When you’re trying to gain more brand visibility online, your content strategy might focus on choosing the right keywords. After all, your website and digital content must have the phrases your audience is searching for so they can find them. However, content marketing strategies that drive long-term results need to look at more than keyword rankings.
That’s because recent algorithm changes mean that search engines are also moving beyond just keywords. While keyword rankings can help with search engine optimization and brand visibility, algorithms are becoming more focused on user experiences. As a result, paying attention to technical details, search intent and audience feedback or inputs can make a big difference. When it’s time to boost your brand’s online authority, here are four things to consider.
1. Delivering Unique and Insightful Content
Content is what gets people to notice your brand. But videos, blog posts or articles that don’t add unique value or insight for your audiences won’t gain much traction. People crave information beyond general tips or data they’ve seen in other places. As a business and brand, there are probably insights you can deliver that no one else can.
It’s best to think of content as part of your company’s fingerprint. Content, whether it’s part of a growth marketing strategy or post-purchase support (product guides, how-to videos, etc.), should accomplish a few things. It should fully satisfy your audience’s search intent or need for answers. Yet content should also serve as an original resource and communicate your brand’s identity.
First-party data and case studies are examples of content that can contain unique industry knowledge. Perhaps your company does regular research on in-demand topics you can repurpose into shareable content. Or maybe your solutions helped several clients innovate and reach stretch goals. Materials highlighting how customers did it and the role your business played can turn into credible backlinks and more organic traffic.
2. Being Approachable and Responsive
Today’s consumers aren’t limiting their information searches to search engines or voice assistants. They’re using social media, contact forms and instant messages. People are looking at what businesses post on social media sites and pages. But they’re also seeing how companies respond to requests and the time they take to do so.
Consumers increasingly prefer to go through social media to communicate with brands. And businesses that are slow to get back to people or don’t reply at all can lose out. Companies that aren’t responsive on social media have a win” target=”_blank” class=”color-link” title=”https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/operations/our-insights/social-media-as-a-service-differentiator-how-to-win” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer” data-ga-track=”ExternalLink:https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/operations/our-insights/social-media-as-a-service-differentiator-how-to-win” aria-label=”15% higher churn rate”>15% higher churn rate than businesses that follow up promptly. Plus, customers tend to spend 20% to 40% more with companies that respond to their requests on social media. It all comes back to customer experience.
When leads or existing clients have poor experiences, they’ll seek alternatives and substitutes that meet their expectations. Businesses that continue to delight people and ensure they have positive interactions are more likely to build loyal relationships. Since social media extends or replaces the in-person customer experience, being approachable and responsive contributes to brand image and credibility. Use your social platforms to build both.
3. Performing Website Audits and Updates
More than likely, your website is more than an online store. It contains blog posts, landing pages, press releases and interactive features. Your website or one of its pages may be the initial or only contact someone has with your company. Visitors won’t be impressed if the site isn’t user-friendly or has out-of-date and inaccurate data.
Technical glitches, such as missing links and slow or unresponsive pages, create poor experiences. So do sites that aren’t mobile-friendly or make it inconvenient for people to read online content. Pop-up after pop-up may feel intrusive to visitors, especially if they’re attempting to skim through or digest written material. Confusing or difficult online checkout processes and contact forms are other aspects that can hurt credibility and conversion rates.
Regular website and content audits help catch and correct errors that turn people away. Some businesses perform audits and make improvements in-house, while others partner with agencies. Either way, these audits often lead to design and content improvements that make websites more authoritative and easier 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 does.
4. Involving the Audience
Companies that want to increase credibility and authority with audiences can’t be the only source of truth. People are less likely to view what a brand says about itself as 100% authentic or believable. Instead, they want to hear from others like themselves who have bought the merchandise or interacted with a rep. These stories or testimonials can sometimes extend to sponsorship partners and vendors in B2B environments.
Publishing reviews and testimonials on your site involves your audience and makes your brand more authentic. But integrating user-generated content on your social and website pages can take that audience involvement a step further. User-generated content can include videos that show people using your company’s products or services in everyday situations. This content might also be part of an event or online contest featuring behind-the-scenes clips.
User-generated content like this often comes across as more authentic because it’s usually not trying to sell something. It shows there’s more to a company than transactional relationships. Content from the audience may showcase a brand’s values and community commitment better than a press release or landing page can. 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 target audiences to discover a brand. But that discovery doesn’t guarantee conversions or create engaging and positive experiences that build loyal relationships. To nurture those relationships, companies must treat online content as a holistic interaction. In the long run, brands that deliver relevant, responsive, user-friendly and authentic digital experiences can win the credibility game.