Brand Building Should be the Primary Objective of SEO Today
As we move through 2018, creating an SEO strategy based on brand building is the best way to capitalize on the true objective of SEO, read more.
All efforts in digital marketing, SEO in particular, aim at achieving higher search ranks that drive more traffic to websites that translate into more clicks and more sales.
There is a catch to this theory however, many businesses focus on positioning their businesses prominently in search listings in too much of a ‘general manner’, for which the returns would be vastly below average. In SEO today, creating a strategy based around the brand identity of your business is essential. It is a proven fact that branding is much more effective in increasing clicks and bringing in more sales based on the powers of brand recall. Consumers remember brands much more than business names, and it is convenient to relate brands with their needs. Moreover, the harsh reality of digital marketing clearly shows that Google prefers brands.
Afterall, what is your objective with SEO?
Is it your objective to capture more search realestate?
Is it your objective to drive more traffic and sales?
Of course this is the objective of SEO!
It pays to pay attention to what Google views as important to search quality. Such is Google’s liking for brands, that a well branded site can rank well despite a not so impressive backlink profile. Even when penalizing brands Google is much softer in its approach allowing brands to recover faster from penalties when compared to non-branded businesses. Google is ready to give the benefit of the doubt to brands but not to non-brands.
The brand preference is becoming more pronounced and in order to drive your SEO campaign in the fast lane; you should be focusing on brand building.
If the objective of SEO, for your business, is to gain mileage in marketing – you’re going to want to keep this in mind:
Brands, small and big will dominate the search engine results page, and non-descript companies would be pushed merely back to the back benches.
Let’s take a look at some of the most significant changes in search that have impacted the objective of SEO.
1. Dramatic changes in SERPs
Google’s algorithm changes are a relentless phenomenon in the Google Search Ecosystem and are largely responsible for changing audience behavior. There is another aspect in this ecosystem that affects user behavior and that would be changes to the SERP layout.
Just like a website’s landing page changes to the actual SERPs dramatically impact how users click. A few years ago, users would typically select the highest ranked links and click on it assuming it to be the best as chosen by search engines. The advent of featured snippets has changed this approach drastically. There is a marked shift to Google’s strategy in presenting search results, and we can see much more importance being given to sharing knowledge with users through SERP.
In just two years, featured snippets have risen from 5.5% to 16%, a massive jump that underlines its importance to Google.
2. The significance of the change
Let us now analyze the importance of the change in Google’s approach to understanding the message that it wants to convey to searchers. The massive boost in the visibility of knowledge panels has enabled search engines to provide much more elaborate information with broader options that were not possible with featured snippets. While the snippets focused on a particular website, the knowledge panels not only provide the relevant information but also suggest different variants and options based on the focused keyword. If you are searching ‘graphic design’ the knowledge panel will include such information that widens your vision and possibilities besides providing a list of websites in the results.
Google is now answering queries and not just providing a simple list of sources for information. Google has started curating content from various sources and presents in a comprehensive manner that does away with the need for looking at the information source. Going beyond the task of providing a list of informative references, Google is directly pulling data into SERPs.
3. Brands are in focus
Another interesting observation about the knowledge panels is that Google mulls data from big brands and encyclopedic sources like Wikipedia. It means that Google considers information available from brands as much more reliable and prefers to operate within the reputed brands only. The knowledge panels contain rich information and searchers do not have to refer to organic listing for information. At present just a single brand appears in the knowledge panel and that is a leading one.
The number of people clicking on search listings is on the decline as only 60% of searches are likely to receive clicks. That leaves the remaining 40% going without any clicks.
The SEO experts at Kotton Grammer feel that trend is alarming for small businesses that do not have a brand because they would suffer from less traffic that would shrink organic sales.
4. Brands help to earn more clicks
In the present scenario, brands can only earn more clicks. When analyzing the SERP for any focused keyword in any industry niche, you would observe that brands dominate the result. Searchers have more faith and confidence in brands, and it manifests in their choice when they like to click on brands without considering its position in the search ranking list. Even if a less known generic business ranks higher on the list, searchers would prefer to click on a known brand with total disregard for its ranking. It clearly emphasizes the need to create a brand first that could overrule the need for ranking high in search results.
5. Brands give comfort and confidence
When people become familiar with a brand, the brand is effectively building trust, establishing a loyal customer base as well as solidifying a foothold in search listings. Users feel comfortable with the products offered under a brand. Therefore, it is normal for consumers to go with brands that they know even if it is offering a new product that they have not yet used. Brand recognition is so powerful that once you create a brand identity for your business, you would no longer depend on earning high ranks in search results. Familiarity with brands enables its high recall and preference over lesser known or non-branded companies because well-known brands have a strong reputation backed by celebrity endorsements that enhance trust.
A recent survey has revealed that when consumers decide to click on a link in the search results, they base their decision on how well they know the retailer. It boils down to brand familiarity. The stronger the brand recognition the greater its ability to attract people who are ready to click on it that would eventually result in more sales.
Earning brand recognition is now a top priority when the Objective of SEO is to get good returns from search results. Google’s preference for brands keeps growing, and consequently “branding for better SEO” should be the slogan of marketers today.