From a marketing perspective, branding is a very important way to grow a user’s familiarity with your brand, in the hopes of ensuring return business. From an SEO perspective, however, it’s often argued as irrelevant.
After all, users search for product and services, not the name of the brand. Or so the theory goes, at least.
In truth, SEO and marketing are often intertwined and branding is a fine example of this. At the very least, here are a few basic scenarios to consider:
- Unless you have a very simple and memorable website URL, people may still rely on your branding to find your website
- With content on multiple platforms, including social media channels, branding can serve as a key way to connect all of your content.
- If people are familiar with your brand through your other marketing efforts – including offline content – they may search for your brand itself. This in turn makes your branding a vital keyword, just like any other.
So, what should you keep in mind when it comes to branding? Here are a few vital points across a wide area of SEO fields...
PPC – Secure Your Branding
When it comes to paid advertising - PPC – many SEO experts make the mistake of ignoring their own branding. After all, if someone is going to search for your company name, it’s more than likely that you’re very high, even number 1, in the organic results? So why pay for ads?
Because PPC ads often appear first on Google and your competitors can use your own brand against you to leapfrog in front. Of course, this also works both ways.
Blueclaw noticed a perfect example of this with Samsung’s PPC adverts. They clearly targeted the iPhone 6s – a rival product – as a keyword, ensuring paid adverts for their own product appeared.
Of course, they also had humour with it. If you’re going to appear on non-directly related queries, you should at least be honest that you’re not meeting the searcher’s intent 100% (and likely won’t get a great quality score either).
(Please note, however, that these ads don’t mention the rival brand at all, as this goes against Google guidelines).
Branding Still Equals Links
We all know that high quality links on relevant platforms offer plenty of link power. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world and it’s often difficult to control the exact anchor text or URL used.
Fortunately, even a branded term linking to your home page is relevant. It still sends signals to Google that your website has value. It’s a vital part of the backlink profile.
This is one of the reasons why it’s worth making a blog with valuable content. People will share and, while it doesn’t link to your product page, it drives traffic, adds links and gets eyeballs on your website.
This is also true if you choose to create infographics and other shareable content. Most links are going to send traffic to your home page or the page the infographic is shared on. Again, these aren’t your ideal landing pages, honestly, that’s okay. It’s really not a bad idea to have your branding consistently associated within your niche industry.
Putting It All Together
Of course, SEO and PPC work best together, so what happens when you maintain consistent branding across both channels?
This is the benefit of amplification. If your brand appears both in the organic and the paid area, users can’t help but find your website. There are studies to back this up, including this one by 3Q Digital. They noticed search listings without a brand ad appearing gained around 56% of clicks, but those with the branded ads reached 88%!
As 3Q Digital points out, this only gets better if you’re able to include the likes of knowledge graphs:
https://3qdigital.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/image009.jpg (feel free to generate an alternative + annotate if possible)
For smaller websites, consider the benefits of local listings and customer reviews. Leave no room for other companies to come up under your branding!
What About Rebranding?
If your brand isn’t working, should you rebrand? This is a difficult question and there is, unfortunately, no straight answer.
Yet there have been times when rebranding has worked. In one rebranding case study, Ben Alfrey at Brightedge changed the name of a client’s brand to better reflect their services, including a more popular, relevant keyword.
The result of this is that, while traffic for the old brand term dropped by 17%, traffic for the newer branding rose by 3,000%.
Every Little Helps
Consistency is always vital, and that’s what branding is. Even if you don’t directly notice it, good branding can result in small improvements here and there. It helps the customer experience, which is something search engines are paying more and more attention to.
Here, The Karcher Group suggests that adding a consistent header and footer across all their client’s pages brought more visitors overall. On-site, it also improved conversions by 88% (compared to the previous year).
In short, if you’re including branding as part of your SEO efforts, you have nothing to worry about. Yet, if you’re ignoring it and not including it in your PPC – or even avoiding opportunities to improve organic links – you’re only giving your website a handicap.