Within the industry we are all aware that Google regularly change their algorithm in order to stop people working it out and poor quality websites ranking highly within search engine results.
Over the last 18 months they have changed their algorithm so that now it favours brands. However, the change has seen many within the web design and search engine optimisation industry extremely confused. Many have been worried that small businesses are going to lose out to the larger multi-national businesses that are well known. This is not the case though as Google’s term “Brand” isn’t the traditional meaning of “brand”.
In order to be qualified as a Brand Google requires you to have a physical address. This means that you need to place an address and phone number on your contact us page and then have this verified by listing yourself onto Google Places.
The next item you need to address is the history of your site. Sites which have been around for sometime generating links and receiving a large volume of visitors are seen as an established business. If you have a new site then simple things such as registering your domain name for the year shows you are involved with this for the long haul.
You do not need us to tell you that relevant inbound links from authoritative sources are helpful. If your website is recommended by trusted sites then it shows yours to be trustworthy, useful to visitors and thus a reasonable, legitimate business.
As a business getting Google to favour you as a “Brand” means that there must be regular mentions in news sources. This can include relevant blogs, submissions, marketing campaigns and PR campaigns. It is cheap to put out online press releases and reach out to relevant bloggers ensuring that your name gets around. In line with this is to ensure that you get regular mentions and recommendations across social media platforms.
Businesses may well have customers who have online profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and LinkedIn as well as others. They use these to talk to their friends and share links, recommended products and services as well as discussing what they have bought and where from. Smartphones and other portable devices have made it even easier for people to access social media sites and thus to be noticed you need to have a business profile on these. The real key to success here is to engage with people and help them out; be friendly and never try and be something that you are not.
Another item which defines you as a Google “Brand” is having positive reviews on your website, Google Places or other websites. Customer service is important and people are likely to believe the comments from another customer over those of the business because they can relate.
One of the final features is the age old record of quality content; we have been through this time and time again! You need to ensure that your website has content implanted which is unique. In addition the content must be unique to the rest of your site as well as to the rest of the web.
Google wants to deliver websites which are delivering good experience to searches, are easy to use and informative. You therefore need a website which visitors want to be on and stay browsing around for some time, a website where a good experience is delivered to customers and where it feels almost like they are shopping in a brick and mortar shop.
If you manage to achieve this then you should start to see people recognising your website and Google starting to index more and more of your pages.