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by Oliver Ewbank on 28th November 2013
Top brands are constantly striving for a perfect page one when people search for them by name. This means no negative reviews or bad press and complete domination in the SERPs for brand related searches. But how can this be achieved?
We call this tactic Page One Domination and in this post I look at the latest tactics to dominate Google’s white-space with your own blue links.
To make sure your domain ranks first for your band name you need to comply with on page SEO best practice. You must also make sure your brand name is referenced in the Meta title and description. If you don’t want to do this on every URL it’s important you do it on the following pages as a minimum.
The links shown below some of Google’s search results, called sitelinks, are meant to help users navigate your site. Sitelinks are a valuable way to control a greater area of the search results page. Below is an example of the sitelinks for “Thomas Cook”. Beneath the main result you can see links to various areas of the website.
If you own a huge domain with many sections you can also have an internal search box in the results. This box is chosen algorithmically based on metrics that show how useful the search box is to users so there’s no guarantee your will have one.
To achieve sitelinks for your domain you need to create a site with clear navigation and a well-planned hierarchy of pages. You should also:
Currently sitelinks are automated but if you think one is inappropriate you can demote the URL. To demote a URL simply follow the instructions below (Source):
Often the best way to secure the second spot on Google is to make sure you have an accomplished blog. A regularly updated blog is an excellent way to attract new traffic from a range of long tail keywords. You can create the blog inside a directory like yourwebsite.com/blog or use a sub domain like blog.yourwebsite.com.
Some people choose to have their blog on a separate platform like yourwebsite.wordpress.com. This can also achieve a separate ranking but from an SEO perspective it is best to have the content hosted on the main domain.
On occasion you can get your individual blog posts to rank for brand related terms. To do this try and reference the brand name in the Meta and blog content. You can find a recent example of this here.
Linking your blog content to a credible Google+ account can display an author photo in the search results which is another way to dominate white-space.
A huge part of controlling page one for your brand’s name is securing all the popular social profiles. There are hundreds of profiles out there but in my experience here are the ones which rank the best:
When it comes to securing social profiles it’s essential you fill in all the details. The more details you give the more credibility the profile will have. Don’t be lazy with address and phone number details. Use pictures and accurate descriptions where appropriate. Once you have secured the name it’s important you verify the profiles as soon as possible.
One huge mistake people make when securing social profiles is that they use the same bio on each profile. Never duplicate bios and more importantly don’t use content from your websites ‘About Us’ page. Using the same content may devalue your social profiles and could cause your main site SEO issues.
Write unique bio’s for each profile. Roughly create 200 words of content that is tailored towards the networks individual audience. For example, on your LinkedIn profile explain that this where you post updates on new roles at your company.
A quick way to get ten unique bios could be to get each member of your company to write their own description of the organisation.
Another 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 is another way to dominate the SERP’s for brand related searches. If you have a PR team selling in news stories to credible news sites make sure you brief them on the importance of getting a brand citation in the title.
Another way to get into Google news is to submit your site’s blog content. Google is incredibly picky when it comes to including content in their news section so make sure you meet their guidelines.
Average blog content won’t make the cut. It has to be breaking news. How-to articles, advice columns, jobs, stock data and strictly informational content will not be featured.
Below is a recent example of what came up in Google when I performed a search for Adidas.
If you have ignored Google+ you need to fix up and look sharp. Google+ is central to gaining the perfect page one. Their profiles obviously rank well because they are Google’s own property. Another perk is that the page can also appear on the right hand side of Google search results. To gain this perk you will need to have your Google+ page verified. Once this is done you should build up the authority of your profile. To do this:
Once you have built up the authority of your profile you will get the opportunity to have a custom URL. A good example of this is Hugo Boss who have https://plus.google.com/+hugoboss/. If you Google ‘Hugo Boss’ you will also see a link to the Google+ page in the top right hand side of the search results.
If you want the perfect page one you need to achieve a strong local presence. Add your business to Google Maps, fill in all sections and give Google as much information as possible. If you have lots of branches you can upload lots of different addresses in a spreadsheet.
Google don’t tend to rank a domain in both natural and local listings. You can get round this by entering your “About Us” URL or even your “Contact Us” page URL when setting up the profile. If the organic URL is different to the local URL they can both rank in the SERPs.
It’s quite common now for Google to display a variety of images at the top of their search results. For brand related searches you need to make sure the images paint you in a positive light. Sticking to the following rules can make sure your images are fully optimised:
If Page One Domination is a priority you don’t always have to build links to your domain. Building links to social profiles can help move them further up the SERP’s. For example, if you write a guest blog post you can link to your Twitter profile (not your domain). This will give the Twitter profile more authority and will mix up the pattern of your backlinks.
Use branded anchor text when building links to business profiles but don’t be afraid to mix it up i.e “follow us on our official Koozai Pinterest Page“.
A perfect page one wouldn’t be complete without making the most of Google AdWords. Bidding on your brand name is much cheaper than commercial keywords and is a worthwhile investment. If you own the official domain and have a good website you will quickly achieve a high Quality Score.
This will make the top spot your own and give you complete domination for brand related searches. There are a range of different Ad Extensions to choose from. Some extensions dominate the white-space more than others. If you are looking to take up more room I would suggest using the following extensions:
Google are currently in the process of testing banner ads on the search network for exact match brand searches. This will be a massive game changer so watch this space.
To sustain the perfect page one you need to stay on top of positive, neutral and negative brand mentions. This can be done by setting up Google Alerts or using software like BrandWatch. Another simple way to spot new listings is to check your referral traffic sources in Google Analytics.
Spotting new listings from articles, business profiles or even forum comments can give you more ammo to push up the listings. If you check the SERP’s regularly you can spot hidden gems on pages four and five which have the potential to be pushed onto page one with link building carried out to them.
So there you have it. A perfect page one doesn’t happen overnight but it is a necessity for all big brands. If people hear your brand mentioned offline, on TV or via social media more often than not they will ‘Google It’.
If you implement all the tactics above you can make sure their first interaction with your brand is a pleasant one.
Do you think that Page One Domination is getting harder? Have you seen any branded search nightmares? I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments below.
Google Plus from Bigstock