Brand Promise, SEO and Keywords

Brand Promise, SEO and Keywords – not just dreams and pixie dust

brand promise faerie
Photo by Sarah Mak on Unsplash

Last week, we talked about cartoons and voice search. This week, it’s the brand promise, keywords and SEO. The magic here at Risky Content never, ever ends.

Whenever I meet a new professional colleague, a business leader, or interview for a job, I ask this question – “Does your business have a brand promise?” Too many businesses don’t, which I find irksome.

Brand promise is something that a lot of companies don’t give enough thought to. “Brand failure” is a terrible term and ignoring the digital aspects of weak branding can compound into SEO failure. Brand promise and effectiveness in search are directly related.

This isn’t just a foofy, feel good question. In my research, I have not yet found a percentage of companies that have a distinct brand promise (most large companies do.) But what is shocking is how many business leaders think that the brand promise is something for the “soft” side of the business, and is merely theoretical. I usually wow them with this nugget – “have you considered the role that your brand promise plays in keywords and SEO?”

How the Lizard Does It – Keywords and Brand Promise

geico seo brand promise
(c)2018 Geico

A great example that I always like to bring up is maybe one of the best brand promises in the biz – Geico’s brand promise. By way of this iconic phrase, Geico does amazing things:


Give us fifteen minutes or less, and we'll give you 15 percent off of your car insurance.

From an SEO and keyword point of view, a succinct, well-developed brand promise gives you the heart and seed of your content and search strategy.

The brand promise gives you:

  • A core tier of initial keywords to start building your list from. We already have from the brand promise keyword phrases such as
Car Insurance 15% Off
15 Minutes 15% off
Give us 15 minutes insurance bargain
Give us 15 minutes insurance savings
Save money car insurance
Save money car insurance now
Save money car insurance 15%
Save money car insurance fast
15 minutes 15% off car insurance
15 minutes car insurance save money

… and so on.

The Brand Promise,keywords, SEO and Searcher Intent

Since searchers will be entering in keyword phrases based on intent, media which contains the brand promise will have positive cyclic SEO effects. This can also be applied to hashtags, keyword lists used in paid media, and competitor analysis.

On the other hand, not having a well-developed brand promise makes SEO and content work harder. Use of one’s own brand promise for keyword/hashtag development and use of competitor’s brand promises in competitor analysis should be tools that content marketers, paid media managers and SEOs use in their efforts.

So, in addition to all the usual benefits that a well developed brand promise gives, a tight brand promise makes it easier to conduct SEO and paid efforts and to develop content. I call that a four way win!

What do you think? How would you implement your brand promise in SEO and content? Reach out to me at or tweet at me via @riskycontent. Keep it handy and brandy, kids.

Voice Search, Cartoons and SEO – What’s Up Doc?

bugs bunny voice search SEO
(c)2018 Warner Bros




Visual storytelling and voice search – the logic of cartoons in SEO

Did you ever watch cartoons when you were a kid? Voice search and cartoons? What are you talking about, Risky?

I did. Lots. I preferred Warner Brothers – Merry Melodies was the gold standard – but I also took in Hanna Barbera and a bunch of other stuff on saturday mornings. The high point of my week when I was 8 was loading up a big bowl of cereal and parking myself in front of the TV for a block of 4 hours of cartoons on ABC, CBS and NBC, including Scooby Doo, Super Friends and a host of others. I also enjoyed after school re-runs of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Flintstones and all sorts of other kids fare when I was growing up on the 70’s and 80’s.

What on Earth does this have to do with voice search?

What’s up, Doc? Content, scripts, audio, video and voice search – the current conjunction of voice search SEO

A recent story at Search Engine Watch talks about the future of voice search, and how voice search will become a growing segment of search. This means that content creators like you and me will need to understand the flow and workings of spoken speech as well as written text. This is the domain of voice artists, video content producers, and others who deal in voice over. Spoken story telling will start to integrate directly with search, especially as content producers are called upon to create scripts that work well with voice search SEO. Many folks think this is simply an aspect of video production, but understanding the conjunction of voice scripting, visual media and user intent will be vital for SEO, especially as mobile video becomes the predominant SEO concern for professionals.

