For the last 2 years, SEOs have been finding Google giving priority weight to brands, and edging out the little guys. In fact, at the BlueglassX conference going on this week, Greg Boser said, “Google’s organic search has become so localized that companies who don’t have brick & mortars struggle.”
About this time, internet marketers start to divide into two camps. Those who say:
1. Big brands are the ones who deserve to be on top! (These inevitably work for companies with an existing brand already built).
2. C’mon, give the little guy a chance! (SEOs representing smaller brands)
The dichotomy here is interesting, and it’s easy to put the conspiracy hat on and say that Google is giving preference to those who are more able to pay for their ads. Unfortunately, this isn’t a move that Google is going back on, so it’s time to learn how to build a brand.
Recently Wil Reynolds coined the term RCS (Real Company Stuff[edited for content]) when talking about how companies should attempt to brand themselves. Next time you catch yourself wondering what the next step is to move your SEO strategy forward, the answer should be, “Do real-company stuff!”
What Do Real Companies Do?
That’s a good question. Here are some overt things that big companies do, and you should start considering doing:
- Press releases
- Get relationship links
Real companies have milestones, celebrations, and relationships with the media. Press releases are your best way to start that process. For your first few, it may feel like you’re shouting into a dark room, and they cost money. Don’t give up – this should be one of the staples to your media strategy.
Real companies sponsor or co-sponsor events and teams. They have relationships with, and get mentioned by other brands. If you don’t have this, put some budget aside for it. Make sure that the sponsorship will be recorded online because it’s not going to pay dividends in online presence unless Google can find it.
Google has sworn for years that their paid results don’t influence their placements for search results, but now that’s seriously in question. Real companies engage in display advertising on various networks. Remember, if you put all your spend on AdWords, they know exactly how big you are.
Real companies have real fans and real engagement. Those fans tend to interact with the brand on Facebook & Twitter, and a bit on Google+. You’ll never convince Google you’re a brand with no social interaction.
Real companies have something to say. They employ subject matter experts, thought leaders, and they write interesting things that get mentioned, cited, and quoted. Content marketing isn’t only the new buzzword; it also works. Your blog is the center of that strategy, so assign posts or write them yourself – either way, you need blog content.
Surprise! Real companies have people who are interested in what they have to say. Start a newsletter and encourage people to sign up to receive it. Abide by the regulations in the Canned Spam Act and make it really easy to unsubscribe. These things protect your brand, so they’re what real brands do.
Real brands have real relationships with other companies both off and online. Those relationships manifest themselves in social chatter, links, and many other ways. Start making connections as your brand at networking functions instead of yourself. Manifest those relationships online.
Fake It ‘Till You Make It
And of course, while all this RCS benefits you on Google, remember that each carries its own benefit. When you act like a real company, doing real company stuff, it’s amazing how fast you’ll become a real company. Don’t shoot these tactics down because the ROI isn’t as high as other channels – becoming a real company isn’t an option anymore.
AJ Wilcox is the online marketing manager for Domo, a business intelligence software as a service company. He’s an avid runner and automotive fanatic. When he’s not reading about SEO, he’s probably hanging with his 2 kids, or working on his go-kart. He currently resides in Utah, and dreams of one day competing in a destruction derby.