Why Your SEO Strategy Should Primarily Focus on Brand Building
Google always prefers to rank branded websites ahead of less established businesses in the search results. The reason is pretty straightforward - brands provide a much better user experience as compared to their smaller counterparts.
In the words of Eric Schmidt, Exec. Chairman, Alphabet Inc., "Brands are the solution, not the problem...brands are how you sort out the cesspool."
For example, if you are searching for "sofas online" then you can find results from Amazon.com at the top of the search results because it is a well-established brand. Comparatively, a site owner running a site named “buysofasonline.com” has less of a chance of ranking higher, because using keywords in the domain can’t necessarily establish a business as a brand. This is the reason that your SEO strategy should primarily focus on building your brand.
People Are More Likely to Buy From Brands
As an SEO, your primary focus should not be on obtaining higher organic rankings for your client’s website because even if you are able to achieve higher rankings, people won’t buy from your client! Why? Because people are more likely to buy from brands.
As per a survey conducted by Nielsen, "Sixty percent of global consumers with Internet access prefer to buy new products from a familiar brand rather than switch to a new brand".
What does this mean? You need to make the brand popular instead of promoting only the domain name. Domain alone can’t get you sales, but proper branding can.
Now, let me give you some examples to explain this in detail. When looking for men’s shoes online, which shoe brand are you most likely to choose from the below options suggested by Google?
Without a doubt, you are most likely to go with Levis because it is well-known and recognized brand.
Similarly, when searching for top SEO tools for 2018, Google returns the below set of search results:
Which search result are you most likely to click on? I am sure it’s going to be Hubspot because you instantly recognize a brand and filter them from a list of less popular domains. This is what branding can do to CTRs.
Google Displays Brands in Extended Search Results and Google Suggest
Brands receive a preferential treatment from Google when users search with the brand name. Google displays a list of snippets from the brand site resulting in enhanced visibility.
Similarly, Google now auto-suggests before the user finishes typing.
Have a look at the below screenshots to better understand this:
Courtesy: SEO Book
5 Steps To Build Your Brand
Every brand must select and follow its own niche. You can’t be the master of all trades, hence it makes sense to pick your own niche and build your brand presence in that particular niche. Here is how you can do that:
1. Create and Unique Logo and UX Friendly Website
Building a brand starts with a powerful logo and a faster UX friendly website. Here is how you can achieve both:
- Use a tool like Tailor Brand to create a stunning custom based logo for your brand. Tailor Brand is not an ordinary logo creation tool - it is an AI-powered complete branding solution to build your brand. To get started, you can try creating a logo for free, just by entering some basic information about your company and identifying the designs you prefer. You can choose the ideal logo to represent your company’s personality and brand. The end result is a design that is adaptable, powerful and perfectly matches your company’s branding strategy.
Build a faster website using any website building platform that is quick and easy to use. You must choose a website builder that exactly matches the current needs of your business.
Take the help of Google Page Speed Insights to find suggestions to improve your page speed.
Use HTTPS to secure your site and improve the user experience.
Optimize your site images by cropping and compressing the picture.
Disable plugins that are not in use and cut down on external scripts.
Take the help of browser caching by installing plugins like W3 Total Cache.
Ensure that your backlinks deliver on user expectation. A study by WooRank revealed that more than a tenth — 12.2% to be exact — of ecommerce backlinks send users to a page with a 404 status.
Create AMP Pages to enable faster loading of your webpages on mobile devices which can drastically improve the user experience.
Take the help of CDN to increase the load time of your site.
Overall, your website must fulfill the different aspects of the user experience as given in the below diagram suggested by Neil Patel.
2. Pick Niche Keywords and Create Content Around Those
Login to Google Keyword Planner and enter your brand name. Look under the keyword ideas section to see the search terms Google is able to relate your brand to. Have a look at the below screenshot to get the idea:
This is a good place to start thinking about the niche to target and become a brand authority.
Once you have identified your niche, the next step is to find as many relevant long tail keywords as possible and create Q&A styled content on the selected topics. This will help to improve your brand presence in the Google Answer boxes. More people will know about your brand, leading to increased branded search queries. Have a look at the below screenshot to get an idea:
3. Leverage The Power of Storytelling
It has been rightly said that:
"Tell me a fact and I’ll learn.
Tell me a truth and I’ll believe.
But tell me a story
And it will live in my heart forever."
Successful brands are those who are intelligent enough to use the power of storytelling.
Every individual has an attention span of 8 seconds and in these 8 seconds you have to win the attention of the user. Storytelling is the best way to do that.
Airbnb is the perfect example of a brand which is killing it with effective storytelling. The community stories section in the Airbnb website is a great place to find some excellent examples as to how you can leverage the power of storytelling to make your brand popular.
4. Use Video Marketing
Nowadays, people are not interested in reading long boring texts. Instead, people are more interested in reading interactive content that contains videos and images.
Your video should be a reflection of your brand’s personality. Here are some great tips to get started:
Keep the introduction of the video inspiring, entertaining and informative.
Focus on your brand mission and less on the promotion of products or services.
Make sure your video is mobile friendly and well-optimized.
65% of your audience are visual learners. Use music and other video enhancements to educate your audience.
Always create a video sitemap and make sure that your video is tagged with relevant keywords.
Publish your videos on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social channels.
5. Optimize Your Social Channels
You cannot achieve the best branding results unless your brand is popular on social media. Follow the below strategies to optimize your social channels in order to improve your social media reputation and branding:
- Make sure your social goals solve the problems of your target audience.
Optimize your social profile by using your brand logo, company name and company profile. Use a link back to your website so that people know what your company does.
Have an omnichannel presence and reach the customer whenever they need you.
Engage with the customers instead of ignoring them.
Focus on networking, especially on LinkedIn.
Use tools like Mention to monitor your brand and respond whenever necessary.
Use relevant keywords and hashtags in your posts.
Use branded cover images and make sure people are able to recognize your brand across all of your targeted channels.
Share videos in your social channels and use Facebook Live to directly interact with your audience.
Track your social performance and constantly try to improve your performance.
Factors that impact brand awareness are having a well-designed site, producing effective content and presence of brand during the crucial micro-moments. Improving brand presence not only in the search engines but also in the minds of the consumers should be your primary strategy when promoting your website.