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How do little brands become big brands?
Shatner




msg:4386524
 7:55 pm on Nov 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of the common responses to anyone taking issue with Google's recent moves to give Big Brands preferential treatment over little brands has been... well then become a Big Brand!

Example in the discussion here: [webmasterworld.com...]

But what no one ever really says is HOW do LittleBrands become BigBrands in today's environment?

The way to become a BigBrand is of course to gain exposure. But how do you do that?

In the past you could create better content than the BigBrands and have it highlighted in Google Search. That's over.

In the past you could create interesting content and have it shared on social sites. But most of those are becoming irrelevant and the ones that aren't are actually infested with paid corporate social media experts gaming the system there.

So, let's discuss how a LittleBrand can become a BigBrand in today's BigBrand preferential environment. What's the path?

 

Planet13




msg:4387315
 7:41 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ wheel:

Thanks for the tips.

tictoc




msg:4387318
 7:58 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

If there were more "big brands" there would be no use for Google. You just type in the domain name or their facebook page...

Shatner




msg:4387324
 8:03 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is my last post on this thread.

The responses here are indicative of exactly why so many SEO forums and experts are completely useless.

Normally the level of discourse here is, fortunately, much better. It's just about the only place worth visiting on the topic. But even here, it's a problem.

tedster




msg:4387335
 8:27 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

The way to become a BigBrand is of course to gain exposure. But how do you do that?

In the past you could create better content than the BigBrands and have it highlighted in Google Search. That's over.

The only part that's "over" is initial discovery at a large scale via the Google SERPs - assuming that your topic is not in a "Query Deserves Freshness" area. If you are aiming for a QDF query, there's still some chance for the little guy to be discovered in those SERPs.

The same principles still apply with regard to quality - possibly even more than ever. The explosion of web pages means it might take something more obviously innovative and awesome than it did in the past to gain attention.

But you can grow from a lower level of attention quite effectively using social media marketing, especially Facebook and Twitter. As your brand profile grows, you also begin to get better attention from the Google SERPs.

We started working with a new website less than a year ago, knowing full well the challenges in today's online marketing. We set one year goals for traffic and leads generated (it is essentially lead gen for 160 locations) and launched in Jan 2011, with a one year assessment planned for Jan 2012.

However, we happily hit those numbers in August 2011, and the main mechanisms were Facebook and Twitter, coupled with a growing and potent collection of professionally written content.

[edited by: tedster at 9:53 pm (utc) on Nov 15, 2011]

Planet13




msg:4387349
 8:50 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

The responses here are indicative of exactly why so many SEO forums and experts are completely useless.


Hrruuhh? (sound Scooby Doo makes when utterly confused).

I found the responses here quite helpful, in particular those of tedster, netmeg, wheel and CainIV.

But then again, maybe I am just an abecedarian when it comes to the whole SEO thing...

greenleaves




msg:4387351
 8:58 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

SEO 'evil' will get you to the top. Quality content/products/services will keep you there.

bwnbwn




msg:4387400
 10:50 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

One quick question would we consider facebook a big brand? I think the discussion is focused only on selling a product etc.

Going viral is one of the quickest ways to build a brand whatever it is. How many times have we seen an idea, website, invention go virial and just explode.

All the thoughts ideas are great and worth noting but don't forget the power of the web. One good youtube has created a big brand. One good break and it can happen faster than one would think.

Example EAS is a supplement company they were who are they until a Dallas Cowboy put an eEAS hat on after they won a super bowl, or when a camera caught one of the leading home run hitters Mark with a small bottle in his locker. The company was launched big brand in a matter of days. He sold out a couple years latter. Smart guy he was. Got the big break and got out.

themacalu




msg:4387450
 2:17 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

A brand name/domain search count threshold might be one BigBrand indicator. A high search count for [dell] and [dell.com] could reinforce brand status.

potentialgeek




msg:4387455
 2:46 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's not really about being a big brand. The issue is trust and/or authority. Brands send serious trust and/or authority signals to Google. Google sees the trust/authority; they get a high TrustRank, and get high SERPs.

