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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?

 

storeowner




msg:4386577
 11:25 pm on Nov 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

To begin, you'll need a strong, consistent visual identity. Start with a good logo, colors, and carry that through-out your site's masthead, pages, ads, banners, etc.

Think of a sports team with their strong logo and strong colors and professional look.

The public remembering your brand visually is important.

Dan01




msg:4386582
 12:26 am on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

A fancy logo is a start, I guess. Eventually you need to hire people. Perez Hilton is a brand, but he is not a big brand.

potentialgeek




msg:4386587
 1:18 am on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google's algo doesn't look for logos.

storeowner




msg:4386588
 1:25 am on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google's algo doesn't look for logos.


I thought you're suppose to build your website or brand for real humans and not an algo.

onepointone




msg:4386617
 5:43 am on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think to become a brand now you need either:

a truly innovative product service or product
or, tons of money to invest in it
or, one hell of a gimmick.

Just adding the trappings of a brand, like logo, videos, etc. doesn't do much.

Just running your business well and competently doesn't do much either.

wheel




msg:4386691
 1:33 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

A strong website. Privacy, full contact info etc.

Get a custom design done, including graphics - no clipart.

Add expert level content. Not just 'good' content, but expert level.

That sends Google the right onpage signals, whatever they are.

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.

If you're building backlinks and given the choice of anchor text, use your company name or url. For example, when I comment on blogs (which I do somewhat routinely), my anchor text is my company name. Yes, they're allnofollow links - but the text of my company name is there.

None of those are the exclusive domain of the big brands - small fish can replicate all of that. The only difference is seeking backlinks, it takes a lot of effort on the part of small brands...but it can be done.

I believe my 'brand' sends out other signals as well, but they stem from the above work. I.e. time on site and stuff comes from a quality design+good content. Media mentions come from developing links and making contacts.

arikgub




msg:4386749
 3:18 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

C'mon. Marketing creativity, expert content - all this is secondary when building a Big Brand. Secondary to deep pockets.

You, wheel, build expert level content to send brand signals, and someone else with a junk content will run national TV campaigns, attend conferences, donate to charities - and I am eager to see whose brand signal will hit the Google's sensor.

Money = publicity = natural links

And all the things you mentioned, wheel, of course matter. Just not as effective.

wheel




msg:4386761
 3:39 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

And all the things you mentioned, wheel, of course matter. Just not as effective.

You're wrong.

You know the funny thing about panda? The serps for my niche are dominated by brands - but I'm write in there. What do you think a consumer sees when they see the serps with a list of brand names they know from TV....and my little 'ole site? They think I'm a brand - and that is relaying huge authority. And I don't do any of the branding signals you mentioned - I do my branding online. I am branded in the 'TV/conferences' equivalent on the internet.

In fact, I am now getting feedback from clients about how great my site is, trust, they called because I know what I'm doing, etc.

So let's not propogate the myth that this can't be done or isn't effective. It CAN be done and IS being done. If you're not doing it, don't point the finger at Google. The fault lies entirely with you.

rlange




msg:4386764
 3:40 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

All money does is allow you to leave the gate at a sprint, but in a race with no finish line or time limit, what good is that?

--
Ryan

netmeg




msg:4386768
 3:56 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure what the definition of a Big Brand is for these purposes - how to build a Sears or JC Penney or Amazon.com? Beyond the scope of this discussion, I hope.

If you want to build a *brand* that can compete with the big boys, you have to start (AS ALWAYS!) with a good business model. If you're doing what everyone else is doing, forget it. If you're doing 70% of what everyone else is doing, forget it. If you can't find a way to do it differently and do it better, forget it. You're probably not cut out for it.

You need to build trust, and you need to give off *clear* trust signals to your users and to search engines. Things like how long you've been in business, who's behind the company, who you have partnered with, customer testimonials, industry associations, cites, certifications, awards, whatever. They have to be real and they have to be true (and easily verifiable helps too)

And you need to build authority. WHY are you the better choice for this product, over the big brand, or anyone else? What do you offer that the others don't? This part is core to the business model you've decided upon, because if your business model is faulty, you won't get the authority you need.

(Pro tip - if you want to be known as the authority in some area, you have to TELL people you are the authority and tell them WHY you are. I've consulted on more than a few sites that could legitimately make the claim for their niche - but they don't know how to communicate it.)

And these days, I think you need to make it very easy for people to tell other people that you're the authority - i.e. you have to embrace the whole social sharing thing. How you do that varies, but it's important. Because if you want to be a brand - if you want your name to be synonymous with whatever you sell or service you offer - it's the *users* that will make you one. Not Google.

[edited by: netmeg at 3:59 pm (utc) on Nov 14, 2011]

wheel




msg:4386770
 3:58 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well in terms of building 'brand', branding in Google is not about consumer recognition. It's about measuring signals that may identify brands - and those are easily duplicated. Suggesting TV commercials are what builds brands in Google's eyes is a copout. Google can't measure that. They measure signals from that instead - and those can be replicated.

