To begin, we want to first define “building brand awareness.” It’s the process of publishing online assets (articles, videos, podcast episodes, etc.) that are associated with your brand.
You want your personal brand to be recognized by your target audience when they search Google and social media.
To simply answer the question, “How to build brand awareness,” it involves establishing your brand's name, logo, and message consistency across your website, social media profiles, and all marketing channels that display your content.
Your content must talk directly to your audience based on the keyword phrase’s search intent. This increases conversions for your established brand.
Today, to compete as an entrepreneur, solopreneur, or micropreneur, you need to understand how to build brand awareness.
A strong online personal brand communicates that you can be trusted and are a leader in your niche.
Both potential customers and Google are demanding it. Brand awareness is of equal importance if you want to build a strong brand for your company.
If all you have is a dated website, as well as stale Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles, then you are going to have difficulty attracting new customers.
Your website, social media profiles, and online presence need to communicate your authenticity and expertise.
This demonstrates that you are the trusted solution to help customers solve their greatest business challenges…and Google can reward you for it. However, it's important to decide whether to build a personal brand vs a business brand.
Google is transitioning from dependence on keyword phrases to having brands become an entity. As a content strategy, you shouldn't go wide with their niche, but rather deep within a specific niche. This is necessary to build brand awareness and authority.
Understanding the Customers’ Journey
In order to build brand awareness, it’s important to understand today’s customer journey, as well as Google’s brand expectations. According to Wired, “You Are What Google Says You Are.”
Today, customers now control the sales process. Potential customers are smarter and conduct research to determine which businesses they feel are worth contacting.
They no longer want to be sold to but rather allowed to buy from businesses that help them first. They want to feel that the vendors they hire treat them as partners, rather than just another vendor that provides the services they need.
Customers are resisting direct sales calls and prefer to research and then contact the businesses that interest them. This is the power behind building strong brand awareness.
How Potential Customers Research Businesses
When potential customers come across your business and even when your business is referred to them, they conduct a Google search to find out more about you.
They also review your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and possibly even Instagram.
Additionally, they may reach out on social media to see if anyone has had experience working with you.
Having genuine testimonials are very important as well for good brand awareness.
Connecting with Potential Customers
The customer journey now requires that you build your personal brand online by publishing exceptional educational content that truly helps them.
Your content sends a message that you understand their challenges and can build trust that you offer the correct solution. It’s this approach that gives your brand a competitive advantage while also building trust with Google.
Increased trust equals better rankings for your digital assets which, in turn, attracts more targeted leads. The more branded properties you have ranking simultaneously on Google Page 1, the more brand awareness you’ll earn.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand what prospects are demanding from businesses before they buy; as well as what’s required to keep them as ongoing customers. The following statistics shed some light on this:
75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage (e.g., website, social media, mobile, in person)
52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications with them
63% of respondents are highly annoyed by the way brands continue to rely on the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic ad messages repeatedly and say they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting, or relevant.
To build brand awareness, it's advisable to focus your online branding activities on:
Building your personal brand by dominating Google page 1 for your brand name
Connecting with targeted traffic via exceptional educational content
Using effective lead capture to add targeted traffic to your email list
Turning your list into an attentive audience.
The human connection and truly helping people is the winning combination to attract and keep customers.
What Google Wants for Page 1 Rankings
It’s no secret that ranking on Google Page 1 is the holy grail for your brand. The following are some supporting statistics:
According to BrightEdge, 68 percent of all online experiences start with a search engine, and 53 percent of website traffic comes from organic search.
Yet, according to Backlinko, only 0.78 percent of these searchers click results on the second page of Google.
90.63 percent of websites get no organic search traffic from Google.
According to the ahrefs search traffic study, the following are the Google Page 1 traffic Statistics by top 10 rankings:
Google Top Ten Traffic Stats
To rank, Google wants you to E-E-A-T!
The EEAT acronym stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Google wants exceptional expert-level content that addresses in detail what people are searching for. The opposite is referred to as “thin content.”
This is general content that is common knowledge and usually is written to try and rank on Google page 1 for specific keywords. These sites were usually loaded with ad content.
For example, does this read like it was written by a weight loss expert for the keyword phrase “weight loss tips?”
The following weight loss tips will help you lose weight. You need to eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly. Why would Google rank that page on page 1?
Beware Google Penalties
Over the last several years, the proliferation of published online content has cluttered the Internet.
When Google wanted fresh content to rank, people published for the sake of being current, as opposed to posting quality content. It’s equivalent to polluting the Internet with junk.
For the last decade, Google has been on a mission to clean up its search results.
To improve their search results, they incorporate updates to their algorithm to remove sites from the rankings that did not provide a good user experience and/or violated their terms of service. For example:
Sites that primarily provide an abundance of advertising or “thin” (general content that provides little value.)
Sites that use SEO techniques that are considered “black hat.” These techniques are designed to game the system to gain page-one rankings.
The following are the major Google penalties:
The Google Panda algorithm update is designed to reward high-quality websites and diminish the presence of low-quality websites in the search results. This includes:
Thin content - Weak pages with very little relevant or substantive text and resources. An example is a website’s content that describes a variety of health conditions with only a few sentences present on each page.
