Search engine optimization is important for any business that wants to make it to the top positions in the SERPs. Companies that focus their efforts on optimizing their pages, researching keywords, and boosting their website’s speed and performance to improve the user experience are able to build a strong digital presence. And that’s great because it gives them more visibility and a competitive advantage.
However, there is one aspect of the search engine game that often remains underestimated – SEO and branding.
In this article, we’ll talk about brand awareness SEO, brand name SEO, and other tactics and techniques that will allow you to successfully make use of search engines in your online strategy.
Read on and take notes!
Why Should SEO and Branding Go Hand in Hand?
To build a digital presence that not only dominates the SERPs but makes a lasting impression on your audience, you need to create a recognizable brand.
However, standing out in the SERPs may be difficult even if you manage to rank in top positions. That’s because, regardless of what industry and niche you are in, there are already established names that people know and are drawn to when they see them.
As a result, if you are a less popular brand that manages to make it to the #1 organic position, there is a high chance that users will end up clicking on another link anyway, simply because they don’t know who you are. And the other way around – well-known companies on #2 or #3 can still count on high CTR rates, because they already have credibility and have built brand awareness in the SERPs.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t optimize your website. After all, a faster, more user-friendly website with interesting and valuable content is not only what Google wants – it’s what your customers prefer as well.
This means that even if all your optimization efforts don’t immediately result in high rankings, if you work on your brand awareness through other channels and drive customers to your website, Google will notice. The algorithms track behavioral signals and when people spend a lot of time on your website and engage, this shows Google that you are providing good value and UX to your visitors.
Combined with the optimization you’ve already done, this boosts your chances of building a presence in the SERPs and making your brand more visible and known there. The more often people see your links in relevant search results, the more likely they are to click on them. That’s the power of brand awareness and brand recognition.
Brand Awareness SEO
Making your name recognizable requires a complex approach. You need to build credibility with both search engines and users. To that end, there are, generally, three focus areas you need to address: establishing an overall digital presence, managing your online reputation, and living up to Google’s technical and quality standards.
Successfully completing these will allow you to build awareness around your brand and put you on the customer’s radar. When they research topics related to your niche, people will now see your name more often, and, as mentioned, if they see it enough times, the next time they may consider clicking on your link to see what you offer.
Meanwhile, the more people click on your links and the more interest there is towards your brands, the more Google’s algorithms will prioritize your content.
In today’s article, we provide a list of practical tips on how to improve your brand awareness SEO. However, before we get there, let’s have a more detailed look at the three steps of building brand awareness through SEO:
Establishing an Overall Digital Presence
It’s difficult to make it in the SERPs if your website is the only place your brand name is mentioned. To build your presence and authority, you need to increase your online visibility.
This means that you need to create social media profiles, list your brand in directories, make a Google My Business listing, find ways to encourage user-generated content, obtain mentions in PR publications and relevant industry sources, etc.
In a nutshell, your name needs to be all over the internet, so people will feel that everywhere they look, they see your logo and content. This will create a buzz around your brand that both users and search engines tend to notice.
As a result, search algorithms are more likely to prioritize your content, because it’s something that users care about. And, at the same time, people will see even more of your content and will be more likely to remember your name, and click on your links.
The two sides amplify each other and result in better brand awareness in search results.
Managing Your Online Reputation
Managing Your Online Reputation
Your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are what forms your Google EAT score, which is an important ranking factor.
Ranking algorithms take into account the website’s online reputation to establish whether it is credible and worthy of being shown in the search results for relevant queries. If you have poor reviews and people mention you with negative sentiment, this will hurt your ability to reach the top positions in the SERPs. As a result, you will not be able to make an impression on potential clients and position yourself as a viable choice.
Furthermore, if your reputation is questionable, people are less likely to click on your links, visit your website, and engage with your content. This will not only be another red flag for Google but will create negative brand awareness and hurt your overall SEO and business efforts.
Matching Google’s Technical and Quality Requirements
To be able to rank high in searches and build brand awareness there, your website and content need to be optimized to meet Google’s standards. The company has strict guidelines about what counts as high-quality content and what technical requirements a website needs to live up to in order to be search-worthy.
That’s because Google wants to make sure that a time will come, when each page in the SERPs will deliver a satisfying user experience. This, of course, doesn’t happen overnight, and website owners that don’t fix their websites may not notice a change in their rankings immediately.
However, excellent UX is the ultimate goal of Google’s updates and improvement efforts. This means that companies that systematically ignore the new requirements will sooner or later drop out of the SERPs. And new websites that are not optimized will most likely not even make it there in the first place.
Furthermore, in 2021, when they announced core web vitals for the first time, Google said that they may soon launch a badge that indicates which pages meet their criteria. Although this hasn’t happened yet, there’s no reason to believe that it won’t. And if it does, amongst other things, websites that obtain the badge will have an advantage, as it will reinforce their branding.
