How would you describe SEO as a concept? Some might call SEO a necessary evil, describing a constant uphill battle against updates and algorithms. Others might say SEO is obsolete, citing Google’s shift to Natural Language Processing and hatred of over-optimized websites.
SEO should, however, be seen as a vital brand-building resource – if not the ultimate resource – thanks in no small part to the ever-growing possibilities for reaching new audiences. Yet despite them all, SEO still gives you control over your brand’s online presence.
That’s why you should be excited about Google’s Core Web Vitals update for page experience signals, not afraid or irritated.
60 percent of people say they discovered their favorite brand while doing something other than shopping online, like scrolling search results or watching videos. Use strategic SEO for brand recognition across multiple touchpoints, build loyalty by meeting content expectations, and you might just become someone’s new favorite brand.
1. Google loves top of funnel content
Google’s job is to answer questions and queries. Other than a few exceptions (many of which contain branded terms), most search queries are informational. These users want search results with general answers and ideas – perfect for top-of-funnel content.
Choose long-tail keywords highly relevant to your brand’s expertise and create comprehensive long-form content around each one. Include semantic keywords and questions as subheadings. Add some branded graphics, and you’re ready to start brand building with SEO.
Start from scratch. Audit your current ranking pages to make sure they fall under your expertise and supply comprehensive answers.
2. Almost any page can rank in Top Stories after Google’s May update
We shouldn’t be overly confident about how Google’s May Core Web Vitals update (or any update) will affect overall rankings and SEO. However, we do know that Google plans to make non-AMP pages eligible for rankings in Top Stories.
Those are the results in a snippet pulled from Google News when someone runs a general Google search on a newsworthy topic. Just submit your website to Google News, optimize your digital experience, and enjoy instant brand building for relevant Top Stories.
3. Low-competition image searches play well with branding
Publish and optimize high-quality branded images now, and your SEO will be prepared to evolve with Google’s long-term plan. AI-powered visual searches are improving across other apps every day, so we should expect major shifts here from Google soon too.
Plus, Google pulls relevant images for certain types of snippets. Optimize all your images to squeeze the most potential from SEO as a brand-building tool.
4. People trust organic results – not paid ads
An estimated 27 percent of people use adblockers, and another 70 to 80 percent actively ignore paid search results instead of going straight for organic results. People don’t trust ads because they know anyone can pay to put them there.
From that standpoint, what looks better for branding: paying to show up at the top of the results or organically ranking for the same keyword? That’s why you see leading brands prioritize organic SEO even though they have the budget for PPC ads.
5. Google’s Core Web Vitals update could level the field
Google gave websites and marketers a six-month warning to prepare for the Core Web Vitals update. Plus, Google also revealed surprisingly detailed factors it will use to rank websites for digital experience along with a new real-time report in Search Console.
This transparency is highly out of character for Google, so we should all take it seriously. Websites that fall short could vanish, providing some room for websites with awesome digital experiences to solidify their branding.
6. SEO lets you build authority within relevant keyword groups
How does Google decide what to rank? Honestly, we shouldn’t dwell on the details so much except for this one key point: Google EAT aka. Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
By publishing authoritative and trustworthy content consistently for topics within your expertise (and only within your expertise), you’ll get Google’s attention.
Once you prove your expertise and trustworthiness through content engagement, Google could elevate your brand to an authority across whole keyword groups. That’s how brands dominate the organic search results in their industry – and it all starts by sticking to your main expertise.
7. Become a household name with SEO for voice search
25 percent of US adults now own a smart speaker. That doesn’t sound promising for voice search branding until you consider smartphone voice commands which 54 percent of US adults have used and 25 percent do so daily.
Increase your brand’s chances of becoming a household name by using popular questions in your expertise as subheadings and supplying a straightforward answer just below.
Write naturally and start optimizing your top-ranking expert content for voice search first – remember, EAT.
8. Expanded search results snippets are underway
All the best practices mentioned above for voice search SEO and branding potential also apply to Google snippets – more of which are in the works. Google says a post-Core Web Vitals world may include more image previews, text snippets, and even visual indicators next to each page in SERPs.
The idea is to include more context for each search result so users can decide what’s worth clicking. In other words, more branding opportunities to stand out.
Related: The Basics of Branding
9. Video searches use SEO and snippets too
85 percent of people with internet connections watch online video at least weekly. On YouTube alone, people consume over a billion hours each day. Video isn’t going anywhere, so we should respect what it can do for branding.
Look at Google. Google owns YouTube but still offers diverse video results from multiple streaming websites. Within YouTube, you can optimize your copy for relevant keywords. Video is the future (and present) for SEO and branding.
10. SEO and branding encourage integrity in everything you publish
When you start looking at SEO as a vital brand-building tool, it gets much harder to publish mediocre content “to have something up.” You have a deeper respect for your brand’s potential impact, and integrity suddenly rises to top priority in all content, creating a positive cycle for SEO and branding.