In the past, SEO has focused on non-branded searches and we have built our campaigns and other marketing efforts around this fact. We direct links to our website and optimize keywords in order to rank for them. It makes sense; this is where we want to send potential customers and what key terms we want Google to associate our work. However, recent research has demonstrated that branded searches are also impacting results. If you haven’t incorporated branded searches into your marketing efforts, it is a missed opportunity for improved results and higher site traffic. So stop spamming and start branding.
What Is The Difference Between Branded And Non-Branded Searches
What is the difference between branded and non-branded searches? If, for example, your company sells promotional products you would naturally link build to your key terms (what you sell or do) and under which topics you want your website to appear in Google’s search results. This would probably be promotional products, promotional gifts, business gifts, tradeshow giveaways, etc. These are non-branded keywords. You can also create branded keywords by placing the name of your company before those same non-branded keywords. At the same time, you should also be linking to branded searches themselves, which direct to your search results page, not your actual website. Branded searches are not limited to just your actual business name. There are many other ways potential customers search for you online:
- Your brand name + reviews
- Your brand name +your product/service
- Your brand name + contact/login
- Your brand name vs. your competitor’s name
Obviously, you want to rank as high as possible for all of these, ideally with your link as the first search result. This can mean the difference between a blogger or reviewer writing about your product/service instead of your competitor. This leads us the important consideration of incorporating blended search results such as local pack, video, images, and product results. You should create a strategy for addressing these as well. For example, [brand name vs. competitor’s name] needs a video. The main idea here is to collect and organize all of your branded search queries for maximum results.
Brand Searches Impact Search Results
Google associates brands with sets of keywords and places significant weight on how many times your brand is searched. This, in turn, impacts search results. If you look in Google Trends and put 4-5 brands in, usually the brand with the most brand searches also gets the most organic traffic from non-branded searches. The reasons behind this are two-fold; Google places the highest priority on stopping spammers, and they want to provide accurate and relevant results for searchers.
By focusing on branded searches you will also impact non-branded results. When your branded search starts showing up more, you begin to affect search suggestion. This means that over time Google will associate your brand with your key terms and it will appear in search suggestions, probably towards the bottom of the list. This is a good way to stop spamming and start branding.
Making Your Brand Relevant To Google
If your brand starts appearing in more searches for “promotional products”, Google will start to see your brand as a very relevant result for “promotional products” since people are searching for it, and they will move it higher in the search results for promotional products.
Your brand will also appear in “related searches” when you have more branded search results. This does just what it sounds like, and suggests to the searcher that they should consider reviewing these related searches as well. The related searches results are also influenced by content, which we will discuss more below.
Now That You Understand Why It Is Important To Influence Branded Search Results, Here Are Some Tips On How To Do It:
- Optimize your website for your keywords – You need to make sure that your website is optimized for your search terms, as it will ensure you are viewed as trustworthy by Google’s. It also tells Google which searches you want to show up in.
- Content – Once you have optimized, you need to start thinking about ways you can get people to search for your brand. Guest posting, content marketing, public relations (events and sponsorship) are all ways to drive people to learn more about your brand. This can include adding something like ”read what others are saying about us” and linking to the search results for your company to your content. Again, the key is linking to your search results page, not your actual website. Perhaps including and mentioning a coupon on your Google business page? In a way, you are helping people to “search” your brand even when they aren’t actually initiating it.
- Embedding Searches – This can be tricky and could be done through content, through email, or over social networks. You are basically driving people directly to your search result page by embedding the link itself or suggesting they search and check it out on their own.
- Traditional Media Mentions – TV, radio, magazines, and billboards are still relevant. If people hear and see your brand, they will want to learn more about it. An example could be while you are being interviewed or speaking at a local event, you encourage people to search for your products or services on their mobile devices.
- Influence Trusted Web Documents – Find Google trustworthy places that are indexed on the web where you’d like your brand name to be associated, and find ways to influence authors to consider including your brand in their documents. You can also create content that does so and asks them to post it.
The bottom line is you will not see good results through Google search unless people are looking for your brand. Come up with ways you can get people to search for your brand, not just your keywords. The goal is to establish your brand as a legitimate search result, and not be incorrectly identified as a spammer. In the end, you need to stop spamming and start branding.
Guest Blogger Bio:
John Wieber is Partner at WebMoves.net, a hands-on internet marketing company. He has 15+ years of experience in web development, eCommerce, and internet marketing. He has been actively involved in the internet marketing efforts of more than 100 websites in some of the most competitive industries online.