Duplicate content – This refers to copied content that appears online on multiple websites. A larger problem is duplicate content on your own website. This is when you have multiple pages featuring the same text with little or no variation. For example, the same article with just the desired keyword phrase changed.
Low-quality content - Pages that provide little value to visitors because they lack in-depth information.
Lack of authority/trustworthiness - Content produced by sources that are not considered definitive or verified. Sites need to become recognized as authorities on their topic and entities to which a human user would feel comfortable giving their credit card information.
To continue rewarding high-quality websites, Google Penguin penalizes websites that engage in manipulative link schemes and keyword stuffing.
Low-Quality Backlinks - Backlinks from low-quality or unrelated websites, create an artificial picture of popularity and relevance in an attempt to manipulate Google into providing high rankings.
Keyword Stuffing – Web pages that use a large number of keywords or repetitions of keywords in an attempt to manipulate rankings via the appearance of relevance to specific search phrases.
Hummingbird has been cited as a complete overhaul of Google’s core algorithm.
Hummingbird provides an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the intent of searchers’ queries.
Google’s goal is to match searchers with more relevant results. It’s designed to provide quick and accurate answers to searchers’ queries ever beyond the specific keyword phrases. This is referred to as semantic search.
Semantic searching generates the most accurate results by understanding the searcher's intent, context, and the relationship between words.
RankBrain uses machine learning (the ability of machines to teach themselves from data inputs) to determine the most relevant results to search engine queries.
It uses an interpretation model to determine the searcher’s true intent. Google uses RankBrain to deliver more relevant results.
Google Helpful Content Update
The Google Helpful Content update is to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.
According to Google, “the helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they've had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn't meet a visitor's expectations won't perform as well.”
Recently, many AI (artificial intelligence) content writing tools have been released. They work by entering keyword phrases and the systems return a written article based on those keyword phrases.
The content is usually too general for branded content that needs to follow Google’s EEAT policy. However, if you use an AI tool for article research and add value and your expertise, then it can be a helpful tool.
Google is looking for your content to clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge to rank.
Google’s Transition from Keywords to Entities
Ranking well on Google page 1 used to be about keyword phrases and keyword synonyms that were used across your website’s page or post content.
Each page on a website was optimized for a less competitive keyword phrase (long-tail) with the goal of ranking the page for the keyword phrase. Google is transitioning to entity-based ranking.
What is an Entity?
As defined by Google, an entity is “A thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined and distinguishable.” This doesn’t need to be a physical object and can include colors, dates, ideas, and so on. Entities can be people, places, products, companies, or abstract concepts.
According to Neil Patel, “Entity-based SEO uses context, not just keywords, to help users find the information they seek. Entity-based SEO can be a great way to communicate the context and relevance of your brand online.”
If you want to build brand awareness and trust in your personal brand, then avoid the activities that can trigger Google penalties.
Also, providing “thin content because it’s easy to create will not help you to build brand awareness and trust with either Google or potential customers.
How to Build Brand Awareness
To compete and gain a competitive advantage, you need to have your personal online brand stand out and be memorable to your niche audience.
Additionally, you need to ensure that Google views your brand as an entity to achieve long-term rankings for non-branded keyword phrases.
For example, you can rank for a branded keyword phrase, such as “your name, niche keyword phrase, e.g., Jane Montgomery, health coach for obese men.
However, to rank for the “health coach for obese men” keyword set takes time to build trust with Google.You can achieve this by having a solid content strategy and plan to communicate your expertise and authority. This includes building your personal brand on YouTube. The best content strategy is, “Don’t go wide…go deep for a specific niche and ensure you amplify (promote) your content where your target audience hangs out online.”
The Brand Velocity Program Approach
Website is the foundation
LinkedIn profile is your resume
Branding network to communicate your entity with online expert content is your portfolio
There are many techniques that are provided by branding and marketing businesses. You need to choose a solution that works for you.
This can require a significant monthly investment. The other alternative is to do it yourself. This requires a variety of skills and has a steep learning curve. The question is, “Do you want to work on your business or spend a significant amount of time learning and testing online branding techniques to find the correct solution for your business?”
With the Brand Velocity Program, our approach is to provide an affordable solution that can differentiate you from your competition.
It provides a combination of actionable training and vetted technical resources to build your personalized branding network. This is accomplished without ongoing monthly payments.
The program includes:
- Ensuring that your branding is complete
- Checking that your website conforms to Google’s latest SEO standards.
- Building a customized integrated branding network of your social profiles and high authority public blogs across the Internet that you own.
- Connect your blog to the network so your posts are automatically syndicated across your network. Push the publish button and the distribution is fully automated.
- Access to free tools and affordable resources to provide the technical work
- Using effective techniques to obtain customer testimonials
- How to get free PR and links to your website from both authority and niche sites.
- Training and resources to ensure you provide the content required to compete in your niche.
How to build brand awareness online has become an essential step for ranking in Google search, as well as attracting new customers. Having a customized branding network along with third-party validation and customer testimonials is how to build brand awareness and generate leads.
However, you need to take your content marketing seriously to connect with your target audience. The Brand Velocity Program offers a curriculum, as well as recommended and vetted third-party technical resources to help you build your personal branding foundation.
You'll also receive access to free tools, including how to effectively use ChatGPT to create exceptional content to build your personal brand online.