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SEO and Marketing

Building Authority Helps Build your Brand Building Authority Helps Build your Brand

Today, just having a bleeding edge website doesn't quite cut it when it comes to building your brand. Brands need to go beyond, by establishing themselves as an authority. It it this authority that consumers will gravitate to when making a decision to purchase your products/services.

Building your authority online has another goal which is more subtle. By building your authority you are proactively protecting yourself against attacks and managing your online reputation. This can protect you when your brand faces malicious online attempts to discredit you. By having your authority and its respected digital assets such as blogs and guest posts rise to the top, it will likely bury anything negative written about you to the second page of Google and beyond.

Following are some ways you can build your authority online:

Create a Blog with Amazing Content

Blogging for brands are great for 3 reasons.

1. The content within your blogs will help you rank well when those looking for you use search engines. Search engines, especially Google are always out there crawling the web for fresh content that is always being updated. Wordpress is highly recommended. Matt Cutts of Google says that “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of SEO”. This also empowers you without needing to be an SEO expert.

2. Blogs are prime digital content that can be shared widely on Social Networks. Posting pages of your brand's products with glossy photos will get you only so much attention. Sharing insights in your industry will most likely get your content lots of shares and will get you a lot of referral traffic.

3. Thirdly, but definitely not last is that blogs are perfect opportunities to provide industry insight instead of just touting your product. This can be done in quite a few forms:

- Infographics - Presentations - White Papers - Case Studies - Ebooks - Videos

Your amazing content will show the followers of your industry that you are a master of your domain and are therefore more likely to go to you for their needs.

Most brands fear blogging for two primary reasons:

- They feel they have nothing to blog about - They fear they'll be giving away their secrets

I will shoot down the above fears in the following paragraphs.

EVERYONE has something to blog about. It doesn't need to revolve around exactly what you do. You need to expand outside your tightly defined area. If you sell a product for single dads, then perhaps go outside a bit and write about spectator sports. Every single dad wants to enjoy a baseball game with their children from time to time. Or you can write about the best sporting goods makers or make a list of the best amusement parks. Widen your net and you'll be sure to grab a cross section of that defined audience. You want to be seen as an authority. Think BIG!

The second fear is more common among companies that do something technical like Search Engine Optimization. If they gave away their top SEO tips, they fear they'd be giving it all away. Nothing can be further from the truth. Companies I have seen that provide in depth technical knowledge might be helping themselves, as much of that stuff is not something a novice might be able to steal and apply themselves. Most of the readers do no have the time to even attempt starting implementing the knowledge you have just provided them. To do it right they will come to the conclusion that you are so authoritative on the field, that your company is the best to do it for them. Give as much valuable information as you can, and you'll see that readers start asking questions, commenting on your blog and sharing it.

Let people know the name of the person behind the content. You want to establish this person as an authority on the field.

Guest Blogging

A phenomenal way to extend your blog reach is by guest blogging. Contact some small blogs in your space to start to get a feel for it, and pass along some ideas for posts. The heart of the matter here is to find a blog you feel would interest your target audience, or a subset of.

The content you write for other blogs should be better than it is for your own. Use your successful guest posts as case studies as you pitch other blogs to write for. You want this content to be so awesome and you want it to generate traffic, interest and shares for the blog owner. Create an editorial calendar and write for these blogs often, and watch your authority rise and your online branding grow strong.

Infringement ghosts – how meta-tags steal your money? Infringement ghosts – how meta-tags steal your money?

What are Meta Tags?

Meta Tags are hidden content in websites HTML code. Website visitors cannot see those tags on the website. They have been key elements in website search engine optimization (SEO) for years.

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Google Mobile Results Changes: What it Means for Brands Google Mobile Results Changes: What it Means for Brands
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Maximizing your Marketing Budget: Fight Online Counterfeiting and Protect your Brand Maximizing your Marketing Budget: Fight Online Counterfeiting and Protect your Brand
In light of Alibaba's recent record-breaking IPO on Wall St., whatever you think of it, it points to a sign that ecommerce is exploding, with no end in sight. With this explosion comes another type of explosion. It is one you should be wary of, and while not trying to sound like an Alarmist, I highly suggest allocating a part of your marketing budget to fighting online counterfeiting. While this is just one of quite a few online threats, it is one that will steal from your bottom line, damage your reputation and more. Don't you think this is enough to consider implementing some type of Brand Protection Tool? As marketing budgets are planned and tweaked constantly over the year, it is paramount that part of that budget is dedicated to combating online threats to the brand you spent so much time and effort in building. In this post, I will address the online counterfeiting threat to your brand, specifically the threat that traffic diversion poses.

Protecting Your Brand

Chief Marketing Officers have a lot going on. They are constantly looking to create new strategies to drive demand, for product launches and  promotions. They gather requirements in their market, assess the market's competitive landscape while optimizing marketing initiatives and associated budgets. The protection of their brand online has brought a new aspect to traditional branding and marketing budget allocation. This fairly recent threat is at the core of the desire of scammers, cyber criminals, squatters and the like to steal traffic from your brand. These criminal actors have perfected the art of designing websites, search engine marketing and promotion on the web. They have created professional looking websites that even some of the most seasoned consumers might take as the real thing. Counterfeiting has moved from the crowded market hawker to a place that is global and where more people can be taken for a ride, at your expense. The global reach that the Internet provides and the anonymous aspect is just too attractive for these online scammers. Their phony sites are on the ready to serve the traffic you've spent so much time and money in creating. Your Brand's success, if not protected, can easily become their success and your downfall.  Not only is your bottom line affected, but also the threat to the reputation and the good name of your brand.

