“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 “DoFollow” 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
One of the quickest ways to see if a website is flowing internal authority (DoFollow 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 DoFollow.
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.
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!