Historically, online PR and SEO have been two mutually exclusive disciplines, but in recent years they have become much more convergent. The main change came after the Penguin and Panda updates of Google’s algorithm, which made it harder for SEO to be successful without good, relevant content.
Nowadays, online PR and SEO have a lot of overlap in practices, goals and – most importantly – their needs. In this article, I will explore brand monitoring, which I define as “the systematic tracking and controlling of relevant brand and product related keywords with the goal to maintain reputation, build brand image and improve visibility.”
So how can brand monitoring benefit you? Here are six reasons to start brand monitoring today:
1. Find out what is being said about your brand
Ideally, the efforts of your online PR and SEO teams should generate a lot of discussion about your brand and products. The question here is how to capitalize on this in every way possible.
Let’s say there is a lot of positive discussion taking place about your products. You would want to know what is being said and where, but more importantly what you can get out of it. Positive discussion can lead to a backlink, guest blogging opportunity and more – as long as you take the time to contact the other party and form (or strengthen) a relationship.
What about when the discussion is not all positive? By tracking keywords related to your brand, you are able to find out in real time what is being said and where. You can connect with the people doing the bad talking, do damage control and even learn from the experience. Most importantly, by tracking your brand or product related keyword, you give yourself the chance to take control of a negative situation if, and when, it occurs.
2. Keep an eye on your competitors
Doing things which your rivals are not doing is important, because that’s where your real competitive edge comes from. But, by tracking and reacting to your competitor’s activity, you also ensure you remain competitive on points of parity.
Tracking your competitors’ online activity is simply good marketing tactics. Your online PR and SEO team should work together to make sure your brand is represented where your competitors’ is, connect with players your competitor engages with and rank for keywords your competitor ranks for.
Find out what the focus keywords of your competition are; the process is the same as doing keyword research for your own brand or website. Check out Chapter 5 of Rand Fishkin’s Beginner Guide to SEO to learn more about keyword research.
3. Generate highly relevant backlinks
A key activity in SEO is link building, and these days most of the ways you build links require you to engage with people. There is an online PR element attached to link building, and you can use brand monitoring technology to find web pages that mention keywords relevant to your brand and products. If there isn’t already a link to your site or earned media mentioning your brand, then your SEO or Online PR team should get in touch with them and request one.
4. Connect with new influencers and multipliers
One crucial success factor in SEO is the amount of people that engage with and share your content. Assuming your content is stellar to begin with, the more people you can reach with your content, the better the chances that you meet future collaborators. Influencers and multipliers play an important role in this strategy.
A proven method of identifying influencers and multipliers is through keyword related tracking. Track your brand, industry or product-related keywords to be notified each time a new source has been identified. Then enter the information about the source into a CRM system. Finally, begin building a relationship through tiered, strategic outreach.
With this approach, you can steadily identify and connect with influencers and multipliers and build a robust network of collaborators over time.
5. Evaluate your content seeding efforts
In SEO and content marketing, virality is great to have for getting return on your efforts. Content has a higher chance of becoming viral if it’s seeded properly and in as many places as possible. The Content Promotion Ecosystem provides a great framework for leveraging all the different channels and methods you can to seed and promote your content.
Once you’ve made your best efforts to seed your content, you’ll naturally want to evaluate your returns. Monitor links and keywords related to your brand and products to discover just how many different sources ended up linking, mentioning, and sending traffic to your site.
6. Discover new seeding channels
The more places you seed your content, the more backlinks and traffic you will generate for your website. However, Google’s continuous tightening of its algorithm means many websites are no longer receptive to link building and content seeding. The focus is now on link earning and collaborative seeding practices.
Every website where your brand or product is mentioned represents a potential seeding channel. The challenge is finding them and communicating with the people behind them. Find them by monitoring your brand and product related keywords; connect with them via social media, email or simply by picking up the phone and having a talk.
Implementing brand monitoring can do all of the following for your organization:
- Make it possible to take control and respond on time when there is a public discussion about your brand and products.
- Enable you to be aware of your competitors’ actions and help you prepare counter-strategies.
- Facilitate backlink generation by finding sources which already mention your brand or products.
- Refine the evaluation of your seeding efforts by gathering sources and social signals that would otherwise take very long to collect.
- Expand your online PR network and directly influence your SEO performance simultaneously.
- Aid in the discovery of new seeding channels by finding sources which have overlapping context and content with your brand and product.
What has been your experience with brand monitoring? Which strategies do you use to monitor your brand and product related keywords?