Frankly the problem is that people simply want to set up an easy website that isn't over the top, followed with easy marketing. That doesn't work as well as it used to. But you won't see sympathy from me. People are looking for the smart method, when in reality what they should be doing is the hard work method. Fortunately for me, I'm much better at working hard than I am at working smart.

Zivush




msg:4386789
 4:54 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would say that being a big brand results in the diversity/Quantity of the traffic that comes NOT from Search Engines. It must be ~ 40% of the total traffic.
BTW - of course not any paid traffic.

How do one get there is a different story.

netmeg




msg:4386793
 5:07 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

How do one get there is a different story.


I'm not sure I entirely agree with that (about the percentage that doesn't come from search engines) but as to how one gets there:

- direct mail still works (catalogs & flyers)
- email marketing
- trade shows
- industry directories (online and offline)
- direct sales
- social
- links (not for rankings, for traffic)
- PPC
- Display advertising (online and offline)
- Affiliate programs / referral incentives

That's just off the top of my head.

Frankly the problem is that people simply want to set up an easy website that isn't over the top, followed with easy marketing.


I agree with this. We're saying similar things. You can give off signals till the cows come home, but if there's nothing there to back it up, eventually people catch on.

Shatner




msg:4386836
 6:32 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure what the definition of a Big Brand is for these purposes - how to build a Sears or JC Penney or Amazon.com? Beyond the scope of this discussion, I hope.


Well if you want placement on Google News, that's exactly the kind of brand you need to be.

So since this discussion was started by Wheel insisting that this is fair, and that if you want on Google News you should just become one of those Big Brands, then it's kind of the point of this discussion.

Most of the things you guys have just listed above are a great way to become what I'd call a MediumBrand.

Google is favoring BIG Brands. Not MediumBrands.

Several have insisted this is fair since you can become a Big Brand just like them. So how do you do it? Becoming a MediumBrand will not cut it.

The way I see it, the system right now has a cap on it, a ceiling. You can become a MediumBrand, but no further, unless you're able to somehow come up with millions of dollars to spend in advertising.

wheel




msg:4386851
 7:12 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

So since this discussion was started by Wheel insisting that this is fair,

I said nothing of the sort.

I told you how to act like a big brand online. You don't want to do it, I don't care.

What I've learned through the years is that the biggest objection people have when they cry it can't be done' is that they're really crying 'I don't want to do the work'.

When was the last time you went after a .gov link? Probably never.

I tell people to get .gov links, they do one of two things:
1) I get the Barbie math treatment: Building links is Hard!
2) they ignore me like I'm posting in white on white pixels. That's what's happening in this thread.

Lemme repost for you:
A strong website. Privacy, full contact info etc.

Get a custom design done, including graphics - no clipart.

Add expert level content. Not just 'good' content, but expert level.

That sends Google the right onpage signals, whatever they are.

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.

If you're building backlinks and given the choice of anchor text, use your company name or url. For example, when I comment on blogs (which I do somewhat routinely), my anchor text is my company name. Yes, they're allnofollow links - but the text of my company name is there.

there's you're starting point. Take the easy way out and don't do any of that 100% over the top, well, your rankings are highly correlated with the amount of work you put in.

viggen




msg:4386864
 7:43 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is favoring BIG Brands. Not MediumBrands


I think one should not forget that in many niches there are no Big brands

HuskyPup




msg:4386870
 8:04 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for making that simple viggen, my answer was far too long!

in many niches there are no Big brands


And even when there are they can be 100% widget trade recognised only and even then they may be trade brands recognised only on specific continents or countries since they existed, in many cases, years before the Net.

Am I guessing that the question is how do I create a US/UK/CA/AU (?) brand to be able compete against Amazon/Play/Ebuyer and not against Coca Cola/General Electric/IBM?

Yellow_Sun




msg:4386931
 11:23 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just my two cents.....

First, it takes years/tens of years to build a decent brand, and much longer to build a big brand... just look at all the big brands out there and how long it took them to get there.

But, everyone needs to start somewhere:
- Build a quality designed site, don't be cheap.
- Post professionally written content that is unique and of high quality... the more the better.
- Target keywords strategically in the beginning, less competitive, in order to rank and get page views. You can adjust those to more competitive keywords as you build overall value in your site.
- Get quality links from trusted sites, in-content preferred. Yes, this is very difficult to do but can be done. Be very creative on how to do this, if you think outside the box you will find several ways to get them.
- When you get links, Google will think you are starting to build a brand if the anchor text is "www.AbcXyz.com" or "AbcXyz" or "AbcXyz.com"... I think you get the gist and notice the capitalized letters.

Those things alone can start your brand building and can take you a long way. No one said it was going to be easy or happen overnight, and until your making tens of millions or hundreds of millions don't plan on being considered a big brand.

You can still be a reputable and trusted brand, and make good money, just doesn't mean you're going to be a big brand.

Best of luck!

Andem




msg:4386947
 11:54 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's a great post, Yellow_Sun. Too bad you haven't written more here.

