What Is Branding SEO & Why Do I Need It?

Brendan Egan

What Is Branding SEO & Why Do I Need It?

When you research SEO strategies, you might find the majority of them focus on how to get your brand to rank higher than its competitors. But, what about when a customer specifically searches for your brand? For example, a customer looking for any local pizza joint may search for “pizza restaurants” to see what’s around, but a customer who is specifically interested in Pizza Hut may just Google “Pizza Hut.” What kind of strategies are there to make sure the pages that you want a customer to see appear first in the search results when someone searches for your brand name? Branding SEO.

Why Branding SEO Matters

Customers who specifically search for your brand obviously have some knowledge about who you are, otherwise they wouldn’t be typing in your name. But, what they see when they search for you could impact how they view your brand, where they click, and what actions they take while on your website.
It shouldn’t be hard to get your website to show up on the first page of search results when someone is specifically looking for your company, but you need to be concerned with every result on the first page, not just the first few. If a customer sees your website first, but then notices links to negative reviews and bad press below it, how likely would he or she be to click through to your website? The links below your website could determine whether that customer sticks around, so an effective branding SEO strategy will ensure that your website appears up top, with other relevant, positive links to fill the rest of the first page.

Branding SEO vs. Reputation Management

Both branding SEO and reputation management involve controlling what customers see about you, so what’s the difference? Reputation management tends to be reactive, whereas branding SEO is proactive. Brands don’t seek out a reputation management professional until they have a reason to be concerned about their online presence. When reputation managers are called in, they are expected to give brands an online makeover to dilute or remove any negative customer reviews, photos or news stories.
Branding SEO, on the other hand, is a way to control what customers see about you at all times, not just when issues arise. Whether customers are researching your products, attempting to place an order or trying to get in touch with you to comment on a recent experience with your company, branding SEO will put you in charge of what they see when they search for your brand.

Tips to Improve Your Branding SEO

Now that you understand what branding SEO is and its importance, begin to incorporate it into your SEO strategy with these tips:

Expanded sitelinks

Have you noticed how some websites have hyperlinks under the main website in search results to help customers go directly to certain pages on the site? Using the earlier Pizza Hut example, you may see the main Pizza Hut website, with “Order” and “Menu” hyperlinks below it. These are called expanded sitelinks, and although you don’t get to pick which ones appear (if any, at all) you can nudge Google in the right direction. How? Make sure your site navigation is clean, simple and visible on each page of your website. Also, use internal links to the pages you want to feature on these expanded sitelinks throughout your site. This can signal to Google that certain pages are more relevant than others and influence the search engine’s decision on which to highlight as expanded sitelinks.
But ultimately, it is Google’s choice whether to feature any pages and if so, which ones. Be sure to monitor your branded searches to see if you have expanded sitelinks. If you do and they’re not the pages you were hoping for, make sure those pages have relevant information so the customers that are directed to these results still find what they’re looking for.

Don’t forget branded keywords

As you optimize all of your webpages, make sure you are including both branding and non-branding keywords. If you don’t include branded keywords, a user who searches for “Your Brand Name Products” or “Your Brand Name Testimonials” may not be exposed to these pages on your website, so the chances of converting him or her is greatly reduced.

Create social media profiles

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn tend to show up towards the top of search results, so make sure your company is active on all of these pages. This will help fill up the rest of the first page of results with links related to your brand. Just be sure you have accurate information on each of these social media pages and a link back to your website. For example, your Facebook page should have your store hours and address, so customers know when and where to find you if that’s the link they decide to click on.

Get your name out there

When you do an interview or distribute a press release, not only are you increasing your brand’s visibility, but you may also improve your branding SEO. After the interview or press release has been published, link to it in the news section on your website. Providing the website that published your story with an inbound link will improve their authority ranking on Google, and increase the chance they will appear as one of the results on the first page when someone searches for your brand.

Engage in PPC advertising

Marketers may be scratching their heads when it comes to this one, but it’s true, bidding on your own branded keywords can help your branded SEO. This will help you control what ads appear when customers are searching for your name. Obviously, you don’t want customers bombarded with ads from your competitor when they are specifically looking for you, so control it with pay-per-click advertising.
Branding SEO is key for a well-rounded SEO strategy. Even if you aren’t looking to generate leads specifically from SEO, you can guarantee your other sales and marketing efforts are resulting in people researching and Googling your brand.  If you require assistance with your branding SEO strategy, contact us for a free consultation.