Starting a new brand is an exciting time, with lots of fun and interesting things to think about. From hiring staff and designing your logo, to choosing colours and creating your website.
But one aspect of launching a brand that is essential but often overlooked is SEO.
Good search engine visibility can help your business save money on marketing and get your brand in front of the people who matter. To help you get started, we’ve put together some top SEO tips to consider when creating a new brand.
Tip 1 – Keyword Research
Keyword research is always a good place to start with SEO. Understanding what people are searching for gives you an idea of which phrases you could use, but also what competitors are ranking for and any words or phrases to avoid.
There are lots of SEO tools out there, but two that we use are Google’s Keyword Planner and the Keyword Explorer in Ahrefs.
Both tools give you metrics like average monthly search volumes, so you know how many people are searching for those terms monthly. There are also ‘difficulty’ scores, so you know how difficult certain keywords are to rank for.
*SEO Hint Search Volumes change in different countries and keywords can mean different things in different countries so remember to do your research.
Tip 2 – Do a Google Search
So you’ve picked a new brand name – hurray! But have you done any due diligence? Before spending any money on URLs or creating a website, a quick Google search for your name can save you a lot of time and effort later.
A brand search will reveal what is currently ranking within Google for that word or phrase. This will give you instant insight into whether you could (or should!) compete for your desired brand keyword.
Some common mistakes associated with choosing a brand name include:
- Choosing a brand name that is already associated with another website or online property.
- Choosing an overly generic name so you have to compete with sites like Wikipedia and BBC.
A good example of this is when housesimple.com rebranded to strike.co.uk. A quick brand search for “Strike” will show this:
Although the brand now ranks 1st organically, they are still competing with several other websites on similarly worded things like TV Series information, the BBC, IMDB information and dictionary definitions for the term “Strike”.
This means that overall, they do not dominate their own brand results page within Google and are also running Paid Advertising which will be costing money.
Tip 3 – Check the History of a domain
You have chosen your brand name so now you need to buy your domain. Even if a domain is up for sale, it still might have a history of poor SEO practices. Like buying a car, we always recommend doing a few checks, so you know exactly what you’re buying.
The first check would be to run the site through a tool like the Wayback Machine, this tool records snapshots of domains from the past so you can see if any previous websites have used your domain.
For https://strike.co.uk/ we can see that there were other websites on the domain in the past:
You can also run the domain through tools like Searchmetrics or SEMrush to identify if the website has ranked organically for anything in the past.
Using SEMrush we can see that there was no historical organic performance for the domain, just growth from the launch of the new site – a sign that there have been no issues.
Knowing that there was a history for the domain, the next check from an SEO perspective is to see if there is any current SEO Value or Authority attributed to the domain.
This can be done through tools like Moz, SEMrush or Ahrefs to identify if any links are targeting the domain.
If links are pointing to your domain, these should be evaluated to determine the benefit of keeping them, or whether to update or remove them.
Tip 4 – Check for Penalties
If you’re happy with your brand name and domain of choice, we recommend checking for any penalties before you put the website live.
Google Search Console is a free tool that once set up will provide any information Google has recorded on the domain, such as if any lingering penalties might prevent you from ranking. This can be seen from the “Security & Manual Actions” section:
If there are any penalties on the account, we recommend resolving the issues before launching, as it could impact organic performance for a long time.
Alternatively, of course, you can change which domain you want to use entirely.
Tools like Sistrix, Searchmetrics or SEMrush are useful to see if any sharp declines in performance align with Google updates – potentially indicating a penalty.
Tip 5 – Own domain variations
You’ve picked your brand and chosen the domain, but what about other variations? If you go ahead with a ‘.co.uk’ site, who owns the ‘.com’ variant?
Potentially if you don’t own the ‘.com’ version or popular alternative, you could lose some customers who are entering the wrong URL by accident.
If we continue with the Strike example, their website is on the .co.uk, but they don’t own the ‘.com’ version. The ‘.com’ version redirects to https://www.strikeproducts.com/ a completely different brand.
If a customer accidentally enters strike.com into their browser search bar they could get quite confused by seeing a different brand.
So not only would we recommend owning the different variations of a domain but also other potentially relevant domains.
Strike is an estate agent, so other relevant domains could include:
As of the 27th of May 2020 these domains are not live and can be purchased through the likes of 123reg:
This is a potential threat for the brand as a competitor or someone devious could set up the sites and target Strike for personal gain.
So there you have it. Five easy SEO tips to give you a good start when creating a new brand. There are lots of considerations to make but remember SEO is a continual process so don’t stop there!
To chat about SEO for your brand, just get in touch! We’re always happy to help.