One note though:

>> Google will think you are starting to build a brand if the anchor text is "www.AbcXyz.com" or "AbcXyz" or "AbcXyz.com"

I completely agree. On one hand, Google loves adding our brand name to almost every single page we're listed for in the SERPs. From "Weird and Wacky: Widgets", we often see " - Site Name" appended. A good half of our external backlinks include our site name within the anchor text.

Here is where it gets tricky. Since Panda especially, but even dating a year or more before, sites outranking us *do not* contain their brand name, but artificial anchor text that no human being would use.
It seems like

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet et <a href="http://example.com/cheap_widgets.htm">cheap widgets</a>, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.

seems more important than

So my wife was out the other day shopping and came across <a href="http://example.com/cheap_widgets.html">a handy device from brand</a> and so far, we're pretty happy with it.

My first ever and only consultation with an SEO company (very expensive in the U.S.) gave me several examples 3 months ago of their clients pulling in thousands of visitors a day with sneaky and unnatural-looking injections of keywords in real, quality articles.

I don't think brands in that sense have much to do with ranking in Google these days.

Shatner




msg:4386967
 12:49 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I told you how to act like a big brand online. You don't want to do it, I don't care.

Acting like a Big Brand does not make you a Big Brand.

It may allow you to fool a few search engines in some niches, but it will not allow you, for instance, to fool something like GNews.

You're basically sidestepping the question.

Or are you saying that if you simply act like a Big Brand, you'll become one? I've never seen a single instance of this ever happening.

Yellow_Sun




msg:4387018
 4:47 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Andem,

Thank you for the reply.

Your comments would take awhile to answer and explain in detail but I will try and sum it up as best as possible.

Your example is brand building too, just not Company Name Specific brand building. Obviously they are wanting to rank for several keywords, not just 1 or 2. That's how they become big brands, by maximizing anchor text keywords/links.... don't know any big brands that only rank for 2 keywords in Google. Also, and especially for inner-pages, they have to use your example in order to rank for the keywords they are targeting. They wouldn't use anchor text "...AbsXyz.com/hiq/..." .... just not the way to go about it.

Hope that helps answer your question, but I'm sure you already knew the answer.

CainIV




msg:4387026
 5:30 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

my anchor text is my company name


To add to this - when you get the chance, add the full company name, and address along with local number.

We do this sometimes when we comment, and the last two comments on local blogs are being counted as native citations in Google places.

Zivush




msg:4387029
 5:37 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just to mention that there're many big companies, trillion $ worth, truly brand names, that do not have a great Internet presence.
For instance, check out Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. which is the biggest generic pharm company in the world, an international company with ~ hundreds of thousands of employees and some billion$ incomes + 100 of factories all other the world.

The traffic to their Internet properties is tiny. Facebook/twitter account are shallow.

What if Teva decides to invest on the Internet presence?
Can Google or Bing recognize how big brand Teva pharm is?
Yes they can!
By the amount of news from top Internet journals other the years - Top quality links.
Plus, many offices listed on the Internet under the name of Teva.

What if I decide to become big name of pharm on the Internet?
Whom going to recognize me as a big brand?
How many "web-signals" should I send? Can I make it happen? I doubt :-)

whatson




msg:4387031
 5:44 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Millions of dollars in advertising.

wheel




msg:4387120
 12:30 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Or are you saying that if you simply act like a Big Brand, you'll become one? I've never seen a single instance of this ever happening.

I'm sorry, I'm confused. I thought you wanted to rank, and I told you how. Now you decide that's not what you want, you want to be a big brand in someone's eyes other than Google.

You're not looking for information. You're just complaining about how unfair life is.

Jez123




msg:4387164
 2:38 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

They have to be real and they have to be true


DAMMIT!

Planet13




msg:4387177
 3:22 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you want to build a *brand* that can compete with the big boys, you have to start (AS ALWAYS!) with a good business model.


That is gospel. I really wish I had followed that advice starting form the word go instead of having to play catch up.

Planet13




msg:4387179
 3:23 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ wheel and @ CainIV:

Is there a secret to getting blog owners to let you use your company name (and address, as suggested by CainIV) as anchor text?

Are those blogs that are moderated?

The decent blogs that I see require a "real" name and many of them state that they will delete comments if the username (which generally becomes a link in the comments section) is made up of keywords or business names.

Would love to know the secret.

wheel




msg:4387314
 7:38 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Shrug, I've never had the problem. My company name is my company name - that's what I use. But my company name is my official LLC or INC or whatever - it's not a keyword stuffed domain name. So it's a good thing for the blogs, it shows that real companies in the industry are commenting.

All the blogs I comment on are active, subject to high amounts of spam, and highly moderated.

In short, if you're using 'SEOcompaniesIndia" as your company name, that's a problem. If you're using 'SEOmoz" as the username, I don't know why that would be a problem - I've never seen it.

Basically they're trying to stop keyword stuffing. My company name isn't keyword stuffed, so it's OK. And I back it up with 3-5 paragraphs or relevant information (not just commentary).

This 54 message thread spans 2 pages: 54 ( [1] 2 > >
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