Is Your Brand Voice Silently Killing Your SEO Strategy?
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Your brand. You live it and breath it. Your organization strives to embed your brand in its company culture. But is your attempt to convey your brand to customers or potential new customers silently killing your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy?
Should a Content Strategy Include Brand Voice?
Absolutely. Your brand voice, core values and value proposition belong in your content strategy, but not at the expense of your SEO strategy.
When building your on-page content, SEO keyword strategy should always take precedent over brand alone.
Utilize tools like Google Keywords Planner to find solid and relevant keywords and then optimize titles, metadata, and body text. Then add pertinent branded content where it adds value and meaning.
One way to quickly double-check that your brand voice hasn't overtaken your initial keyword strategy is with a simple word cloud.
A word cloud will give you a quick visual to show which words are repeated the most on your page. If a word cloud for a product page shows a greater number of words like "community" and "pet shelter" than "rate" or the product name, features, and benefits you might be confusing search engines.
In the example below you'll see a word cloud example showing the difference between a credit card page that has too much branded content about a belief that customers should shop local with their credit card that offers a lower rate on local purchases.
You can see how it would be difficult for a search engine to understand that this page is about a credit card product and not about community pet centers.
|Too much branded content:||Product information first:|
Pro-Tip: a word cloud will treat similar words as unique whereas search engines will treat them the same. For example, the words 'reward,' 'rewards,' and 'rewarding' will register as individual words in a word cloud but a search engine will know they're basically the same thing.
Using a word cloud is the most simplistic visual representation of what your page is likely to appear to be about to a search engine. It's not meant to replace or be equal to, the tools provided by search engines.
Keywords vs. Value-Add Content
Keyword stuffing certainly isn't the answer. Search engines are better at understanding intent in searched terms which means quality content will perform better than keyword stuffed content.
Google also relies on you to help it understand what your page is about by reading the metadata and page titles.
Often marketers will utilize heading tags to format text for the look and feel they desire, but then often they forget that when you set headers you are telling search engines that's what the page is about. On-page titles and headers should always include the keywords you want search engines to recognize the page for, while value-add content should be in the body content.
Pro-Tip: Title tags should not be used for styling. If you need additional styles work with your web developer or use basic html to change on-page fonts. Don't rely on H1, H2 or H3 tags for stylistic purposes.
Search engines like Google utilize metrics like low bounce rates, longer time on page, and more pages per session to determine the quality of a page. However, if the search algorithm doesn't understand what the page is about because the titles aren't accurate, and there's too much branded content throughout, the page won't be displayed it as a viable option on search engine results pages (SERPs), even if the content is outstanding!
How to Implement a Brand Voice
Determining how to implement your brand voice isn't an exact science. It's more like having a good understanding of basic social engagement skills.
We all have met that person in the office who talks WAY TOO MUCH about their dog, kid, hobby, sports team, or dating life. Let's call that person Jamie. Don't be Jamie!
When a visitor comes to your website or blog they are looking to educate themselves about a product, service, or financial skill. It's also great if they learn that your core values, mission or vision align with their personal values, but they shouldn't have to filter through that brand message to get to the information they came to your site to find.
Marketer Jamie would build an auto loan page that includes content like:
"An Auto Loan at ABC Financial will not only get you in the car of your dreams but you'll help support the wonderful animals at XYZ Animal Shelter. We donate 1% of profits from Auto Loans to XYZ Animal Shelter because we believe that cats and dogs shouldn't be homeless."
That's great Jamie, but there's not enough information about the auto loan I came to learn about in the first place. Google would find more words and terms related to animals and animal shelters than auto loans making it difficult to determine what the page is really about.
A better approach would be to build auto loan page content like this:
"Apply for an ABC Financial Auto Loan with a great low rate and terms up to six years in as little as 10 minutes. Get a decision within 2 business hours! ABC Financial donates 1% of Auto Loan profits to XYZ Animal Shelter because we believe animals shouldn't be homeless."
It's important that your product features and benefits remain the focus of the content and your brand voice, core values, etc. are simply complimentary.
If you're unsure how your content stacks up contact us about an SEO audit of your site. We'll review 5 high-impact pages of your choice and provide you with a detailed analysis of your current performance and recommendations for improvement.