When you’re trying to get more visibility for your brand online, your content strategy can focus on choosing the right keywords. After all, your website and digital content should have the phrases your audience is looking for so they can find them. However, content marketing strategies that generate long-term results should look at more than just keyword rankings.
That’s because recent algorithm changes mean that search engines are also going beyond just keywords. While keyword rankings can help with search engine optimization and brand visibility, algorithms are increasingly focused on user experiences. As a result, attention to technical details, search intent, and audience feedback or input can make all the difference. When it’s time to increase your brand’s online authority, here are four things to consider.
1. Deliver unique and insightful content
Content gets people to notice your brand. But videos, blog posts, or articles that don’t add unique value or insight to your audiences won’t gain much traction. People crave information beyond general tips or data they’ve seen in other places. As a company and brand, there are likely to be insights you can provide that no one else can.
It’s best to view content as part of your company’s fingerprint. Content, whether it is part of a growth marketing strategy or post-purchase support (product manuals, how-to videos, etc.), should accomplish a number of things. It must fully meet your audience’s search intent or need for answers. But content should also serve as an original source and communicate your brand’s identity.
First-hand data and case studies are examples of content that can include unique industry knowledge. Perhaps your company regularly researches high-demand topics that you can reuse in shareable content. Or maybe your solutions have helped several customers innovate and achieve stretch goals. Materials that highlight how customers fared and the role your business played can generate credible backlinks and more organic traffic.
2. Be approachable and responsive
Today’s consumers do not limit their information searches to search engines or voice assistants. They use social media, contact forms and instant messages. People look at what companies post on social media sites and pages. But they also see how companies respond to requests and how much time they need to do so.
Consumers are increasingly using social media to communicate with brands. And companies that are slow to contact people or don’t respond at all can take the brunt. Companies that don’t respond to social media have a 15% higher churn rate than companies that follow suit. In addition, customers tend to spend 20% to 40% more with companies that respond to their requests on social media. It all comes back to the customer experience.
When leads or existing customers have bad experiences, they will look for alternatives and replacements that meet their expectations. Companies that continue to surprise people and make sure they have positive interactions are more likely to build loyal relationships. As social media expands or replaces the personal customer experience, being approachable and responsive contributes to brand image and credibility. Use your social platforms to build both.
3. Conduct website audits and updates
More than likely, your website is more than an online store. It includes blog posts, landing pages, press releases, and interactive features. Your website or one of its pages can be the first or only contact someone has with your business. Visitors will not be impressed if the site is not user-friendly or contains outdated and inaccurate data.
Technical issues, such as missing links and slow or unresponsive pages, make for bad experiences. So are sites that aren’t mobile-friendly or make it difficult for people to read content online. Pop-up after pop-up can feel intrusive to visitors, especially if they’re trying to browse or process written material. Confusing or difficult online payment processes and contact forms are other aspects that can damage credibility and conversion rates.
Regular website and content audits help identify and correct errors that deter people. Some companies conduct audits and make improvements internally, while others work with agencies. Either way, these audits often lead to design and content improvements that make websites more authoritative and easy to use. Businesses may be able to create an online presence faster than a physical one. However, a website requires maintenance just like a brick and mortar store.
4. Involving the public
Companies seeking to increase credibility and authority with the public cannot be the only source of truth. People are less likely to see what a brand says about themselves as 100% authentic or credible. Instead, they want to hear from others like themselves who have purchased the merchandise or interacted with a representative. These stories or testimonials can sometimes extend to sponsor partners and suppliers in B2B environments.
Publishing reviews and testimonials on your site engages your audience and makes your brand more authentic. But integrating user-generated content on your social and website pages can take that audience engagement one step further. User-generated content can include videos that show people using your company’s products or services in everyday situations. This content can also be part of an event or online contest with behind-the-scenes clips.
User-generated content like this often comes across as more authentic because it usually isn’t trying to sell anything. It shows that a company is more than just transactional relationships. Audience content can better represent a brand’s values and community engagement than a press release or landing page. And authenticity is something 90% of consumers consider when deciding which brands to do business with. Let those consumers tell part of your story.
Brand credibility is more than keywords
Creating online content with high-ranking keywords can make it easier for audiences to discover a brand. But that discovery doesn’t guarantee conversions or create engaging and positive experiences that build loyal relationships. To maintain those relationships, companies must view online content as a holistic interaction. In the long run, brands that deliver relevant, responsive, easy-to-use and authentic digital experiences can win the credibility game.