Businesses spend a lot of time and money in building a brand. From an SEO perspective, there are two reasons why you must focus on branding. Firstly, branded search queries are relatively easier to rank for. search engines, including Google, are likely to rank your website on top if it’s your brand that the user is looking for. Studies also show that branded search queries have a higher CTR than non-branded queries.
There are however a few challenges to contend with. Because of the relatively lower competition that branded searches face, it is easier for competitors to influence the search user with content that disputes your business’ claims. For example, a search for a query like “MailChimp” or “Salesforce” can show results containing reviews of these products that are put up by competitors. These reviews could undermine the product to show competing products in a better light.
Owning these brand searches is thus critical to ensure that your branding exercise is not hijacked by competition. Here are a few tips to get this going.
Create content on third party websites
Marketers have little trouble in ranking first for their brand search. However, you have nine other spots in the organic listing on Google that can be hijacked by competitors. To avoid this, it is a good idea to create company pages on authoritative third-party platforms. For instance, a search for “Hubspot” will show results from websites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Crunchbase, Facebook and Pinterest that all point to profiles owned by Hubspot. This leaves little room for competitors to butt in with counter-claims about your brand or your products.
Simply creating these pages alone may not be enough to get these pages to rank on Google. To achieve this, it is important to work on a coordinated link building strategy that will make these pages move up the ranks on Google search for your brand query.
Over time, Google has constantly redesigned their search results page to give more primary real estate to paid results. As a result, it is not uncommon for more PPC ads than organic search results in the top-fold of SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages). What this means is that competitors can occupy a slot above your organic listing if they paid Google for this. The only way to own this space is by advertising for your own brand query.
Not surprisingly, a search for terms like ‘MailChimp’ or ‘Hubspot’ will show you two results to their homepage – one from the ad spot, and the other from the organic listing. But unfortunately, this is still inadequate to completely own your listing. Competitors can still bid for the second or third spot on the Paid results and this can take away a significant number of visitors to competitor pages.
You can avoid this by creating landing pages on multiple domains and advertising them all for your brand search. If you are targeting the mobile web, you may also advertise the Play Store or App Store link for your app. If your mobile analytics shows a lot of search coming for app-related queries (example: “GPS app for Android”), then you may also create content targeting these queries and advertise them.
This shoots up the ad costs for competition and acts as a disincentive. While this may not completely protect you from competitor ads, it is still a viable strategy to keep most of your search users on your own websites.
Branded search queries do not stop with just the search for your brand name. Prospective buyers also lookup several other related brand searches pertaining to your pricing, reviews, and alternatives. Given the long-tail nature of these keywords, it is not realistic to rank for all these terms with just your homepage or third party profile pages.
Content marketing is an effective strategy to tackle this issue. This refers not just to your blog content, but also your YouTube channel, Facebook posts as well as guest contributions you make on related industry blogs. With hundreds of such content pages, it is possible to rank prominently for your related brand search queries.
Similar to your website SEO, it is a good idea to build backlinks for all these third party platform pages as well. Google typically restricts the number of search results from any one domain to two per result. Building backlinks to all your third party platform content is a good way to get all these pages ranking for your long-tail brand searches.
Sometimes, Google tends to show your business profile prominently on the right side of its brand search results. This is usually the case with big brand businesses. These business profile boxes also contain links to reviews posted by users on the Google business page. Invest resources in capturing reviews from legitimate buyers on your Google business page. This allows prospective new buyers to get a real-world account of your product or service and helps them make an informed choice about your business.
As your business grows, the volume of visitors coming to your website from branded queries is only expected to increase. With the right strategy, it is possible to make sure that visitors who come to your website off such queries continue to trust your business and convert into paid customers.
