SMX Seattle experts suggest that businesses should focus on making their brands authorities through localization, content marketing and social media.

Marketers have long talked about the value of making your brand an authority in its niche, and experts at SMX Seattle confirm that branding has SEO benefits. Panelists suggest that local research, content marketing and social outreach can help businesses boost their brands – and reap related SEO rewards.

During the “Periodic Table of SEO” session, Matthew Brown, founder of Audience Wise (pictured), informed attendees that branding has tangible search results. Established brands attract valuable links. Plus, his research of site rankings suggests that “brand can sometimes override on-page SEO [with respect to ranking].” The takeaway for marketers should be to focus on building brand authority as part of their comprehensive SEO campaigns, and panelists had some suggestions on how to do this.

1. Consider your brand name a keyword.

The panelists suggest marketers remember to use their brand names organically across their sites. Natural link profiles will often reveal that top search queries are variations of brand names – something startups and SMBs should especially keep in mind. (Check out Brafton's related blog about brand reputation and SEO!)

2. Become a local name.

Brown advised marketers to conduct regional keyword research. He says it's basic practice to try to get your brand associated with relevant keywords, and marketers can take this further by using proxy servers to do research on which industry-related key phrases are commonly searched in targeted regions. By conducting keyword research via proxy servers, Brown says marketers will “find new competitors and new opportunities” to set themselves apart.

3. Promote your brand via social channels.

Social media marketing is also key to brand building. This is something panelists at the “Yes, Virginia, Tweeting is SEO” session build on. For instance, Elle Shelley of Zog Media explained that sharing branded links via social pages is important to getting people to identify your brand (and click, as branded URLs tell users where the link takes them!). She also reminded marketers that adopting “social behavior” and inserting brands into industry conversations is vital to becoming an authority.

4. Offer reliable, branded content on your site (and social channels … and anywhere else you might publish content).

The panelists also agree that content is key to becoming a reliable resource. Whether published on social pages or on websites, content impacts users' perceptions of a business.

This is in keeping with Google's SEO tip to focus on content. The search giant suggests that ranking-minded marketers consider whether their sites “provide original content or information, original reporting, original research or original analysis,” and the company states that Google engineers think about whether “the site is a recognized authority.”

These brand friendly SEO tips are best practices that marketers might already be applying without considering the brand-specific implications. If that's the case, start thinking more about what your SEO marketing efforts connote about your business and make becoming an authority a goal. Experts agree: it pays off.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.