I recently wrote an article on Digital Marketing Magazine about why you should stop obsessing about being on the first page of Google, there are lots of different reasons why traditional SEO and focusing on keyword rankings alone will not be enough to ensure a return from your online marketing efforts. One other key area you have to focus on is your brand awareness online.
Have you ever bought anything from a brand based on someone else’s recommendation? Did you perhaps check some reviews first? Maybe you saw someone on Facebook using a product that you then bought? In these examples an organic listing wasn’t used before purchase. The power of social media and review sites are other factors that can’t be ignored. People research through a variety of content channels before making a purchase such as social media, review sites, the brand website and its social channels, YouTube and asking the opinions of family and friends. What they find during this research strongly influences their decision making process so it’s important to make sure that what they find will make them want to convert and purchase.
It’s not just about the awareness of your brand for potential customers though, it’s the importance of your brand in the eyes of Google. You still want to show up in organic search listings when people search for what you’re offering so you need to invest time in building up your brand. Let me explain why.
Google knows where everyone goes on the web and what they do. There has recently been some findings that suggest there is a strong correlation between keywords and keyword + brand queries. If a lot of people are searching for ‘restaurants + Yelp’, then just searching ‘restaurants’ will be more likely to show a result from Yelp in a good position in the search results. If a specific brand is usually searched for in relation to a specific keyword, Google knows that keyword is very relevant for your brand and will be more likely to rank it. Rand from Moz recently did a Whiteboard Friday on this subject and he describes the equation that explained this phenomenon as the ‘site quality score’:
He says: “So branded divided by non-branded equals some sort of site quality score for keyword X. If a lot more people are performing a search for ‘Trip Advisor + California vacations’ than are performing searches for just ‘California vacations’, then the site quality score for Trip Advisor when it comes to the keyword ‘California vacations’ might be quite high.”
Rand takes this further and suggests that Google could also be taking clickstream into this equation. A clickstream is the journey for a web surfer where more than one click takes you to the destination where you find your ’answer’. If a person clicks on a Tweet and goes onto an article which links to the site where the journey ends – that’s a signal to Google that the initial link was relevant to the end destination. Google earlier this year made a deal with Twitter to get access to Twitter’s firehose data stream, so it’s more likely that social referrals will play a greater role in the ranking algorithm.
If this is indeed the case we need to make sure that people find what they’re looking for through content placed in front of people at the right place at the right time. We need to make sure that a brand is connected to the keywords that is most relevant to it and promote that brand online in conjunction with the right content. Attracting traffic from all different types of mediums, such as email, social media, content, and word-of-mouth, all becomes important for the brand. They all play a part in SEO.
Here at Zeal we’ve chosen to call our SEO offering Organic Promotion, promoting your brand online is essential in todays SEO landscape. We also offer an all-encompassing strategy through our Zeal Buzz offering that is our brand engagement branch of Zeal. It includes SEO, online PR, content marketing, video content, and social media. All designed to give brands a voice, raise profiles, generate traffic and engage with people in the right way. So don’t think search engine optimisation, think brand optimisation!
We also offer brand workshops to help you figure out your brand voice and image before embarking on a wider online marketing strategy. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more.