate digital spaces, it’s best to link only from your personal site to your company’s. This tactic gives your personal followers a way to connect with your company without adding content that doesn’t align with the company SEO strategy.
SEO for the Win
Whether you’re carrying out a personal or company SEO strategy, it all comes down to one basic idea across the board. You provide Google what it wants to see, and in return, you get more search traffic and visibility. There is a little piece victory in that for everyone.