It’s no secret that personal branding is important. So is branding your Brand. Basically, what I am trying to say is, we all want to get found online. Well, in some cases, people don’t. But generally speaking, the goal is to get more exposure. Which is why, it boggles the mind as to why some people only focus on the standard “SEO signals” but ignore other important optimization opportunities.
A couple things recently happened which caused me to do a digital self evaluation:
- My Meta descriptions on my blog weren’t showing correctly (apparently Yoast and Thesis don’t play so nicely).
- I accidentally deleted my blog about page. (FML)
- Google sent me an email that they were going to start integrating my Gmail into my search results. (This came up in a meeting, and to be honest, I live in the world of archive. Inbox Zero yes, but Archive 100 Billion! It occurred to me how utterly useless this feature “might” be for me personally, but nevertheless still got me thinking.)
Once I noticed the above, I started thinking about other areas of my site and my social media presence which could probably use a tune-up.
If email is starting to get integrated, what will be next?
The Missed Opportunities
Here are 7 important digital assets I have identified to help you take advantage of often overlooked branding opportunities.
- Email. Are your marketing emails descriptive? With the new integration in Google, I would say keeping in mind certain key terminology in emails is more important than ever. Besides the fact that a non-descriptive message is likely not articulating what you had hoped it would, now, certain keywords are causing Email results to show up in results. This is additional – free – real estate for brands. I couldn’t completely identify what caused results to show up, however, it seems as though people’s names and industry organizations, for sure work. Brands names and even searching on specific subject lines do not always trigger it. Stay tuned to see where this one goes.
RSS. Often, what shows up in an RSS feed, is extremely unimpressive. This is not about debating whether or not you should have the full article in RSS or just a snippet. Personally, I put the full article in RSS, but that is me. My goal is to get people to read my content, not necessarily drive them to my blog. But again, that is just my preference.
For most brands, driving users to the site is of the utmost importance, understandably. So why would you leave the RSS snippet to the first paragraph, which could be misleading and miss the main point?
Try a TL;DR at the beginning of a post.
Twitter. Are people tweeting what you want them to? A few articles ago, I wrote about a tool I created which allows you to add in a tiny piece of code and tweet what you want to (cool name for the post still pending). It’s pretty simple and allows you the chance to let your audience tweet what you want them to, in order to better convey your message.
But don’t limit yourself to just my tool. How about giving them a few options? If they agreed with the article let them tweet a message about how they agreed and if they didn’t, well, let them tweet that they didn’t agree, but on your terms.
Control the message. Like This ← (FYI: If you tweet this, you contractually agree to buy me a beer at SMX East :P)
Google Plus. This is another area that shows prominently in search results. But beyond just the profile showing, Authorship markup is huge. Who wouldn’t want to see your beautiful head-shot? Everyone does. And even if they don’t, they won’t have a choice in the matter. Has this been implemented correctly? Did you test it?
Open Graph. I have spoken about this in my SMX presentations before. Besides the speculated character lengths I wrote about a while ago, how about simply having this available? Let’s not forget, information discovery happens in a completely different way on Facebook.
Are you differentiating the description? Or are you leaving it up to chance for engines to grab whatever they want? This is a different type of user after all.
Images. This is more an addition to Facebook and Google +, but has massive impacts for image search. I personally was having an issue getting certain images to show up on Facebook from my blog, and couldn’t diagnose the issue. Rather than pulling in the images I uploaded for the post, it was pulling in the Social Sharing icons I had set. Bad user experience for anyone else sharing. I found a great plugin to fix the Facebook like thumbnail which brings the images you want to the top, and adds a tag to identify those as the preferred images for the post and for Open Graph.
Do yourself a favor and ensure that the images on your site are descriptive, and they are being picked up by social networks and Google image search.
LinkedIn. This is yet another prominent spot as it ends up showing up often in search results. So do yourself or your company a favor and add detailed information to your profile. There isn’t a whole lot you can do to change what shows in search results, but I now go full circle back to the Email section. LinkedIn messages tend to dominate in this Gmail integration. Are you sending personalized, branded messages? Are you including keywords you want to be found for in the message?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.