Explore the vitality of SEO & Why you need to involve your SEO team in supporting your brand strategy going forward!
There’s a widespread perception that brand marketing and SEO are polar opposites within the marketing mix.
Brand marketing is built around storytelling that aims to create top of the funnel awareness that builds affinity.
By contrast, SEO is believed to be at the other end of the funnel, often viewed as tactical and technical, delivering easier to measure benefits such as rankings, clicks and conversions.
Yet SEO is vital for brand marketing. SEO’s ability to target people based on their intent makes it an extremely powerful branding tool. If you’re a brand that sells running clothes and shoes, for example, and consumers come upon your website while Googling “getting into running”, then you’re hitting a very relevant audience (those with an interest in running) at the exact time when they are thinking about the subject.
In comparison, a lot of traditional big brand marketing consists of interruptive advertising on channels such as magazines, television advertising, videos, radio and a host of others. While this has the potential to reach a mass audience, it is less precisely targeted with significant waste. In the example above, you will reach a lot of people that aren’t very interested in running clothes and shoes. This kind of brand advertising also usually requires a large ongoing media spend.
Building on this, here are five ways your SEO team can positively support your brand marketing strategy:
1. Creating top of the funnel informational content
When people start looking for a product or service, many consumers use search to find answers to kick-start their research. This provides brands with the opportunity to introduce themselves through useful, informational content that responds to consumer queries, which improves both awareness and positioning of the brand in a positive light. For example, a company that sells furniture and soft furnishings might create informational content to answer common search queries containing questions about key things to consider when revamping your living room. Building awareness and relationships through search right at the beginning of the sales cycle in this way can translate into conversions lower down the funnel (when those consumers are ready to buy).
2. Supporting your brand through positive reputation management
Often potential customers who don’t know your company will try to check it out by performing brand searches, making your SEO strategy crucial to successfully managing your reputation. The focus should not just be on overcoming any negative mentions that appear high up in the search engine results pages (SERPs), but also in delivering a positive brand story through a strong reputation management program. You need to make sure that the results appearing when people search for your brand and your products communicate a positive, accurate and consistent picture in all regions and across all search engines.
3 . Using Knowledge Panels for branding
For searches around well-known entities (such as a company, celebrity or location), Google displays a Knowledge Panel in around 40% of mobile and desktop search results. Usually providing a brief description, images and relevant links to the entity such as a company’s website, these panels dominate the page (appearing on the left-hand side of desktop results and at the top of the page in mobile) making them the perfect branding opportunity. Given that Google normally takes this Knowledge Panel information from trusted sources such as Wikipedia or directly from company profiles, your SEO strategy should include checkpoints that ensure that the information shown is accurate and clearly explains your brand story.
4 . Building brand credibility through “Position Zero” results
Google’s aim is to understand the intent behind a search, and increasingly it tries to provide a relevant response without the searcher having to click on a link or leave its results page. The Position Zero results are a prime example and a significant branding opportunity that your SEO team can target.
These are the snippets of information that Google features above the other organic results to provide succinct information such as an answer to a factual question, ‘how to’ instructions or a list of some kind. Their location at the top of the SERP above the first organic results (hence the name, Position Zero) gets them a lot of attention – meaning they offer a perfect opportunity to generate awareness and credibility in your niche.
5. Reaching new audiences through voice search
According to a 2020 study, just under half (47%) of searchers said they’d used voice or visual search in the previous month. Voice searches (such as from Google Home devices) normally return a single answer, meaning that if your brand can own the spoken results for popular relevant searches, you’ll get significant awareness and branding.
Interestingly, there’s a high correlation between the information that appears in Position Zero and the answers Google devices read out for voice searches. So, by optimising your content for Position Zero, your SEO team can also help you feature voice search.
All five of these examples show the vital importance of search to brand marketing success – and why you need to involve your SEO team in supporting your brand strategy going forward.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lillian Haase is SVP Global Marketing at Searchmetrics, the leader in search and content optimization software and services. Having worked in digital marketing since 2008, Lillian has experience in a variety of industries and businesses. She enjoys keeping up to date with the latest in search, leadership, and B2B Marketing and believes that striving for continuous improvement (Kaizen) is the key to business, marketing, and personal success.