Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller fields a lot of search related questions that are usually technical in nature. But every now and then a branding question comes up.

In a recent Google hangout chat session John was asked if there was any actions that could be taken to address people using highly ranked review sites to hijack a brand. Whether or not it’s malicious, others can use blackhat tactics or simply claim listing that you haven’t to outrank your site for searches using brand-related terms.

Starter Tips to Beat Brand Hijackers at Their Own Game

Algorithmic factors defined by Google determine keywords that appear in organic positions, including those branded terms. The best thing a business can do is take extra steps to associate their branded terms with their website. Below are some starter tips for taking back your branded terms:

1. Update the Content on Your Site

If someone else offers high quality content about your brand or uses the right terms, you could be sitting behind them on Google. It’s time to do a thorough examination of your target keywords and create a strategy to improve your content using branded terms.

Be sure to have the spelling of your brand consistent throughout your content. This can help Google and other search engines better associate the site with your brand name, especially for startups with uncommon or newly formed names.

In addition, interlinking your brand name naturally throughout your content can help build the association even further. Don’t go overboard with this strategy, however link your brand name from top pages on your site (specifically those that receive a lot of traffic) to a place like your home page or a page you would like to build ‘brand association’ with.

2. Build Links with Your Brand Name

There’s a good chance that if you Google your brand name review sites like Yelp will pop up toward the top of the organic section. Claiming your business on review sites for starters can help you better control your branding. For search purposes, it’s also important to keep your information consistent and updated on these listing sites. Review sites are some of the easiest places to capture branded links since they often allow the business owner to setup and control the content.

Outside of review sites, any additional online PR your site receives should contain a link to your home page with your brand name used as the anchor text. This will again help Google and other search engines build a better association between the linked text and how your site should show in the SERPs.

3. Use Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

If you are still having issues or it’s taking some time for Google to recognize the work you’ve done to optimize your content and online PR campaigns, you may need to invest in PPC advertising. This could be really beneficial, especially if the site that outranks yours doesn’t have flattering things to say. Doing this until Google recognizes your brand name in the SERPs may be the quick fix you need to drive your audience to your website.

Overall SEO Improvements

When your brand’s been hijacked it’s a clear sign you’re being out SEO’d. You’ll usually have to fight fire with fire. Start by getting an SEO audit. At SearchRPM we offer free SEO reports that outline a website’s strengths and weakness. We go into even more detail when we audit a client’s website and online marketing campaigns.

Don’t let another website hijack your brand for their own gain. Take your brand back with better SEO.

Need to reclaim your brand name? Request your FREE SEO Report!

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By Michael Ramirez
SearchRPM Founder


Michael Ramirez is the Founder of SearchRPM, an Austin, TX based search marketing company that’s well-versed in Search Engine Optimization best practices. You can follow Michael Ramirez on Twitter @openmic0323 or on Google+ to see what he’s up to next.