A couple of days ago, we shared with you just exactly WHAT branding is and why it’s so important to growing online businesses. Today, we’ll cover how branding helps your business by way of search engine optimization, or SEO.
Consumers today are constantly searching for products or services using smartphones, tablets and computers. An SEO strategy based on your branding can put your store front-and-center on their list of choices offered by Google, Yahoo and leading social media sites.
Branding is the secret sauce in a well-crafted organic SEO strategy to bring shoppers to your site without the costs of an expensive “pay per click” advertising program. It also appeals to savvy consumers who avoid those sponsored links and dive into the “unbiased” results.
- Understand your market. Does your online store cater to certain geographic, demographic or lifestyle segments? If so, your branding should incorporate words and concepts most likely to appeal to that market. Think about the best way to phrase your branding slogan, as well as how you describe the products and services on your site. Remember that the words you use to build your brand should appeal to consumers as well as to the search engines.
- Think like a buyer. If you were shopping for winter clothing, handcrafted pottery or a new musical instrument, how would you phrase your search query. Perhaps you would type in “warm winter jacket,” “ceramic design,” or “used trumpet in good condition.” The more you can put yourself in the buyer’s mindset, the better you can do with both your branding and SEO results.
- Do your own search. Search for your store by name and see where you appear in the rankings. Are you ahead of your competitors or not? If you look for your best-selling product, what stores come up first in the rankings? Then, look at the words that appear right under the link. Be sure that they reflect your brand, and appeal to your target buyers. The right words here can generate clicks, even if your store isn’t first in the rankings.
- Create relevant content. Consumers appreciate content that’s relevant to their needs, and search engines strive to deliver the most helpful results. Once again, your branding should be a driving force in creating that content. For example, you might emphasize customer testimonials in your branding strategy. If so, look closely at the words in those testimonials to see if they reflect the needs and desires of consumers searching for similar products. If your branding incorporates a focus on consumer education, be sure you use searchable keywords in your product explanations.
- Freshen your branding content. Posting new blogs, offering new products or adding more customer testimonials are three ways you can freshen the content on your site in keeping with your branding strategy. Search engines give higher rankings to sites with updated content, while inactive sites sink lower in the rankings. Of course, new content that reflects your brand will also help you turn those SEO-driven clicks into new customers.
- Always promote your brand. If your brand, your store and your domain have the same name, you’re in an ideal position to generate the most search engine traffic. If there are any differences in wording – even minor – be sure to promote the brand itself at all times. That’s what consumers will see when they search the first time, and remember when they search again.
- Protect your store. If you have a strong brand personality with a clear visual identity, consumers are likely to feel comfortable visiting your store – and recognize they’ve made a mistake if they’ve clicked on the wrong link. After all, it’s easy to input the wrong name or be directed to a copycat site that’s trying to steal your customers.
TL;DR: Use effective branding to reinforce your identity and unique position in the marketplace. Aligning your brand with your SEO strategy builds on that platform to attract new customers, generate more sales and keep your company moving forward.