I was talking with an SEO client the other day that wanted to know why we bothered tracking organic visitor data and SERP rank for their branded keywords as part of their monthly SEO reports. Surely they would always rank #1 for their brand and product related keywords, right? How can SEO possibly help them do better for their own company name?
This is actually a conversation I’ve had with many prospects and clients. Yes, the main focus of SEO is to drive non-branded traffic to your site, introducing your brand to people that had never before heard of your company. But there are plenty of opportunities to improve branded search with SEO.
1. Send visitors to the exact page they are looking for.
Let’s say I was having issues with my Comcast account and needed to contact their customer service department. What do you think I’m going to search for? “Comcast customer service phone number” or something to that effect, right? If Comcast has done a good job of optimizing their website from branded searches, the very first result in the SERPs should be a Contact Us page or the Customer Service portal on their site; something that has the phone number I am looking for.
While the homepage might have the phone number, I don’t want to dig through the site to find the right page, nor do I want to accidentally dial the sales line! SEO helps ensure that I find the exact information I am looking for about Comcast when I need it. By optimizing their site for branded keywords, Comcast is helping improve the overall user experience of their site and making it as easy as possible for customers to do business with them.
2. Ensure you “own” the top search results for your brand.
One of the hardest things many business owners have a difficult time coming to terms with online is that they don’t own their brand 100%. The Internet is the great equalizer and anyone can become a publisher—meaning they can write just about anything they want about your brand.
Do a quick Google search for your own company name and see what shows up in the SERPs. Hopefully your company website is ranked #1, but then you should see things like social media profiles, online press releases, local business listings, the company blog and so forth—namely, all the content that you control online about your brand.
However, if you aren’t fully optimizing your content for your brand it’s possible that someone else’s content, like a review, could sneak in the top results for a branded search. Hopefully it’s a positive thing, but what if it’s negative?
For instance, do a Google search for “Ocean Marketing.” Yes, the company site is listed first but that’s about the only thing they control. The vast majority of results for this branded search are not positive in the least. For a really great look at how horribly this brand’s situation got out of control check out the Ocean Marketing Twitter handle; the branded Twitter account is no longer controlled by the brand! (If you want to read the whole back-story read more here). If you don’t actively ensure your online brand is under your control with SEO it’s possible that other people will do it for you!
3. Improve results for searches based on product names.
This is especially important for e-commerce retailers. Let’s say you own a home appliance e-commerce site, selling vacuum cleaners, dishwashers and the like. Since you are a reseller you rely on the brand value of the companies whose products you carry to help you keep your business afloat.
But guess what? Chances are you aren’t the only reseller online. Let’s say someone does a search for “Dyson repair parts.” Chances are you won’t outrank the Dyson site itself (unless they forget about their own SEO), but you could definitely slip in the top 10 or 20 results if you’ve properly optimized your Dyson vacuum parts page for branded keywords.
These are only a few ways in which SEO can impact branded searches. It’s important to remember that so much of what happens on the Internet is out of our hands that it’s imperative that we take as much control over our brand as possible every step of the way.
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Boston search marketing agency Brick Marketing. With nearly 13 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by publishing the Brick Marketing SEO newsletter, writing in the Brick Blog and hosting full day SEO trainings around the country.
Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or email@example.com
Photo credit: kaiserthesage.com