In my sector the top dogs are not "big brands"; they are ahead of the Fortune 500 companies because their sites have the right number of trusted links.

Don't waste your time trying to become a "big brand." That's a fool's errand. Spend it on trust and authority signals.

dailypress




msg:4387493
 6:04 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Give the power to the people. They will make you a brand!

I spent 6 years trying to get Google traffic with SEO tricks and hit 6,000 visitors/day max (considering all my sites together). But then my new site hit over 100,000 unique visitors/day in less than a week with over 90% Facebook referral traffic. I wouldn't say it's a brand now, but it's going to be...

Lesson learned: There's too much competition in getting Google traffic to become popular. Think of alternative ways, there's much less competition.

tedster




msg:4387499
 6:42 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Nicely said, potentialgeek! Today I was re-reading Seth Godin's book "Permission Marketing" and was struck by this quote: "What's branding after all, but a stand-in for how much access you have to consumers?"

Getting that explicit opt-in permission to communicate with your market and then using it wisely will build trust and authority. And after all, trust, authority and market engagement are what Google is aiming to measure.

vivalasvegas




msg:4387538
 10:28 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

But then my new site hit over 100,000 unique visitors/day in less than a week with over 90% Facebook referral traffic.


Is this FB traffic sustainable over a longer period?

I agree with Wheel and Potentialgeek: it takes hard work to become an authority in your niche. I would also add that it takes time and that's a good thing. Patience is key here.

shri




msg:4387563
 12:27 pm on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

For me, the whole "brand nirvana" thing is achieved when the largest search term for my site is the site's non-generic name.

When more people visit you by typing in your domain name into a search engine compared to any other money term, you know you're on your way.

A million Facebook / twitter referrals are not worth anything to me as an online brand if the visitors do not remember your domain name and turn it into a daily / weekly habit.

Do they think of your site as the go to site the next time they need information or want to buy something or feel the need to share a thought?

Do people talk about you offline and tell their friends about you?

Does not take millions, does not take sneaky tactics, does not take links (that follows). What it does take is good PR (Public relations) - local and within the communities these sites operate, good word of mouth - which is a result of providing value to the visitors and a fair bit of hard work. :)

A few more random thoughts

* Good logos and design does not mean you're a brand - seen far too many of those come and go. Its a start, but does not end there.

* Newspaper mentions etc. Do you wait for them to come or do you (or someone in your staff) monitor for stories and then communicate with reporters and give them an opinion or thought or news they could follow up on?

almighty monkey




msg:4387565
 12:53 pm on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Balls.

I mentioned this in another thread, but I'm not convinced that 'Brands' are a thing, per se, in Google's eyes, save possibly for Vital enquiries like a specific brand name.

What brands do have, and what I feel is the inherant advantage for them, is a PR team.

Which is essentially (Good) linkbuilding anyway. It's about getting Journalists and DJs and TV Pundits and social infulencers to talk about you and what you do.

In terms of what Google can algorithmically measure, that translates to increased Vital enquiries for your brand, increased social noise, and increased backlinks, all themantically linked and coinciding with each other. I think this combination is infinitely more powerful than just backlinks alone, and that this phenominon what SEO's, I think mistakingly, refer to as the 'Branding algo' at play.

It's an algorithm. It's not sentiant. It has absolutely no concept of what a Mcdonalds is, outside of a bunch of scores.

Even if this were 2002 and Google has yet to progress beyond the traditional Pagerank algo, what's the better link. A PR2 blogpost, or a link from a national television stations website?

I think that, as SEOs, we tend to focus on one area (backlinks) and forget that Goog is looking at all three and measuring them against each other. A spike in backlinks alone looks like a linkbuilder. A spike in backlinks, backed by Social noise and an increase in Vital enquiries makes your site look 'hot'. Regardless of what hat you wear, you should be looking to tick all those boxes.

dailypress




msg:4387992
 10:53 am on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is this FB traffic sustainable over a longer period?
I doubt it but it will rank well for several competitive keywords! I had sent a lot of traffic from my other site and then it suddenly took off..
diberry




msg:4388662
 8:14 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

The thing is, when all else is equal, the one with more money almost always wins. That was a fact of business long before the web came along.

