One of the biggest questions I’m asked is how brands can improve their SEO.
They want rankings.
It’s obvious that top organic rankings in Google still matter and will continue to matter. In fact, top rankings may matter even more with voice search.
Over the last several years Google has made several changes…for the better. The results these days are very good. It’s not often that you get a result that really doesn’t answer your question.
One of the things Google has done is to use brand reputation as a signal. When your brand has a good reputation you generally rank well for relevant terms.
So how do you build your reputation?
Here are a few ways…
1. Get Really Good At What You Do
Obviously this is easy to right as a tip, but it’s not easy to practice.
There aren’t any shortcuts to a good reputation. It takes becoming at least one of the best at what you do.
The key to starting is to identify what you want to do. It might be what you’re doing now. It might be something a little different.
But starting isn’t the difficult step. It’s actually the easiest step. The steps that come after are difficult. Lots of people have started things. Few have done it for years and every day during those years.
This scares a lot of brands away. They look for quick fixes in terms of SEO. But that’s also an opportunity for those willing to put in the work.
2. Big Dreams, Small Work
Lots of people have big dreams. That’s a good thing. But where some get lost is bringing those big dreams back to the small work.
The theme you’ll read throughout this piece is patience. You need patience to get really good at what you do. You need patience to achieve big dreams.
Part of patience is small work.
I remember reading Hank Haney’s book about his time coaching Tiger Woods. At the time, Woods was getting a little bored with the basic short game fundamentals. He was really good at difficult chipping shots, but Hank had noticed that his basic chipping wasn’t sharp compared to others.
So hank challenged Tiger to improve in that area. Everyday. For several months. The following year Tiger was one of the best in the short game area.
Not many people have the ability to focus on the small work. The detailed work. The fundamentals. But those, over time, yield the biggest results.
3. Discipline + Consistency
Personal discipline is one of the greatest things you can possess in life. As the leader of your business, you have to set the tone for the rest of your team. Keeping the same schedule for coming into the office. Putting off buying something new for the business that you don’t really need.
Now, we all have our vices. But most successful people are also good with disciplining themselves. You may wonder why a successful person only has one car or one house. Or you may wonder why they limit themselves to one coffee or one small chocolate each day.
They have self discipline. Not just in those small areas, but in many small areas of their lives including in business.
There might be nothing that people appreciate more than not having to worry about you taking care of something. In business, this is your customer or client.
When a customer walks into McDonald’s, they know with near 100% certainty that when they order a Big Mac that it’s going to meet their expectations. People know that just about 100% of the days in the year that their mail will be arrive at the same time.
When your customers don’t have to worry about you doing something your reputation grows. They feel comfortable continuing to use your service and suggest it to others.
5. Trust Your Good Intentions
You’re not going to make everybody happy. That’s just life. And it’s fine. You can still build a great reputation, but you might second guess your decisions from time to time. That’s normal.
The key to believing in what you’re doing is to know your intentions. If you know that you’re doing your best and that you’re trying to treat your customers well then over the long-term that will be true.
6. A Wise Person Once Said…Nothing
Resist the urge to fight back. Let your actions speak.
It’s easy to criticize today. Other people. Businesses. Everything and everyone.
It’s also easy to talk back. It’s natural to want to defend yourself, but it seems that the best course of action is to defend yourself not with words, but with actions.
Getting into fights rarely works out. It uses energy. It escalates situations. You can certainly accept feedback. You don’t have to take action on it all.
Get back to your good intentions and continue improving in the ways that you believe is best.
7. Keep Your Promises
Another form of reliability.
When we’re kids and an adult promises us something and they break that promise it crushed us. The same is still true when we’re adults.
Be careful with making promises. That’s the first step to keeping them. And when you do make one, make sure you do whatever it takes to make it happen.
The more you let people down the more your reputation decreases.
Don’t be different for the sake of being different.
The key to being a contrarian is to understand yourself and how you’re different from the mainstream. Then embrace those differences and lean into them.
If your design style is different from most designers, lean into it and go that way. You stand out more if you’re different. And chances are good that you can become really, really good at what you’re different at doing.
9. Creation > Consumption
Blogging. Video. Podcasting. Social Media. Guesting.
We live in a world that makes it easy to consume things. Content, products, services, etc.
We need discipline to limit our consumption in order to put that energy into creation. The best brands are the ones that create the most and the best.
The makers of Stranger Things aren’t sitting around consuming a bunch of content. The product designers at Apple aren’t sitting around using a bunch of products.
The best are always creating.
10. Patience + Persistence
I mentioned that this one was the central theme to the entire piece.
If you want to build your reputation than it’s going to take time. There is no way around it. Look at the results for any term or keyword on Google. Chances are that the brand that created it has been around fo several years.
Look at the companies you buy things from. Chances are they have been around for several years. Or if they’re new the people behind the brand have done other things for a long time in the industry.
People trust things that have been around for a long time.
To be around for a long time you need to be patient with results and have the persistence to keep building when others will likely quit.
Building a reputation is no small task. But you’ve likely noticed that the brands with the highest SEO rankings are those with the best reputations. In order to get there you have to put in a lot of work for a long time. If you’re not ready for that then it’s time to look at doing something else. But if you can put your head down for five to ten years and just create and work then things can pay off handsomely.