10 Ways to Build Brand Signals for SEO

“Brand signals” show Google that you are a real brand and not a fly-by-night operation.

Think of these “brand signals” as your base. Your base should be established before you jump into link acquisition.

Let me show you what to do.

How to Use Brand Signals (for SEO)

Before I explain what types of activities you should be participating in, you first need to understand how to use these signals. Building strong brand signals is the first part of our ranking process because it builds a strong layer of trust around the target site.

Brand Signal #1: Secure Your Brand

Securing your brand name across all the top tier social platforms is the first step. We focus on securing the brand name on the most highly-trafficked sites according to Alexa.

Those include: Google +, YouTube, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, WordPress, Vimeo, Slideshare, LiveJournal, Quora, Weebly, and Issuu.

Brand Signal #2: Secure Second Tier Properties

The 16 social platforms I listed above are the most popular, but there are also some second tier accounts you need to secure. Since this can be super tedious, I highly recommend using a service like Lock My Brand or KnowEm to secure these additional properties.

If you’re on a tight budget, then download the excel file below to see over 300 sites where you can secure your brand.

I created filters so that you can sort the sites based on Domain Authority (DA), Trust Flow, or Topical Relevancy according to Majestic. I highly recommend you sort by Topical Relevancy and make all platforms that are relevant to your money site the priority. Securing your site on irrelevant platforms is unnecessary and can even be a waste of time. For example, if you have a dog training website, there’s no reason for your brand to be on a music website.

Brand Signal #3: Niche Profiles

In addition to your first and second tier properties, you’ll also want to go out and find niche relevant platforms. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, then you should sign up for Trulia and if you’re a lawyer, you should sign up for Avvo.

A simple search function like “keyword + sign up” can usually give you some relevant platforms.

Brand Signal #4: Account Population

So as you can imagine, securing your properties isn’t enough. You have to actually populate them and increase the activity level. I recommend starting with the most important profiles on the first tier and then moving onto the relevant profiles after.

At the bare minimum you should:

  • Write a keyword-rich description
  • Insert your link (branded anchor)
  • Share blog posts or important pages on your site
  • Inject your address if you’re a local business

* Important note: If you’re a local business, your brand name needs to be consistent across all social accounts. Having accurate NAP-W information on your social accounts AND business listings can give you a huge boost in the local results.

Brand Signal #5: Social Link Wheel

The easiest way to flow massive brand juice is through your social accounts. Nothing tricky, just link out to your other social accounts. Don’t go crazy and link to 30 of your social accounts, but linking to 3-5 is usually pretty good. When I do it, I just vary up what profiles I’m linking to on each property.

Over time, this small strategy will increase the Page Authority (PA) of your social accounts.

Don’t forget… these are YOUR brand’s social accounts. You can do whatever the heck you want to do. It’s not against any guidelines for you to promote your own brand on your own platform.

Just avoid using keyword rich anchor text and you’ll be good to go.

Brand Signal #6: Internal Authority

All of the social platforms you signed up for have one thing in common: a ton of authority. One of the quickest ways to build the authority of any social profile is to leverage the internal authority.

Don’t over-complicate this. All you have to do is increase your activity on the social platform.

Since most of these websites use the “Follow” attribute on internal links, all you need to do is increase the amount of internal pages linking back to your profile.

More internal links = more profile authority

Let’s say I want to increase the authority of my LinkedIn profile, which I know has links going back to my site and other social accounts.

Here’s what I would do / have already done:

  • Populate my account with relevant information
  • Create a business page
  • Join relevant groups
  • Write articles on the pulse
  • Participate in groups

All of these activities will send more internal links and authority to your profile page. Here is the result:
Nathan Gotch LinkedIn

One of the quickest ways to see if a website is flowing internal authority (Follow links) is to use the “Highlight Links” option from Moz’s toolbar. You can see an example of this tool in action above. Green means Follow.

Brand Signal #7: Branded Content

Some of the branded accounts you created will actually allow you to publish articles and you should. I’ve explained the modern day link wheel before, but as a refresher, it is the process of creating high-value content on your branded properties. Within each new piece of branded content, you should link to previous articles or resources you’ve published. The point of doing this is to send authority to each of your branded profiles, which will obviously send trust and authority to your money site.