Traffic Theft

Diverting traffic, is at the core of the online abuse of your brand. Many of these scammers use the same online marketing tools that legitimate marketers do. Hijacking Online Search is at the core of their craft. There are two main ways they achieve this:
  • They utilize SEO (with many of your trademarked keywords) to boost search traffic to their bogus sites along with cybersquatting.
  • Search Engine Marketing has actually become easier rather than harder for counterfeiters, as a slew of the major search engines have minimized restrictions on the use of trademarked terms as well as keywords.
Traffic theft waters down the investments you made, cuts into your response and conversion rates. Basically, all you've worked so hard in building is actually being held hostage and being used against your brand.

Numbers don't Lie

Let's take a look at the numbers to put things in perspective. Across industries over $13B dollars annually is budgeted for search marketing. Experian HitWise has reported that 14% of branded searches are diverted to sites other than the brand owner's site. If you take a look at these factual numbers, you'll discover that just north of $1.8B of Industry-wide budgets for search is diverted.

Realizing ROI

In order for you to realize numbers and the ROI you will gain in implementing a protection tool just against online counterfeiting, just see how much of your traffic is being diverted. Assess how many conversions you have lost and leads that you would have seen had your traffic not been diverted, and you will soon see the numbers with regards to your lost revenue. Judging by industry-wide stress on increased marketing accountability and ROI, you will realize, hopefully sooner than later, that a sufficient part of your marketing budget should be allocated to combating the threat that online counterfeiting poses to your brand.
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Protect Your Brand by Knowing the Social Media Risks Protect Your Brand by Knowing the Social Media Risks

Brand marketers can realize a vast array of benefits for their brand by creating  an interaction with their target audience via social media. Those brands that are most successful in the area of social networking are the ones that are passionate and don't try to hide the fact that they are truly excited about what they have to offer. They also are great at going outside the company and inspiring the masses and building an army of brand ambassadors. This army outside the fray of the brand itself are the ones who do the most good for brands in the social media sphere. They can connect their large circle of family and friends to the brand.

However, with the benefits also come risks that can cause brands damage through social media connection with customers. The risks run the gamut and can include everything from unofficial fan pages to attacks on the brand with noone to defend it, because the legitimate brand rarely knows it is out there. There is no doubt that brand marketers face some very real challenges when taking their marketing online. The anonymity of the web combined with the lightning fast reach of social media changes the entire landscape and makes it even harder to regulate and monitor. If attacks are not dealt with in a swift manner, brands large and small can bleed customers faster than they gained them and it can cause pretty serious reputation damage. Because of this, brand protection techniques must be implemented.

How brands engage with their target audience has changed monumentally via social media.

One of the big problems with Social Media is that anyone can post pretty much anything, and unless it is monitored around the clock, brands can suffer. Below are some ways that brands can minimize the risks that Social Media can pose to their brand by using brand protection techniques.

  • Create a Social Media Policy While many of the larger brands have designed and implemented a policy, many of the smaller less-known brands have not. There are still many large brands that don't even have one. Guidelines as far as how employees should use Social Media on their own channels and the ones owned by the business such as Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts. This also extends to commenting on blogs as well as YouTube channels. Staff must also be adequately trained.

  • Monitor your Brand's Use There are a lot of brands out there. There are also lots of folks looking to do damage to it. Protect your brand by monitoring the web for pages that may have been set up without authorization, most probably by cyber criminals looking to cause your brand damage and cut into your bottom line. Online counterfeiters for example, may set up a page with photos of your product with a link to buy from their illegitimate sites, steal sales by diverting traffic, and ship it off to the buyer. When the buyer receives it, much of the time it looks counterfeit. This tarnishes your brand’s good name and harms it's reputation. Many people see the counterfeit product they received and associate it with your brand, even though it did not come from you.

Handle Customer Complaints with Care Administrators of a brand's social media outlets need to be extremely careful when dealing with content that is posted, and they need to be cautious when dealing with these anonymous users. Many brands utilize social media for customer service as far as reacting to questions and complaints. Brands can and have gotten themselves into hot water when they have deleted comments by users that did not reflect well. A lot of people see this as a cover up, and it can just snowball out of control. Don't forget. All this is out in the open. Getting into arguments with consumers can also have a negative effect. That is why your brand should have a policy. In any case, the best policy is to take a customer complaint offline.

What brand protection techniques do you use? What are the biggest challenges you've faced to protect your brand?

Protect Your Brand: The Threats in Affiliate Marketing Protect Your Brand: The Threats in Affiliate Marketing

On top of all the threats facing brands with the expansion of the New GTLD list, marketers must not take their eyes off the ball. Realize that in order to protect your brand, you must also monitor your affiliate marketing efforts.

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5 Branding Techniques for your Business Online 5 Branding Techniques for your Business Online
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Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) – a Must for Brands Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) – a Must for Brands
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