Branding and SEO
The internet has provided an unprecedented method for reaching out to the masses at a low cost. It has also brought a massive wave of competition from companies large and small. Building up a brand and establishing a unique presence with your customers is now necessity. And it isn’t just the hope of greater sales that makes branding important. Search engines are starting to give more weight to brands over key search terms. This makes branding essential to your search engine optimization strategy.
Brands versus Products
There are times where the brand is the product. The product may be the only thing you make and have the same name as the company. “Julie’s Salon and Spa” is the service offered and the brand you need to promote.
Brands are rarely product lines, though there can be overlap. Apple is a company and a brand. Gerber makes baby food and sells whole life insurance ostensibly an investment for the baby; its products are all geared toward parents and young children, while its brand is still identified by the same cute baby picture it has used for over five decades. However, there are many ways brand building has changed.
How Brand Building Has Changed
Building your brand used to involve posters on the side of the store, attractive pictures on the crates of citrus, pretty labels on the product’s container. Branding has changed in some ways but not others. You still need the same branded and eye catching images on your product’s packaging, but you need the same branding for your app’s icon.
You may put advertisements on the shopping cart or floor near the product, but branding now includes sharing Tweets and social media links to images of happy people using your product. Instead of multi-level marketing, though that still exists, you get social media sharing via link sharing and re-Tweets.
Paper coupons are still in circulation, but now you can turn coupon codes posted on your social media accounts as a new way to generate new buzz and attention for your brand – and they are a lower cost way to entice your most loyal customers to buy even more. Put QR codes and your website URL on them to use this classic marketing method to improve your digital outreach.
Branded recipe cards are still available, but you’re as likely to see a Pinterest reference on the bottom that says “look at this page for even more recipes”, while the Pinterest pages provide beautiful images of the final product if someone follows the recipe using your ingredients.
Branding has affected social media in a number of ways. You want to establish and control your brand name as a hash tag, key word, meta tag and every other online reference to it. This is as important if not more important than dominating the search results for queries on your product line.
Why Is Branding Important?
Branding is important for several reasons. First, brand awareness is what can be that final factor in deciding between your product and your rival’s. Second, brand awareness and brand loyalty can turn your best customers into word of mouth (or social media sharing) marketers.
A new reason branding is important is that search engines now give more weight to content, profiles and references to a brand over key word density. This is where having a consistent image, common brand referencing, user names and social media profiles makes it easier for people to find you on any social media profiles will increasing the search engine results ranking for all of those profiles.
The prioritization of brands over keywords and key search terms hasn’t made SEO irrelevant. Instead, it has increased the need for your content SEO to include your branding. You also have to apply branding SEO to your Twitter profiles, social media accounts, app installation pages and anywhere else your company has a digital presence. The side benefit to the consistent branding of all of these profiles and content is that it improves the search engine rankings for any content that has the same brand referenced to it.
How Branding Affects Content Creation
Search engines prioritize content that suits the user’s intent. When someone is searching for pasta recipes, it is the recipes that best suit their search query that comes up. You can still rank well in these search results if you create great recipes with attractive images and good SEO for specific types of recipes.
To help sell your own product, you have to then reference your product name in the content (though not so much it turns off visitors). You can improve the branding of the content without affecting the search engine optimization of the key terms by having pictures of people making the item with items bearing your brand prominently featured.
When you are writing a how-to article, having pictures of people wearing your uniform or using your product to complete the task are another way to promote the product or service without affecting the text’s SEO. Just be careful not to call all your pictures “brand name 1”, “brand name 2” and “brand name 3” or it will affect the SEO adversely as spammy.
Another way to subtly improve the search engine optimization of the content for your brand is reference the brand once in the description of the image as read by an information assistant or described by a device to someone who is visually impaired. Just don’t set it up in a way search engines read as hidden text or your content will get penalized.