As the world of SEO continues to evolve, I often ask companies how well their branded SEO is working. Many don’t know the difference between branded SEO and natural organic rankings. It is essential that a company not only know the difference between the two, but that each is taken into consideration when determining organic strategy.
With no end in sight to Google’s love affair with branded keyword phrases, branded SEO needs to be a major part of your organic listing game plan.
Anytime we work with a brand’s keywords phrases, we look at how well branded phrases are promoted. As most know, when you research a company’s Google Analytics account, aside from the “not provided” phrases, the second highest keyword listings are usually branded terms. This is one way Google forces search marketers to focus on branded terms instead of SEO managers forcing rankings for general and non-branded keyword phrases.
Google’s entire ranking algorithm is meant to be completely organic. Nothing should be forced, bought, or unnatural. Google takes many variables into consideration when ranking websites and content, including social metrics, usage metrics, links, and content.
So how do you improve branded SEO?
Here are some suggestions to increase your site’s branded SEO exposure:
- Know your brand. This is critical for all companies, but especially for smaller brands. If you are serious about organic rankings and generating traffic, you need to understand your brand and its message. Ask yourself how your message relates to your customer base. Does it speak to your company/product? How well-known is your brand? Do you already have a large brand presence?
- Organize and optimize your branded terms. As is the case with other keyword phrases, your site and content should be optimized around branded terms. When doing this, don’t forget about product- or service-related branded terms as well.
- Cover your bases. If you are a local company, make sure your business is set up with Google and citation directory websites. Even if you don’t provide local services or have a customer storefront, establishing your business listings with Google can help your branded SEO.
- Create brand-based content. The quickest thing to do here is to ensure your company-focused pages (About Us, Careers, Culture, Contact Us, Team, etc.) are optimized with your brand story. This provides Google and other search engines with information about your brand. It will also allow you to establish a branded digital footprint.
- Brand image assets. All of your asset file names should be loaded with branded terms. Make sure any images have ALT tags with branded terms, enabling Google to make the connection between the asset and the brand. This also improves on-page SEO for branded terms and helps describe the page’s content to search engines.
As we move into another year of digital marketing, focusing a portion of your SEO strategy on branded terms should open doors to more organic rankings and more organic traffic. This will impact many areas of your business, including the bottom line.