That said, some aspects of technical optimization don’t have anything to do with UX. While Google’s robots index all pages that they are not explicitly blocked from, they may not always index them properly. Therefore, you need to make sure that they understand your content by providing additional information via the proper meta tags. This way, you will know that your brand is well represented through your content and that your links in the SERPs provide enough information to attract user’s attention.
Brand Name SEO
Brand name SEO is another often-underestimated branch of search engine optimization that is vital for your online strategy success. In today’s saturated digital marketplace, there are more and more brands with similar names. This makes it difficult for businesses to stand out.
Choosing a brand name that resonates with your company’s mission and values, and is also unique and memorable is a difficult task. However, it becomes even more complicated when you think you’ve found the one, only to discover that when you Google it, numerous other brands come up.
Furthermore, the name needs to be easy to spell, include keywords that are relevant to your brand, and be catchy. This way, your customers will be more likely to remember your domain and key it in when they want to reach your website.
Direct search is an important signal for search engines and the more people that know your name and use it in their searches, the higher authority your website will build.
On the other hand, if your name is, let’s say, too creative, people may not be able to get it right. As a result, they will not only be unable to reach you, but the search algorithm will not register the query as relevant to your brand, and this will hurt your overall SEO branding.
On top of that, brand names that are not SEO-friendly make it challenging to rank for your branded keywords, which complicates things even further. If you are unable to own those, your customers may end up choosing competitors who are more proactive.
Tips on Using SEO for Branding and Awareness
To help you fast forward your SEO and branding efforts, we have provided 10 quick and actionable tips to improve your brand awareness in the SERPs:
- Up Your Link-Building Game. It’s not a secret that backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors. To Google, they are a form of unspoken recommendation and show that other websites find your content valuable enough that they want their visitors to see it as well. Backlinks boost your authority, transfer link juice, and help you obtain more SERP real estate.However, don’t forget about internal link building. It helps the bots understand your website and content better, and prioritize what pages to show.
- Apply All Necessary Meta Tags. Using meta tags, optimized with the main keywords for the page makes it easier for search engines to index your pages properly. As a result, your content will show up in more relevant queries and more people are likely to click on your links.As mentioned, user and search engine behavior amplify each other, and more SERP links result in more clicks, more clicks result in more SERP links, and so on.
- Use Schema Markup. Even if you don’t optimize your pages with schema markup, Google will extract the information they need. However, doing this yourself gives you control over how the search engine bots understand your content.Moreover, it makes your content eligible for rich snippets, which are highly clickable search results. They capture the user’s attention, give you more credibility, and increase the visibility of your brand.
- Encourage Reviews. Reviews are an important part of a brand’s online reputation, as both customers and search engines rely on them to judge your brand. You should encourage clients to leave reviews on your channels and third-party websites, monitor all platforms, and always reply when necessary. Negative reviews that remain unaddressed hurt your credibility and this makes them bad for both SEO and branding.
- Track Mentions. Google alerts and social listening tools allow you to keep your ears open to any online brand mentions and engage accordingly. To retain a good brand name, you should know what people are saying about you, with what sentiment they mention you, and to what end. You can use this information in your brand awareness strategy, and to control your image in the SERPs.
- Focus on Long-Tail Keywords. Long-tail keywords allow you to rank higher for specific queries and niche search terms that your clients are interested in. This includes question keywords, which are especially popular in voice searches. They are also part of a growing trend where users are more comfortable using natural expressions, rather than specific keywords.Focusing on these types of queries will help increase your online visibility.
- Produce High-Quality Content. Maintaining a blog allows you to target all the keywords your customers are using. It also helps make an impression on SERPs. However, to provide a good experience, your pages need to be informative, professionally written, and valuable to the user.
- Create a Hype Around Your Brand. Nothing boosts your reputation and presence in searches more than people keying in your brand’s name. Consider launching brand awareness campaigns in the relevant channels and encourage your clients to google your brand name and branded keywords. This will create a buzz around your company and your website, something search engines simply love!
- Don’t Forget Social Media. When it comes to SEO, the role of social media is more often than not neglected. However, nowadays social platforms are the place to build a brand, establish awareness, and boost recognition. Your profiles can positively affect your overall digital presence, drive traffic to your website, and increase the trust in your company.
- Improve the UX on Your Website. Nothing ruins an online brand more than a website that loads slowly, displays poorly on mobile screens, and is difficult to make sense of. If your website fails to deliver performance-wise, you should look into your core web vitals, improve the mobile-friendliness of your pages, and fix any other issues that may hurt the UX of visitors. This will improve how people interact with your content, and will boost both your SEO and branding.
Although the connection between SEO and branding more often than not remains underestimated in favor of SEO’s more direct benefits to your business, the two are closely related.
In order for search engine optimization to deliver the desired results, you need to build a strong presence and consolidate your brand as a SERP leader.
However, to be able to do this, you have to reinforce your brand awareness and recognition using the proper communication channels available to you. Once you’ve succeeded, all you need to do is to keep the wheels turning, and keep an eye out for new updates.