Optimizing your website for your brand name is simple and ensures your website show up in the #1 spot on Google if someone searches for your business name.
It is crucial for your website to rank #1 for your brand name because people tend to type or speak the name of the company into a search, rather than type out an exact URL (ie geekunicorn.com)
If you’re suddenly viral online, about to be featured at an event, or land a spot in the news, a potential client or customer may look you up online afterwards. You’ll want to be sure that you come up on top in a search.
Believe it or not, when I first launched Geek Unicorn, I did not skyrocket to the #1 position on Google when you typed in "Geek Unicorn". This is because a popular e-commerce store with the name "Geek" in their title ranked #1 for the "Unicorn" category in the store. It took me almost six months to get to that #1 spot for the search term "Geek Unicorn". But I finally did it, using these strategies below.
Before You Start: See if you already rank #1
If you are already #1, it doesn’t hurt to make improvements. But it’s good to see where you’re at. Head to Moz.com for their free Keyword Explorer Tool. Set your country and type in your brand name or a core product/service you offer. On the right side, click “SERP Analysis”. This shows the top results for Google.
When it comes to your brand name, it is ideal to dominate the first 4 to 10 links with: your website, social media profiles, positive news coverage of your business, product reviews, and directories or organizations you associate with.
If you are already #1, congratulations!! It doesn’t hurt to make improvements. You can follow the remaining steps.
If you’re not #1 for your brand name, definitely follow the remaining steps.
Step 1: Ensure your brand name is in your domain name (if possible)
An effective way to rank for any keyword is to include it in the URL. This can be overused so it’s important to take this advice with a grain of salt. If you want to rank on Google for “the best Toronto fashion blogger”, it’s tempting to make your URL “besttorontofashionblogger.com”… but Google has caught on to this trick and tries to combat against obvious misuse of optimizing domain names with keywords. That said, if your domain name matches your brand/business name, this is a credible use of keyword optimization and will work in favor for you.
If your brand name isn’t already in your domain name (ie. brandname.com), you might want to consider changing your domain name. You don’t need to redesign your site to change the domain name. Check with your service provider or web specialist to make sure the proper steps are put in place, including making sure that any links to your old domain will re-direct to the new one.
Change your domain name with caution. Changing the domain name of a well established website with consistent traffic will negatively impact SEO. But if you’re not already ranking or getting much search traffic, this will likely work in your favor. Consider consulting your Google Analytics (if you have it) to ensure you won’t be negatively impacting your existing SEO.
Step 2: Make your logo file name your brand name
You likely have a logo in your navigation bar that links to your home page. It’s a good idea to name the logo file with your brand name. For Example, if your brand name is “Red Flower Creative”, you would name your logo: “red-flower-creative-logo.png”. This allows your brand name to populate on almost every page of your website adding credibility to the fact that your website is about your brand name.
Step 3: Have your brand name in the copy of your home page
It seems like an obvious thing to say, but so many people forget to put their brand name on their website. It happens more often than you’d realize.
Search engines look for keywords in the body of copy to confirm that the page is about that word or phrase. In this case, the keyword is “brand name”.
Look for at least two places you can replace text with your brand name. Consider putting it in the first paragraph, and one other place in the copy. Don’t over do it. You want to make sure it sounds natural when read out loud. If you were speaking with someone, you wouldn’t keep dropping your brand name throughout the conversation. Two or three times is plenty depending on how much text you have on your home page.
If you have “we” or “our” in some of your copy, those are perfect to replace with “brand name”.
For example, “We’re the best photographers in the city” can be changed to “Brand Name has the best photographers in Toronto”.
Step 4: Add your brand name to your footer with microdata
You may be familiar with some basic HTML tags on the pages of your website. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text “Avatar” in a heading 1 format. But the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what “Avatar” means. It could refer to the movie Avatar, or it could refer to a type of profile picture which is called an avatar. This makes it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.
Schema.org provides a collection of vocabularies people can use to mark up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines including Google and Bing.
Adding your brand name to your footer and including microdata tells search engines that your brand name is the name of an organization.
If you don’t want to add your address to your footer, you can do the following:
Most people already have “Copyright Brand Name year” in their footer. Simply replace that by inserting this code below into your footer to add the microdata. Don’t forget to replace the words “Brand Name” with your actual brand name.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”> Copyright <span itemprop=”name”>Brand Name</span> year </div>
Step 5: Check that your microdata contains no errors
The rules around microdata seem to shift a lot. Google has a handy tool to let you check if you applied it correctly. Head to https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool and input your website URL. Fix any errors that are mentioned.
Step 6: Use brand boosters to tie your brand name with your website
Brand boosters are platforms online that confirm you're a real business or brand by allowing you to set your business name, address, contact info, website, industry, and let people leave reviews. These include Google Business Page, Facebook Page, LinkedIn business page, Yelp, BBB, etc. They help populate authenticity across the web to prove you're an active business people can search for. This also helps you dominate the top 5-10 results when someone does search for your business name online.
Step 7: Continue to build inbound links and brand mentions
Search engine optimization still relies on inbound links and brand mentions across the world wide web. Continue to build inbound links for yourself (ie a link to your website from another website) when your brand is mentioned.
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