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Branding is the difference between being a commodity and a company people care about. Especially, when doing business in an already crowded marketplace. In that situation, being recognized as a brand can make or break any organization. There are plenty of companies from your industry competing for the same ‘eyeballs’ (or consumers) online. Brand power (in the form of brand-related search queries) can influence your website’s ranking positions. In this article, I’ll be discussing brand searches, why and how it affects SEO, including how to influence it.
Why Brand Searches Are a Big Deal
Brands that receive a lot of branded searches typically do well on Google and other search engines. A branded search term is anything that includes your brand name in it. For example, “Nike shoes”, is a branded keyword because it includes the company name.
There are other ways to rank but brand searches do a lot to influence ranking positions. Not only do your brand-related ranking positions go up but you’ll see improvements in other areas too. Several SEO correlation studies like the one by Tom Capper, provide adequate evidence that brand searches correlate more with higher rankings than DA (Domain Authority). DA is a metric developed by Moz to predict how well a domain would fare on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
How Brand Searches May Influence Rankings
Note that these are based on in-the-field observations and personal study.
- High brand search volume can increase the ability to rank for certain non-branded terms. For example, if enough people search for “bicycle Walmart”, then the likelihood that Walmart would be ranked higher for the unbranded term, “bicycles”, increases.
- Branded searches affect search suggest. These are the suggestions you see when typing a keyword into Google, Bing or Yahoo. Influencing search suggest is a good thing because users can potentially discover your brand via the tool.
- Your brand can become synonymous with certain queries or things depending on how often users associate your company with them. For example, when someone searches for the generic term, “bikes”, and you appear on the first page. It’s likely because your brand is associated with that term in some way. Though this isn’t the only way to improve brand association with things because other factors like content play a role.
- You can indirectly influence search personalization with increased brand searches. Google and Bing use a user’s search history (search terms and websites visited) in varying degrees to personalize their search results. So when people visit a website more than once, they may begin to see more of that site in higher positions on search results.
Now, let’s take a look at some ideas or tips that can help you increase brand searches.
1. Marketing That Sparks Curiosity
Consumers look up businesses that they’re interested in all the time. Use curiosity to get more people searching for your brand on Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc. The question is, how do you generate enough curiosity?
Well, you have to be creative but be sure to use both offline and online marketing strategies. Market your business in ways that make people want to know more. This is called an information or curiosity gap.
We naturally want to fill information gaps whenever we want to know something or when we don’t know something. For a business, that means you have to tease without giving away all the answers.
For example, a billboard advertisement that’s aesthetically appealing with just your brand name on it can make some consumers curious. Providing they’ve seen it enough times.
A good digital marketing example is an Instagram riddle like the one below.
Some people will search for the riddle on Google or Bing for answers, while others will enjoy guessing the answer. Either way, you’ve got their attention. And the answer to that riddle is Confidence.
2. Win Some Brand Advocates
Brand advocates are people who elevate your brand by talking about it. These consumers, for one or various reasons, love your brand and want to share it with others. You’re probably a brand advocate for several businesses yourself.
We fall in love with companies because of amazing brand experiences. Things like having fantastic customer service, return policies, features that simplify the lives of your customers, and more. Are all part of creating amazing brand experiences for customers.
For example, I love SE Ranking because everything about their SEO tool is just amazing and their pricing structure is sensible. Similarly, people love Amazon because you can get most things at a bargain plus the entire shopping experience is delightful.
Think about why customers should share your brand. Or better yet, focus on improving the brand experience and you’ll practically always exceed expectations, which gets people talking.
From your website to customer service to in-store purchases and so on, provide the best experience imaginable. Do that and you’ll win tons of brand advocates over time, which leads to more brand searches.
3. Make Guest Appearances
Guest appearing on someone’s podcast, TV show, submitting content to a high traffic website, etc. can improve branded searches.
Guest appearances work because you’re providing value through content to gain access to a qualified audience. When Jordan Peterson guest appears on Fox or CNN News, he’s gaining access to a massive audience. And if what he has to say resonates with the audience, some will seek him out online to learn more or buy his book.
In most cases, you’ll be paid nothing or very little to guest appear on a show, blog, podcast, and so on. The reward is access to the host’s audience.
4. Give Something Away for Free
The word “free” is taboo for some businesspeople but giving something away for free is an old marketing tactic that still works. People just love free stuff and will often tell others about you because of it.
For example, WordPress is a well-known software partly because it offers a free open source version. The more people talk about your brand, the higher the brand searches.
5. Hire an Influencer
Getting your brand mentioned by influencers can also increase brand searches. A joint study by Twitter and Annalect revealed that 49 percent of people rely on influencer recommendations.
Now, imagine being recommended by someone like Beyoncé or Joe Rogan. The probable result is increased exposure that leads to more brand searches. Sure, you may have to shell out some cash but the ROI will be worth it.
Also, it doesn’t have to be big-name influencers like the aforementioned. Any influencer with a substantial audience that’s also qualified to be your potential customers will do. Reach out to the influencer of your choice and give them an offer they shouldn’t refuse.
For instance, you can offer your product for free in exchange for a public review and recommendation. Usually, the influencer won’t want to promote your product if they don’t like it. So offer them a chance to try the product first. If they don’t like it, move on to someone else, and don’t try to force things.
Brand Search is Only One Area of Opportunity
The more brand searches you get, the better you’ll fare on the SERPs. And while the information provided in this article is a good start, don’t limit your imagination. With some focus, I’m sure you can come up with creative ways to boost brand searches. Be sure to use all manner of advertising tactics, not just digital ones.
Lastly, remember that brand search is only one area of opportunity. Think about what will give you an advantage on the SERPs. For example, is it easier to focus on backlinks or influence brand searches? You have to make decisions based on the strengths of your business. If you have some ideas of your own concerning how to influence brand searches, please share them in the comments.