Cadence, visual storytelling, voice search and SEO

The ability to match spoken cadence to visual moving story telling is the domain of film making and, more succinctly, cartoons and animation, which is expert with creating visual action that directly matches the spoken world. The video content producers of today are the disciples of animators and story board masters who combined the recording booth with the drawing table.

So, a set of SEO rules for voice content will develop, since the search engines will crawl and index elements of mp3 files and audio they do for visual content now. Further, the need to optimize other contents for voice will arise. According to Search Engine Journal, this is already a thing.

Thus, a cycle of content creation development will begin where the SEO elements of content won’t be judged separately, but will be evaluated by the search engines on a combined basis. Say you have this video your agency developed for a fashion brand. You may need to optimize your script and voice work to optimize for voice search. Remember that nearly all voice search will be done on mobile, so your strategy can not be in silos. I’ll be talking about how voice search and mobile interact in later articles, but for now, make sure to think about how your users will be using their devices to get to your site and their search intent.

Watching cartoons and search marketing – conclusions for voice search SEO

Voice search is growing quickly. SEO Hacker shares with us the latest developments in voice search. Also check out their news on the latest and best voice search apps. It’s not just a Siri world.

That gives us these takeaways:

  • Content Creators, for professional development, should learn about how to script creation for video content even if they do not work in that particular vertical in digital marketing. As search engines come to be able to more deeply parse the audio aspect of video content, being able to match content to user phrases will be vital.
  • Brand and user experience will conjoin with the interaction of video, voice search and mobile SEO. Content creation and SEO will have to focus on creation easy voice search experiences. As voice search AI becomes better, this will become easier, but SEOs and paid media professionals will need to strive to make the user experience as good and easy as possible.
  • As adults, you have every right to watch cartoons on your 4K widescreen with a big bowl of serial whenever you want.

Voice search ain’t silly stuff, doc

So, understanding the visual grammar of cartoons and storytelling can help you with voice search and SEO. Smart and rascally SEO rabbits understand this.

I think Bugs would be amazing at content development and SEO.

bugs bunny SEO
Image – Jordan Daily (c) 2018 and (c) Warner Bros

PS – check out my latest articles – Copy Is A User Experience and Content SEO 2017

Content SEO New York 2017: Announcement, Shout Outs and More

Hello! Here’s a D20 for no particular reason except that I am a nerd:



This is kind of a filler post. As I’ve been dealing with some family issues lately, the publication schedule has slowed. However, I will be writing on these topics, come later this month and June:

  • Inbound on a Budget – how to set up an inbound content program on the cheap, complete with CRM and blogging!
  • The Human Factor in Email – For all the talk about automated email marketing platforms, it’s the human engagement that leads to sales, conversions and actionable business intel
  • Everything you are getting wrong about buyer personas (or, you’re misinterpreting all those bright, shiny Ebooks)
  • Risk measurement in content creation. Hey, gotta live up to my name.

I also plan on doing an ebook soon. The topic? That’s a secret. It’s gonna be about content marketing and SEO, though. And it may surprise you.

Want to meet me? I will be in attendance at the Content SEO New York event on May 17 representing NY Daily News Digital Solutions. It’s a breakfast event, so let me buy you a coffee.

Also, some shout outs – you should all read the blogs of my good friends Silver Smith who writes the AG Search Blog, as he talks lots of great stuff about SEO, reputation management, and PR. Tara Clapper runs The Geek Initiative, a great pop culture blog with an emphasis on women in geek culture. Finally, my good nerd brother Simon Peter Munoz who runs the Creative Repository Blog. While not a digital professional, he certainly has great SEO chops and knows his way around Google Analytics. These people are class and I am proud to know them. Also check out SEO Smarty, run by my content hero Ann Smarty. Ann runs #vcbuzzchat every week where content marketing experts exchange great learnings about SEO, PR and most of all content marketing.

