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Page One Domination: The Complete Guide #EdgeLondon

Oliver Ewbank

by Oliver Ewbank on 9th May 2014

otelondonToday I am speaking at the On The Edge conference in London on the subject of Page One Domination. This post contains my slides and a summary of the presentation for that that were unable to attend.

When it comes to SEO it is extremely important to have a perfect page of results when people search for your brand name. This means no negative reviews or bad press and complete domination in Google for brand related searches.



The Buyer Cycle

The reason Page One Domination is so important is because consumers will constantly research your brand before making a final purchase. The online buying process now tends to have six stages:

  1. Research
  2. Search for Website
  3. Research
  4. Search for Brand
  5. Research
  6. Buy

When consumers start researching a brand they often become distracted and drop out of the buying cycle.  25% of brand related searches don’t end up on your site which can be a massive dent in the overall conversion process (Source).

90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews so the damage can be even more severe if your company has a bad reputation (Source).

It’s also very common for bad reviews to feature on Google for brand related searches and there are several examples of this in the slide deck.

Page One Domination

Successful Page One Domination can be broken down into five main areas:

  • Website Optimisation
  • Profile Optimisation
  • Brand Monitoring
  • Link Analysis
  • Content Marketing

Let’s take a look at each of those:

Website Optimisation

With the explosion of content marketing people often forget about the all-important foundation of SEO – your own website.

Meta

Obviously title tags are important. If you include your brand name in the title and description you are more likely to dominate brand related SERPs. Stick to the character guidelines (65 for a Meta title and 155 for a description) and don’t duplicate Meta descriptions as this will devalue your page.

You should also check the ‘HTML Improvements’ section in Google Webmaster Tools regularly to stay on top of Meta issues.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is important for Page One Domination as it gives Google the confidence to display your site for brand and product related searches. Make sure the following are in place:

  • 404 Page
  • On Page Sitemap
  • Sitemap.xml
  • Robots.txt
  • Fix Broken Links

Sitelink Optimisation

A great way to dominate page one is to make the most of sitelinks. To have the best chance of displaying sitelinks make sure you have:

  • Informative anchor text
  • Easy navigation
  • Unique Meta
  • Strong CTR
  • Promote Internal Pages

If you are not happy with the sitelinks that are displaying you can demote pages through Google Webmaster Tools.

demote

Image Optimisation

If you want your images to show up in brand related search results:

  • Use unique images (if you use duplicate or stock images, it’s unlikely you’ll rank on image search)
  • Accurately name your image files (‘Nike-Football-Boots.jpg’ is better than ‘x43t9dd.jpg’)
  • Add appropriate Alt image tags
  • Where appropriate use the title element on an image to create a visual caption
  • Schema Markup: add descriptions, dates and photographer details where possible

Blog

The best way to secure the 2nd spot on Google is to have a blog. Make sure you reference your brand name in the Meta and blog content. If you link your blog posts to a credible Google Plus account you can also display an author photo in the search results. This can increase CTR by up to 35% (Source)

ideally you should split your blog content into 3 main areas:

  • 50% Industry Topics
  • 25% Company Promotion
  • 25% Company Publicity

Profile Optimisation

A huge part of Page One Domination is securing all the popular social profiles for your brand. You can find out which profiles are available for you by using http://namechk.com/. Make sure you fill in all the required details and keep the NAP details (name, address and phone number) consistent.

Write different bios for each audience. For example your LinkedIn bio should be completely different to your Pinterest bio.

The ‘must-have’ profiles that rank the best are:

  • LinkedIn
  • Quora
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • SlideShare
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Yelp
  • ExpertFile
  • FourSquare
  • About.Me
  • Flickr
  • Scoop.it

Press Release

Another great way to control a first page web property is to publish a credible press release. They only tend to rank for one or two weeks but can be an excellent way to push a short term message to searchers looking for your brand.

Google News

Getting into Google News is no easy task but it is a very effective way of dominating the SERP’s for brand related terms. You need to make sure you meet their guidelines.

Quick tips are:

  • Brief your PR team on the importance of citations when selling in stories (particularly in headlines)
  • Blog content can’t be average
  • Write breaking news at least twice a day
  • Meet journalistic standards
  • Steer clear of advice columns, jobs, stock data and strictly informational content

Google Plus

Google Plus should be a central point to your Page One Domination strategy. The pages tend to rank well for brand related searches and a well optimised page will also appear on the right hand side of search results (see example below). To achieve this:

  • Make sure all the details on the page are filled out
  • Link your page to your site
  • Add the +1 button and Google+ Badge to your website
  • Post regular updates for your audience
  • Grow your audience

Over time you will get the opportunity to have a custom URL (e.g. https://plus.google.com/+hugoboss/posts)

Hugo

Link Analysis

Links and in particular link analysis is still a huge part of modern SEO. In February this year Matt Cutts confirmed that search results look worse when they have tested turning off link signals. This confirms a good link is still a ‘vote’ of confidence.

A good link needs to have more than just SEO value. It needs to deliver:

  • Traffic
  • Conversions
  • Brand Awareness
  • Social Shares
  • Engagement

To future proof your site and keep it ranking for brand related terms you may have to weed out any toxic links which could be deemed unnatural. The best tools to analyse backlinks are:

  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Link Detox
  • Link Risk
  • Majestic SEO

For Page One Domination, competitor link analysis is extremely important. LinkRisk in particular is a great tool to review what links your competitors are getting and put together a strategy which will be even stronger.

Brand Monitoring

If you monitor your brand effectively you can spot new opportunities to dominate the SERPs. It’s important you monitor the following sites:

  • Social Media
  • Industry Related Blogs
  • Personal Blogs
  • Forums
  • Reviews
  • Articles
  • Photos
  • Competitors
  • Videos

Personal Branding

Page One Domination projects can also be done on a personal level. If a company wants to tidy up the personal image of an employee or managing director then BrandYourself is an excellent tool.

Build Relevance

You can keep track of brand mentions with free tools like Google Analytics and Google Alerts. Once you spot a new brand mention put it into one of three categories:

  • Positive
  • Negative
  • Neutral

All positive mentions can be boosted by building relevance around the listing. Additional content marketing will strengthen the profiles and move them further up the SERP’s.

If you check the SERP’s regularly you can spot hidden gems on pages three and four which have the potential to be pushed onto page one with additional content marketing.

Content Marketing

The best way to build positive mentions of your brand is to support them with good quality Content Marketing. Listings can be supported in a number of different forms including:

  • Blog Content
  • Award Promotion
  • Blogger Reviews (with disclosure)
  • Competition Promotion
  • Questionnaires
  • E-Books
  • FAQs
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Whitepapers
  • Press Releases
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Interactive Games

Content Promotion

When it comes to promoting content, outreach to people not sites. The following tools can help you identify key influencers in your industry.

  • Followerwonk (search by Twitter Bio)
  • Gorkana (search industry specific journalists)
  • GroupHigh (contact bloggers in your industry)

Summary

So there you have it. There are no short cuts to Page One Domination but if you adopt the tactics in this post you will be able to sustain a perfect page one and increase sales.

Constantly monitor your brand and secure the social profiles on all platforms. Support this activity with quality Content Marketing and you will convert more brand related searches.

If you have any questions please leave them below.

Oliver Ewbank

Oliver Ewbank

Working in new media for over 8 years, Oliver Ewbank has worked for a range of brands including eBay and SportBusiness.com on SEO, PPC and Social Media Management. He has won awards for his SEO work and been featured in a number of publications, including Virgin online.

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