Facing unfavorable content on page one in the search engine result pages (SERPs) for your brand terms can be a challenge. Today’s article discusses a strategy that allows you to mobilize all of your company websites to jump to the top of the SERPs so that your company dominates page one for your brand phrases… leaving unfavorable content nowhere to be seen.
Which sites to mobilize
To start dominating page one in the SERPs with your company-owned websites, consider any company-owned website that is either on a separate domain or a subdomain. Here are a few examples of company micro sites that are ideal for this strategy, provided they are on their own domain or a subdomain:
- Larger divisions and subsidiaries
- Large products
- Corporate “about” sites
- Corporate charitable foundation
- Recruiting websites
- Customer forums
- Affiliate program overviews
- Sites that were created for special PR campaigns
- Company blogs
If your company has everything sitting on a single domain, unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you will dominate page one because search engines do not like to display more than one or two pages from a given domain. If this is your situation, ensure your website is listed at the top of page one for your brand terms, and then link to favorable content to push the favorable sites above anything unfavorable.
Ideas for getting your company-owned websites to rank
Just like any other SEO campaign, you’ll want to optimize each website you are trying to boost. Typically, you only need to optimize a few pages for your brand terms, and execute a good link building campaign to get the lift you need. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
On-page optimization ideas:
- Include at the bottom of the page, near the copyright information, text that indicates “XYZ is a division of ABC Company”. This gets your company name on the homepage of each website
- In the about sections of each site, cross-link to other company-owned websites, including the main corporate website
- In the about section, add an overview page that is about the parent company
- In the about section, add a history page that focuses on the brand phrases you are targeting. You could write about how this division/site is affiliated with the brand. One of my clients added a page to each subsidiary website that described how the parent company started this division and how they work together today
- Ensure that the main corporate website links to all division websites (you would be surprised at the number of companies who do not link to each of their separate websites)
Link building ideas:
- For each corporate site you are trying to boost to page one, you’ll want to obtain links that pass on relevancy for the brand terms you are targeting. To do this, find sites that talk about the parent company, and see if they will also link to the websites you are targeting
- Look for directories that have a category devoted to your company as a whole; for example, the Yahoo Directory has a corporate categories for large companies (Hewlett Packard and Dell are prime examples)
- You will also want to do a general link building campaign. Sometimes smaller divisions’ websites do not have the resources for thorough SEO and link building, leaving low hanging fruit that will easily give the site a nice boost
Be prepared for this to be more difficult than it sounds. I find that mobilizing the internal troops to march to the same beat can be a challenge because these smaller websites have been up and running completely autonomously. In the beginning, everyone will be on board, particularly upper management; however, when they look at the proposed changes there will be resistance because you are suggesting they write using brand terms that are not a priority for each particular site’s messaging.
Bear in mind that the stakeholders of these separate sites probably know less about SEO than the stakeholders you normally work with, so operate as though you are back at square one and need to educate and get buy-in for SEO tactics.
For optimal results, I have found that it’s best to get everyone bought in conceptually, and then prepare my recommendations. I walk into to discuss recommendations with a full set of changes ready for approval, fully aware that they will rip it apart and say, “This won’t work.” To which I reply, “That’s OK. We can incorporate the phrases in any way that you want. We just need X repetitions on the page.” This allows stakeholders to actually see the types of changes needed, yet they feel completely in control of the wording and messaging on the site, which is what they truly want in the end.
As you get started, strap on your thinking cap and get creative to make the keywords sound just right, flow naturally and start boosting your rankings.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.