Here’s an example of a modern day link wheel I created for Gotch SEO:

As you can see, these articles link to other resources I’ve published, as well as my actual website. Also notice that I don’t use any exact match anchor text going to my website. I highly recommend you don’t use keyword-rich anchors in content that is published under your brand. You don’t want your business to be associated with link manipulation.

Lastly, the resources I’ve published aren’t garbage. I actually took the time to write a valuable resource because it is representing my brand. You should do the same!

One important thing you need to know about the modern day link wheel is that you’re publishing on sites that have massive authority. That means that it doesn’t take a ton of links to increase the Page Authority (PA) of your resources. If you run the three example resources I gave you above through Open Site Explorer, you’ll see that each has a PA of at least 29. The only links these resources have are from internal sources and other resources I’ve published on different sites.

You don’t need to go crazy and blast GSA at these properties. It only takes a few links to increase PA.

Brand Signal #8: Business Citations

Every online business is operating out of SOMEWHERE. You should really consider using business citations because they are a great way to A) dilute your link profile and B) build some serious brand signals. Most business listing websites give you a naked link or branded anchor with the option of linking out to your social profile. Use this opportunity to increase the authority of your social accounts even further.

Brand Signal #9: PDFs and Powerpoints

Create high value PDFs and Powerpoints and distribute them across across authoritative sites like Scribd and Slideshare. Make sure you take the time to develop your profiles on these sites. Most give you the chance to link out to other social accounts, so make sure you do. Keep that social link wheel strong.

Brand Signal #10: Infographics & Videos

Creating infographics and videos is a more time intensive or costly process if you’re outsourcing it, but it’s definitely worth it. Distributing your infographics across the directories and potentially on relevant websites is great brand promotion activity. If you have the resources, you should also consider developing a YouTube channel because this is a huge trust signal for your brand. You know… since Google owns it.

The End

At this point, you probably see that creating strong brand signals has a lot to do with creating content assets. Always be looking for opportunities to promote both your on-site and off-site assets. Keep them handy and always try to build their authority. The effort you put into creating brand signals builds a layer of safety and trust around your business. There is obviously no limit to how much content you can produce, but always focus on quality over quantity. Rome wasn’t built in one day.

Have a question or two? Drop me a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

– Gotch

Nathan Gotch
Nathan Gotch

Helping over 700 marketers get real SEO results at Gotch SEO Academy.


  1. I reviewed some of your social profiles to try to see if you implement the above suggested but I couldn’t get a good sense of it, Social Link Wheel – any more guidance would be helpful.

  2. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own website now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a good example of it.

  3. Thanks for the comment Minh!

    It’s best for the articles to be unique and independent

  4. Hi Nathan,
    In your example of social link wheel: say an article published on Medium.

    a) is it ok that it is the same article posted on your blog on your site?
    b) when linking out from the medium article, should we be linking out to our other articles on Medium, other articles on other social sites (ie Blogger.com), other articles on our website blog – or all three?

    Thanks in advance!

  5. Hey Gotch, For the past few months I was trying to build a brand name and I couldn’t find any more valuable or informative post than your’s. I have to admit that you are one of the best seo blogs I have read so far. However, I wasn’t able to get enough traffic. Can you help me in getting it?

  6. Hey Nathan!
    Thanks for uploading this article on your blog it is very much informative to me. Plz keep uploading these kinds of articles for us.
    You proved that you are a strong web blogger and SEO expert good job(y).

  7. Gotch very well written particularly about the anchor text percentage and branding overall. We should implement on this to make a wonderful brand on which people can trust. Thanks 🙂

  8. Hi sir! I have used these methods now-a-days and I think that these all methods are not working at my end maybe I’m doing it properly, but there is something wrong with it that’s why I’m not getting the expected result that I was getting in last couple of years and have u any new strategy on this topic ?

  9. Hey Jim,

    Yes, Lock My Brand is a good service. That’s up to you. I do occasionally, but only for indexing

  10. Hey Nathan, a few questions!

    You outsource the majority of securing your brand to lock my brand, right? How many “profiles” do you recommend? 100? 300?

    Do you ever send tier two links to any of these properties, or only rely on internal links and the social wheel to boost them?

    Thanks for your time sir!

