Before you drive into how to improve your online presence, you should conduct an audit of your brand. If you’re not sure how, we covered this in the previous article. Now, that you understand why online brand visibility is important and how to audit your online presence, here are a few strategies and ways to improve them.
- Online business listings
Online listings are basically digitized yellow pages. Popular listings are such as Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. When searching for your brand name online, Google My Business will display your Business Profile, list you on Google Maps and Local Pack Listings, and also display your Google Reviews (view examples below). All these displays take up huge real estate on the front page of Google. The reason for this is so users get the most relevant and useful information as fast as possible.
Take for example if I were looking for the restaurant Soleil and typed “Soleil”, the first thing I notice is the Business Profile that shows the location, opening hours, contact information, menu, map, and reviews. Just in one search, I have all the information I need to make my decision to go or not to go to Soleil. Apart from Google’s and Bing’s listing services, you should strategically scout other useful listing platforms. For example, if you’re a restaurant or hotel you would consider getting listed on food review sites.
- Social Media
Using the same metaphor earlier, if listing your business online is similar to being listed on the yellow pages, then social media is your visibility within your social circle, such as showing up to gatherings and participating in a conversation. Just as it is important for you as an individual to socialize, your business requires socializing too. Being active in social media will increase the likelihood of increasing your reach (how many people see your activity). The more people see you, the more visible you are.
Social media is also an important space for people to talk about your brand and growing your online presence. Being discussed on social media is called “Social Mentions”. These are the number of times people type out your brand. Monitoring your social mentions is a great way to know your relevance and reputation.
- SEO and Content
If your brand isn’t well known, it is unlikely that customers will search for your brand. This is where SEO and content will boost your brand visibility and this is exactly why SEO and content are very valuable online. Let’s go through the purchasing process. A person is looking to buy a shoe. They have a budget and style in mind. They look up their favorite brands and fail to find the product they’re looking for. So now they search “black heels for women” and the search results show shopping links and images for black heels. Now the customer is not limited to purchase from brands or shops they knew. New purchasing opportunities have been discovered through a simple search.
So what can we take away from this example? If you sell shoes and have not optimized your product or page with strategic keywords (in this case, “black heels for women”), your product will not be seen, hence, no visibility. To resolve this, you should have an SEO strategy based on strong keywords. If you’re not sure about what keywords to use, you may use free tools such as Ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner to discover the right keyword for your strategy.
Having reviews on your business is a great way to gain buyer confidence, but it is also a strategy to be seen. Going back to our earlier point of listings, you should also prioritize platforms that have review systems. When people search for a product or an activity, they’re likely to sort their preferences by reviews. If your business has high reviews, it will be listed on the top. Therefore, your strategy should not only focus on getting your business listed for reviews, but your strategy should also include getting satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
- Inbound links.
Inbound links or backlinks are links outside of your website linking to your website. This is a popular strategy to increase traffic to your website. Google ranks websites by authority. You can imagine it like a reputation. When a website with low authority links to a website with higher authority, the website with higher authority does not gain much authority. However, when a website with high authority backlinks to a lower authority site, the lower authority website gains authority significantly. Authority is a strong factor to appear on the first page or even the first result from a search engine. Being the first result of a search is very significant in increasing your brand visibility.