A strong brand bolsters marketing efforts. From being just another provider, it transforms you into a business your audience wants to buy from.
You might not think about brand building’s relationship with organic search. After all, SEO‘s primary goal is getting brands into the top spots in Google for non-branded search terms.
Let’s dig into the relationship between SEO and brand building and how they benefit your business.
The goal of SEO is audience generation. Generally, SEO builds audiences of people who may not know you already.
Through content, SEO aims to meet searchers where they’re at, solve their problems and nurture them to conversion.
Don’t be dismayed. SEO has compounding benefits that will serve your brand – as long as your site can hold its rank. In less-competitive industries, this could last years.
Equally, the more well-written, strategic articles you publish, the easier to rank.
The more ranks you land in top positions, the more clicks you get. Therefore, more people will know who you are.
To this extent, SEO builds brand awareness.
2. Brand recognition
If your brand isn’t ranking for a desirable keyword, someone else – a competitor – will be.
Even the most well-known brands should take SEO seriously and claim spots at the top of SERPs.
Granted, you’ll rank for your brand name anyway, but what about all other questions, queries, and problems surrounding your product or service?
A strong brand equals trust, likely improving your click-through rate (CTR). But you can only take your share of clicks and traffic if you’ve made the efforts required to rank.
When people see your brand in SERPs for a non-branded keyword, you want people to click on your website instead of a competitor.
If you’re not there, you’re losing valuable traffic, giving it away to a competitor who showed up when the searcher needed them the most.
Don’t rest on your laurels when it comes to your brand. It only takes one brand to consistently show up when you’re not to capture the traffic that could’ve been yours.
3. Controlling the brand narrative
Without a proper SEO strategy, you could lose clicks for searches that include your brand name.
If your brand is building new audiences (as it should be), it would be best to serve user queries throughout the decision-making process.
It is SEO’s role to ensure that brand-related keywords are ranking well. And if they’re not, SEO needs to develop a plan to make this happen.
Generally, you will rank easily for your brand name, but search terms like “[brand name] reviews” or “is [brand name] trustworthy?” are anyone to take.
You could lose clicks to review websites or social media. This matters, even if they’re your accounts.
On your site, you can set up pages designed to meet search intent and funnel traffic accordingly based on what they’re searching for. You don’t have this same agility with social media, for example.
What’s worse than your owned reviews or social media platforms ranking for brand keywords is the potential of a complaint or published letter unfairly critiquing your brand.
Or, a well-intentioned advocate who hasn’t done your brand justice when answering, “Can [brand name] be trusted?”
If you haven’t done the work to show up in SERPs, then it’s open for others to take that spot.
As mentioned, the better you rank, the more traffic you get.
For more brands, it’s not enough to snipe a lucky rank eight or even a rank four on page one. Your brand should be working toward those top spots.
Kevin Indig shares the importance of click curves and how to find your own. From the graph below, Indig shows how clicks reduce with ranks.
It should be no surprise that rank 1, Page 1 has the highest clicks with close to 25% CTR on mobile. The CTR drops rapidly by rank.
When a page ranks number four, CTR is less than 10%. The graph below shows that position six or beyond can expect a less than 5% CTR.
In a study of 4 million Google search results, Backlinko found that, on average, moving up one spot in the search results will increase CTR by 2.8%. It pays to develop a strong presence in SERPs.
5. Trusted brands attract links
In this article, I have already linked to two sources, Indig and Backlinko.
To find the research, I had to perform a Google search and sift through the results until I found a source I would trust to feature in this article.
This is a perfect example of how trusted brands attract links.
If your brand is known for being a credible source of information, it is more likely to gain backlinks naturally.
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Often, when someone finds your site through search engines, it will be their first touchpoint with your brand.
If SEO and content have done their jobs well, the traffic finding your site is qualified, meaning they’re likely to convert.
And if the site serves the traffic well, there’s every chance you can convert the user, perhaps within that session.
It may be that the initial search is non-branded. This puts the user on your site for the first time.
Later, pleased with your service through the website and inspired by your offering, they search for your brand and return to the site.
With your credibility already in their minds, the second search is more likely to result in a conversion.
People buy from brands they trust, so whether your audience is booking an appointment, requesting a demo or signing up for a newsletter, SEO is about attracting qualified traffic that may convert later down the line.
SEO helps traffic solve problems and introduces them to your brand so you can capture a conversion through search or other marketing channels.
7. Revenue and profit
Traffic and conversions are great, but businesses need revenue and profit the most.
A strong SEO strategy provides answers and support to users across the entire marketing funnel. Your content and website architecture should allow your brand to keep showing up in relevant search queries.
You need a returning core audience/customers to have a brand that grows and thrives. Through SEO and content, you can prove your expertise, support your consumers and build an ongoing relationship with them.
Once a brand is trusted, sales will start to roll in.
The role of trust and brand is very obvious when looking at analytics for ecommerce sites. The pages with the most brand searches will have the highest conversion rates.
A search like “[brand name] + [product name]” is more likely to convert than a search like “How to solve [problem]?” You need a known brand before you can get that brand name, product name search.
You must answer those non-converting keywords like “how to solve [problem]?” before you can build enough trust to clinch the sale.
Even better than a one-time customer or passive subscriber is a repeat customer or an audience who engages with your emails or other marketing efforts like social media.
Your qualified audiences who once found you through a search on Google can transform into your most loyal followers and advocates.
This loyalty and retention is another fine example of SEO’s compounding efforts. Here, you can start to review Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to truly understand the benefits of those top ranks.
Advocates are perhaps your most valuable consumer. Your advocates are your loyal and retained customers first.
As you continue to look after them, they will become your champions, advocates or brand ambassadors online. You want these. Advocates share your content and recommend you to others.
Although advocacy is not the easiest thing to measure, it is indirectly impacted by SEO.
Advocates had to discover you and receive a level of service (even if it’s in your content) to build enough trust to covert, buy and become loyal and retained customers.
Where possible, advocacy should be considered in the CLV. If you can nurture customers to advocacy and each customer tells three friends who also convert, then it increases the CLV. This is one of the motivations for refer-a-friend schemes and similar.
10. More first-party data
Assuming you execute SEO and brand relations well, you will have more growth and valuable first-party data.
With larger data sets comes better analysis which you can use to make decisions to continue growing and feeding your SEO. The data provided by SEO is transferable to many forms of marketing, too.
If you know people are searching for content on Google, they’re probably searching for it on other search engines, too.
Likely, a well-placed social media post with your customers’ exact pain points (that you know from SEO) will stop a scroll and encourage engagement with your band on other forms of marketing.
SEO and branding go hand in hand
Your best chance of keeping your brand discoverable by audiences, new and old, is by building brand awareness and SEO at the same time.
Building a brand helps all your marketing channels, as does the data your SEO efforts provide.
Without SEO, your brand is at risk of ranking only for its brand name, which is useless for audience generation.
Equally, without SEO, you will lose visibility for some brand-related searches, potentially giving your warm audience away to competitors.
If you want a robust business, you are best doubling down efforts on brand awareness and audience generation, and SEO is the key to that success.
Without SEO, building audiences and keeping you relevant in the biggest search engine, it will take only one competitor to show up where you didn’t and better serve your prospective customers.
Be loud with your brand and get it in front of as many people as you can, you deserve the traffic, and your audiences will be only too glad to meet you in the SERPs.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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