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How would you describe SEO as a concept? Some may call SEO a necessary evil and describe a constant battle against updates and algorithms. Others may say SEO is obsolete, citing Google's move to natural language processing and hatred of over-optimized websites.
However, thanks to the ever-increasing opportunities to reach new audiences, SEO should be viewed as an essential branding resource – if not the ultimate resource. Despite everything, SEO still gives you control over your brand's online presence.
For this reason, you should be curious about Google's Core Web Vitals Update for Page Experience Signals, not fearful or irritated.
60 percent of people say they discovered their favorite brand while doing something other than shopping online, such as scrolling through search results or watching videos. Use strategic SEO for brand recognition across multiple touchpoints, build loyalty by meeting expectations for the content, and potentially become someone's new favorite brand.
1. Google loves top-of-funnel content
The job of Google is to answer questions and inquiries. With a few exceptions (many of which contain branded terms), most searches are informative. These users want search results with general answers and ideas – perfect for top-of-funnel content.
Pick long-tail keywords that are highly relevant to your brand's expertise and create comprehensive long-form content around each one. Include semantic keywords and questions as subheadings. Add some branding graphics and you can start building your brand with SEO.
Start over. Check your current ranking pages to make sure they fall within your expertise and provide comprehensive answers.
2. Almost every page can rank in the top stories after the May update from Google
We shouldn't be overly sure how Google's May Core Web Vitals update (or any other update) will affect overall ranking and SEO. However, we do know that Google plans to allow non-AMP pages to be ranked in Top Stories.
These are the results in a snippet from Google News when someone does a general Google search on a hot topic. Simply submit your website to Google News, optimize your digital experience and enjoy instant branding for relevant top stories.
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3. Image searches with low competition go well with branding
Publish and optimize high quality branded images now, and your SEO is ready to move forward with Google's long term plan. AI-powered visual search is improving every day in other apps, so we should expect big changes from Google here too soon.
Also, Google pulls relevant images for certain types of snippets. Optimize all of your images to get the most potential out of SEO as a branding tool.
4. People trust organic results – not paid ads
An estimated 27 percent of people use ad blockers, and another 70 to 80 percent ignore actively paid search results instead of going straight to organic results. People don't trust ads because they know anyone can pay to get them there.
From this point of view, what looks better for branding: pay to appear at the top of results or rank organically for the same keyword? This is why you see leading brands prioritize organic SEO even though they have the budget for PPC ads.
5. Google's Core Web Vitals update could make up for this
Google gave up websites and marketers a six month warning to prepare for the Core Web Vitals update. Also, Google has revealed surprisingly detailed factors it will use to rate websites for the digital experience along with a new real-time report in Search Console.
This transparency is very atypical for Google, so we should all take it seriously. Missing sites could go away, giving sites with great digital experiences space to consolidate their branding.
Connected: Can you find the hidden images in these 40 brand logos? (Infographic)
6. With SEO you can build authority within relevant keyword groups
How does Google decide what is ranked? In all honesty, we shouldn't get into the details that much, other than this one important point: Google EAT aka. Competence, authority and trustworthiness.
By consistently posting authoritative and trustworthy content on topics that are within your specialty (and only within your specialty), you'll get Google's attention.
Once you demonstrate your expertise and trustworthiness through content engagement, Google could elevate your brand to authority over entire keyword groups. Brands dominate the organic search results in their industry – and it all starts with you sticking to your core competency.
7. Make yourself a household name with SEO for voice search
25 percent of adults in the US now own a smart speaker. That only sounds promising for voice search branding when you consider the voice commands from smartphones, which 54 percent of US adults have used and 25 percent do so on a daily basis.
Increase your brand's chances of becoming a household name by using popular questions in your expertise as subheadings and a simple answer right below.
Write naturally and optimize your high-level expert content for voice search first – remember, EAT.
8. Advanced search result snippets are in the works
All of the above best practices for voice search SEO and branding potential also apply to Google snippets – more are in the works. According to Google, a post-core Web Vitals world can have more image previews, text snippets, and even visual indicators next to each page in SERPs.
The idea is to add more context to each search result so that users can decide what is worth clicking on. In other words, more branding opportunities to stand out.
Connected: The basics of branding
9. Video searches also use SEO and snippets
85 percent of people with Internet access watch online videos at least once a week. On YouTube alone, people consume over a billion hours a day. Videos are going nowhere so we should respect what they can do for branding.
Check it out on Google. Google owns YouTube but still offers various video results from several streaming websites. You can optimize your text for relevant keywords within YouTube. Video is the future (and present) for SEO and branding.
10. SEO and branding promote integrity in everything you post
When you view SEO as an important branding tool, it becomes much more difficult to publish mediocre content "for the sake of something". You have a deeper respect for the potential impact of your brand, and integrity suddenly comes first in all content, creating a positive cycle for SEO and branding.