  11. Thanks for the comment.

    1. A link from a web 2.0 is a link from a web 2.0. The differences in strength depend on the web 2.0s link profile

    2. I prefer linking to content assets (inner pages)

  12. Hi Gotch,

    valuable Information as always.

    Do you think/Know if Google sees a difference between a web2.0 that is linking from a Business-Branded-Property or from a random Blogger? Is there Any difference in value of backlink?

    And 2nd question: Do you always build Most Backlinks out to Domain-Root or may Inner-Pages/Money-Sites have sometimes more links than Root-Domain for you?

  13. Hi! Nathan my friend refer me to this page to increasing of DA and PA for the website as my DA, PA is very low and now i am started following you after reading this article Thanks keep sharing such a nice Articles.

  14. hi Nathan,

    very good post, and we are doing it pretty the same way for our clients, too. This really helps to improve important ranking factors like PA/DA & builds a brand.

    Just a quick question:

    how many posts are you doing on average a month on those properties?

    Thank you!

  15. thanks sir for sharing such an amazing information about the brand improving and I was getting around 30k traffic per day on my website, but my DA and PA was so low, then my friend referred me to this page and told that you should read this article if you want to improve your brand power means da and PA, Now I’m getting good response by following this article thanks again sir 🙂 🙂

  16. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the comment.

    1) You think its wise to have different titles and description is it worth the effort?
    – The title should describe what you do. It can be the same

    2) Among the links only blogspot is indexed its been 3 days should i submit url to google or just wait for it to be indexed naturally?
    – read this article: https://www.gotchseo.com/how-to-get-backlinks-indexed/

    3) Whats the safest strategy to build links for those properties? im thinking of social bookmarks and social signals.
    – I personally wouldn’t aggressive with tier two links for branded properties. That’s not really their purpose. You should cross-link your branded properties, but that’s about it

  17. Hi nathan,

    1st of all i really like this article it helped me a lot, its such a shame that some SEO doesnt want to share anyway i have few questions i hope you dont mind.

    My site is purebizniz.co and the business name is Pure Bizniz and im targeting hong kong and i offer loan consultation

    I built 10 web 2.0’s tumblr, soup, wordpress, joomla, wix, weeblr, webs and so on and i build them with different title but all of them have a prefix of my business name also the domain names are derived from my sitename as some are not available. So heres the scenario.

    Example on wordpress:
    My domain is = http://hkpurebiznizco.wordpress.com
    and the Title is = “Pure Bizniz – Hong Kong Loan Consultant”

    jsut to give you an idea what i was trying to say of different title heres my 2nd site from weebly
    My domain is = http://hkpurebiznizco.weebly.com
    and the Title is = “Pure Bizniz – Honest Hong Kong Consultation Service Provider”

    also aside from different titles, description i also made an effort of designing it, put some logo, images, videos and links to my social networks and of course brand and naked anchor text to my website.

    now my questions are:

    1) You think its wise to have different titles and description is it worth the effort?
    2) Among the links only blogspot is indexed its been 3 days should i submit url to google or just wait for it to be indexed naturally?
    3) Whats the safest strategy to build links for those properties? im thinking of social bookmarks and social signals.
    4) What else you think im missing?

    sorry if i have too many questions is just that i am really new to this SEO

    thanks a lot and hoping to get an answer from you.

  18. Hi Lorraine,

    Thank you for the comment!

    1) It probably is, but my social media manager takes cares of content promotion across owned media, so I don’t use IFTTT. As far as posting the full piece, I don’t recommend doing that. You want the content to be unique to your site and no else. It likely wouldn’t hurt you horribly, but I just don’t recommend doing it. Duplicate content penalties are only for content duplicated ON-SITE. Not off-site. If you are trying to grow your website traffic, it’s better to use a snippet so the reader has to click through.

  19. Hey Nathan, I have about 4 posts of yours that turned up in search when researching a specific SEO topic over the last month. So far, you’re a 4/4 – I’ve bookmarked them all!

    I had a follow-up question about content syndication from your brand’s blog. You said you write a small description and link back to the main article. 1) Is it possible to get this done through IFTTT? IFTTT seems to want to post the full content, not sure there’s a way around that. Would posting the full content be okay or do you recommend going into each of these Web 2.0 profiles and posting a summary manually? 2) As long as there’s a link back to the original article, is there any worry about duplicate content penalties?

    Thank you so much!