And, if you’re a good, worthy person, you’re certainly following the Daily News Digital Solutions blog and social media channels, which I manage. Just sayin 😉

Anyway, stay tuned. More SEO and content goodness to come!

Copy Is A User Experience: 5 Basics To Great SEO Copywriting

Copy Is A User Experience

I’m a blogger and copywriter by trade. While I could go into how content is often devalued (which I will save for another post), I often get from clients, stakeholders and other partners I work with, “why does it take so long? Can’t you work faster?” The old adage that you can’t have something fast, good and cheap all at once is especially true when creating text content. While we all work under different constraints and market conditions, it’s vital to understand that bad content is the equivalent of pouring your marketing budget down the drain. It’s the exact same thing as if you were not optimizing for ad impression share in an Adwords campaign or refusing to mark up structured data for an online shopping campaign. All online writers should master the basics of SEO copywriting.

Grammar and style is SEO optimisation

While Google has made no formal pronouncement in regards to grammar, spelling and style as ranking factors, the SEO community generally feels that grammar, spelling and style are among the 200+ ranking factors in the algorithm, as discussed in this recent Grammarly article.

Carlos Escelera at shares an interesting quote from Matt Cutts of Google on all things, spelling:

"We noticed a while ago that, if you look at the PageRank of a page (how reputable we think a particular page or site is) the ability to spell correlates relatively well with that. So, the reputable sites tend to spell better and the sites that are lower PageRank, or very low PageRank, tend not to spell as well."

So, what this means is that copy, style, spelling, readability and grammar are important. Old school copy editing are essential for good SEO. Copy editing is a user experience issue and will have a direct impact on SEO performance (and SEM as well, since Quality Score is directly influenced by readability and UX.

5  Basics For Solid Copywriting SEO

Here are 5 solid techniques that will give you a solid floor when creating text copy for online use. These can be extended out to such things as Ebooks, various types of ad creative depending on ad unit type 0 Ad Words, display, and so on.

Note that these are the basics. There are lots of tips and tricks that will help you increase conversions and click through rates. This is more focused on making articles simply easier to read with an eye towards online, especially mobile. SEO copywriting starts with user experience, and continues with such things like keyword optimization.

Your 5 SEO Copywriting Basics Checklist:

  • Get a grammar and spell checking plugin. Of course, I love Grammarly. It has both paid and free Chrome and Firefox versions. When you’re behind a deadline and don’t have time for a conventional spell check, this is it. Grammarly also offers grammar correction suggestions. For SEO copywriting it’s an essential tool.
  • Read the piece aloud to yourself. This is a magazine editor’s trick – print the completed piece out and read it aloud to yourself. Do this preferably with someone else listening as well. Copy should sound natural to the human ear. If it doesn’t, then your grammar is probably screwed up, and you’ll need to correct your copy.
  • Use plain language – plain language is easier to read and understand. Copy that is that is brief and slang free is easier for the search engines to parse. It’s also easier to edit and proof. Dense and complex language is harder to read and increases the likelihood of such things as cart abandonment. “too long, didn’t read” is indeed a thing, especially in the mobile world where time and screen real estate is limited. If you do need to use technical language, include relevant links to explanations.
  • Keep it brief – As the Bard wrote – “brevity is the soul of whit.” This is especially true with 140 characters. One trick I use is to arbitrarily enforce a word limit on my writing that is 200 words less than the mandate, as this forces me to tighten my style and verb structure and ironically forces me to open room if I need to expand elsewhere in my text – for example, if I need to include keyword phrases or a call to action I may have forgotten earlier. Making the point succinctly is a hugely valuable skill, especially when composing meta descriptions, titles, alt tags and structured data for SEO projects. I often put my text into an Excel cell and use =LEN(A) and then lower word count.
  • Get another set of eyes – Even if you have to do the rest of the formal copy process yourself, always have someone do a proofread. This is simply sensical.

These are not technical SEO steps. These are user experience steps.