The problem is that: if you do something really innovative, a bigger company will figure out how to replicate it, and then they will do it 10 times bigger, and throw a super marketing team on it and spare no expense on the marketing, and you're toast. That's exactly how Wal-Mart ran a lot of little stores out of business 20-30 years ago.

But sometimes the big business buys you out instead of replicating your idea, and that's good for you. Or sometimes you develop a modestly successful business that's not tempting enough for anyone to want to replicate or buy, and it doesn't buy you an island, but it does pay the bills and let you put something toward retirement.

And sometimes, things work out just right and you do end up becoming a big brand, and that's cool, too.

So I don't think the solution is to try to become a big brand. I think it's better to aim for medium-size. By staying small, you avoid getting devoured by larger companies who can squeeze you out of the market with only the change they found between their couch cushions. A lot of medium sized brands are known and respected, and making money. It's not a bad place to be.

wheel




msg:4389053
 2:18 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)


The problem is that: if you do something really innovative, a bigger company will figure out how to replicate it, and then they will do it 10 times bigger, and throw a super marketing team on it and spare no expense on the marketing, and you're toast.

My experience has been the exact opposite.

Big brands are hamstrung by beaurcracy and people who's jobs do not encourage innovation. I am not held back by either one of those.

I've got a short consulting gig shortly for a large 'brand'. they've already indicated that they have only limited ability to modify onpage stuff just as a basic example. And any changes they do make have to be approved by their mothership - on a different contintent that's got a 12 hour time difference.

If that's not advantage-small biz for the web, I don't know what is.

It's worth remembering two points:
1) Big brand offline is not a necessary condition to be a big brand online. It may help, but is not a requirement. Get rid of that notion.
2) Many of the online big brands did not start as offline big brands - they started out as a small website.

diberry




msg:4389077
 5:17 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Wheel, I think it varies a lot between niches. When a niche has a lot of legal obstacles, that can slow down big brands in the ways you describe and make room for smaller ones, for example. But that's why I said "when all else is equal" at the top of my post. When things are unequal, it can work in a smaller brands favor at times.

But my essential point was that it's not necessary to be a big brand ONLINE or off to make a very nice living.

mcskoufis




msg:4389116
 7:00 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

This goes to @diberry and @wheel

From my experience working with big brands, there's a lot of people in those marketing departments who sometimes don't do the obvious thing that their SEO or Internet Marketing consultant is insisting on after spending days researching their market.

If is something beyong the norm, they start thinking that their career is in risk and just won't take responsibility for authorising such an update on the brand site.

What I want to say is that there are tons of parameters within the context of a big brand. They don't necessarily have a department monitoring what the competition does.

SEOtop10




msg:4389343
 11:26 am on Nov 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Wheel: Those are some great ideas.

I am sorry to note that people (some) are busy trying to find loopholes in the theory rather than run with them and start applying.

netmeg




msg:4389403
 2:44 pm on Nov 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

1) Big brand offline is not a necessary condition to be a big brand online. It may help, but is not a requirement. Get rid of that notion.


Bears repeating.

Zivush




msg:4389726
 6:40 am on Nov 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

@wheel
Thank you for the useful info you gave to all of us here.

JohnRoy




msg:4389978
 7:12 pm on Nov 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

2) Many of the online big brands did not start as offline big brands - they started out as a small website.
Agree. but, many if not most of them get large chunks of venture capital to get that small website - big brand recognition.
mfishy




msg:4392125
 6:00 pm on Nov 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Only build backlinks from high end websites. Do whatever it takes to get those high end backlinks. You can still get those types of backlinks if you provide enough motivation for them. Have a look at a high end website and think "what would actually make them give me a link?". Then spend the time/effort to make that happen. It's a LOT of effort.


Big Brands tend to have hundreds or thousands of lousy backlinks. They do, however, often have their brand mentioned in the anchor text.

I'm sure hand picking links from "high quality" sites could work but it looks NOTHING like a big brand does to Google.



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