  20. Every time I come to your blog I get something new to read and implement.
    This was some seriously good stuff 🙂

    Thanks Gotch 🙂

  21. Hi Kenny,

    Yes, I share my content on my properties by writing a small description and linking back (with an unoptimized anchor). Nothing wrong with promoting your brand on your branded property!

  22. Great article Nathan.

    As far as content goes, besides writing a general description, do you think it’s a good idea to possibly syndicate content from your brand website to some of these properties? Or maybe just a small summary with a link back to the original article? Do you do something similar to this, or do you keep all the content unique for your properties?

  23. Great post Nathon…

    I have said it and will say that your work is simple but damn effective. I mean that many seo gurus will suggest clients to get their listing in paid directories as they have trust and boom. You are now a brand.. thats BS. A listing only on Yahoo dir and Botw isn’t enough…

    Beside I loved your point 2. I think that by writing great content on quora, tumblr and then a tiny socail boast is also a nice strategy to improve brand awareness in the eyes of Google…

  24. Got it, thanks man!
    BTW i do think that social efforts are vital for the SEO projects (well that depends on the audience – but usually).

  25. Hi Kirill,

    You’re over-thinking it. The point of brand signals is to build trust and relevancy around your website/brand. It SUPPLEMENTS your other link building efforts. If you really think that not having social/branded accounts are more beneficial to your campaign, then you don’t have to do it. That’s the beauty of SEO! You can decide.

  26. Thanks fo the answer but something still doesnt make sense. Most of the external links (i tend to believe that, all of the links) is no follow links, so how exactly do i pass the authority? Does authority juice ignores no follow directions? Would you extend on that please?

  27. Hi Doug,

    Thanks for the comment!

    1. You’ll have to use a variation, but just make it’s consistent. The most important element of your social profiles is to make sure that the titles are consistent.

    2. That’s a tough one because it depends on if you’re actually trying to rank locally or you’re just using them for branded purposes.

  28. Kirill,

    Thanks for the comment. Increasing the authority of your links increases the authority of your website. Increased authority = easier / more rankings

  29. Great post – I’ve found all your articles and guides quite helpful.

    Two quick questions…

    1. What do you recommend when your company’s exact name is taken on a Social Media site?
    2. How do you handle ‘citation’ links when you’re a sole proprietor working from home — not wanting to use home address?


  30. I really agree with this wonderful article. Brand signal is really powerful SEO strategy for protecting websites from Google penalty and Make stability in long-term. Thank you again Nathan Gotch.

  31. Good stuff Nathan, you’re quickly becoming a respected figure in the industry and I’m glad I started paying more attention to your blog a few months back. The other people I’ve directed to your posts all agree too, so well done mate 🙂

  32. We run these types of brand campaigns on each and every client we bring on. Build the brand before building links… Great post.

  33. Awesome post Gotch, quick question. Should the 2nd tier links only point to the 1st tier ones or should they point to both the money site and to the 1st tier sites

  34. is there any correlation or effect of my profile in social networks gaining authority on my website authority or rank?
    does search engines consider this signals and know how to make the connection?
    or did i just missed the point?

  35. Hello Gotch!.. I received the email about the new posting in gotchseo.com. It’s really very helpful for me to learn seo latest trends and simply i learnt how to act like a brand in front of google by your earlier posting. Finally this article are too pretty interesting and informative. I always like to read your latest post. Can you help me how can i verify my offical Facebook, Twitter pages?

  36. Wesley,

    Thanks for the comment! I actually have my staff take care of this, but back in the day I used service from Boze Marketing. I’m not sure if they’re still in business or not

  37. As per usual Nathan, great informative post. This type of Seo is actually making things a lot easier for legit businesses to rank nowadays. It’s also a pretty easy type of Seo to perform as it’s very natural. There is also nothing covert about it so there’s no need to worry about footprints etc.

  38. Gotch you are always the greatest, recently I was looking for an article that you wrote, in that article there was written anchor text percentages of tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 links. Please give it to me again I want to know how much percentage should be used in tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 so that we can not face the penalty of Google penguin.

  39. You are consistently providing great actionable info, and this time is no different. Thanks a lot! I have a quick question. For #5: Social Link Wheel, for example would you mean creating and populating a Scribd account then linking to your Tumblr/twitter/wordpress/whatever

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