5 campaigns you wish you thought of
The strategic and creative possibilities offered by mobile devices are the future of advertising and marketing. People spend more and more time on their smartphones and less time watching TV. As a logical consequence, promoting a brand means to rethink the allocation of advertising budgets between old and new channels of communication, even if things seem to be moving at a slow pace: while 37% of the total time dedicated to media was spent watching TV and 24% on mobile, advertising spending on TV remains at 41% compared to 8% on smartphones and tablets (source: KPCB). (more…)
The present trend is that of mobility and the same applies to computers as well and that is the reason why more and more people are opting for internet enabled smartphones as they help them stay connected even while on the move. However, this has posed a certain type of problem for websites and website developers as many of them are not mobile friendly and hence not accessible through the mobile. The inability of websites to connect with the customers through mobiles could mean a loss of customers, which no business can afford. Therefore, website owners and developers have to work towards creation of websites that are available for the mobiles as well.
However, the task of creating or building a mobile version of the website is not very difficult as there are several tools that ease the process of creating mobile versions of websites. Some of these tools are discussed below:
Blogging has become second nature to many people, and they are reaping the rewards. Business owners in any industry should learn how they could benefit from blogging. I have been blogging for the past 5+ years. You can check out all my ramblings about PPC here.
How businesses can benefit from blogging is by reaching and remaining on the first page of search engines. For instance; a garden/landscaping business has started a website with their products and services but have very little web traffic. It is not because they do not have good products or services, it is because they are not appearing on the first or second page when potential customers are searching for products they carry. The best step management can take at this point is to begin posting regularly (or hire someone to do it) with information about the gardening and landscaping industry.
Blogging is not meant to be blatant sales pitches; it is meant for informative, valuable content for the consumer. If each post is simply a picture of a product with a “the best there is” tag on it, website traffic will drop instead of rise. When the consumer sees something of value to them that they do not have to pay for (information in this case) they will tell their peers and share it on social networking sites.
Businesses can benefit from blogging by giving consumers free advice and ideas on how to use their products. In the gardening industry there are millions of products available so content should not have to be repeated. A top business blogger can easily pick one item per day to write about. In staying with the gardening theme the items and tips should be related to the season. This type of approach will keep consumers returning to the site on a regular basis to learn something new. As time goes on, the blog subscriber may become a regular customer as well.
As I began to post a recent article from a blog on one of our SEO Moves Facebook pages, a little message popped up informing me of a new way to promote my business online. After clicking to “Learn More” I have found that Facebook has just released a new option to “Promote your Post” for all business pages that have more than 400 likes. They also came out with a handy guide explaining how to use this new functionality titled “Promote Your Page Posts“. Here is a screenshot of what the initial promote option looked like for me:
Based on the information provided in the guide for using this feature, the higher you set your budget, Facebook will automatically attempt to determine the number of users that would be reached by your promotion. Once you start the promotion, you are able to pause it, adjust it, and resume it at your will. You can also target the promotion to users by location or language. This will cause the post to only show promoted for users that are from the set location or language and can be helpful for a regional company that would like to promote a sale or special offer in only one particular area. The entire process is described in the guide as:
Last night while browsing Facebook’s iPhone app, a little message popped in at the top of my News Feed informing me of a new Facebook iPhone app devoted to managing the pages you are an admin on all from one place.
While the number of smartphone users continue to grow daily and as social media interaction is developing into a major factor in the credibility of “great content” in Google’s eyes; I decided to head over to App Store and give it a try.
Just heading to bed and noticed that out of the blue, many exact match domains have slipped in search. I noticed a number of exact match domains names have slipped somewhere from 5-40 positions in search. It was really long over due that Google fixed this issue. Exact match had gotten so far out of hand that domain names like www.health-insurance-quotes.us were ranking well.
Glad to see Google has discovered a way to tweak this, although I am not a fan of some of the recent changes Google has made, they really did need to make some serious changes.
Google has been releasing changes to it’s algorithm rapid fire, I think they updated it about 3-4 times in the past 60 days. I think they may take a breather soon, and possibly even turn back some of their changes. I think they have moved with a VERY heavy hand on some of their link updates, and have really scared everyone online.
Everyone now is worried about “over optimization” I have had nearly every client of ours contacting us about this, so needless to say it is on everyone’s mind (including mine).
Growing rapidly, with about 200 million registered users and estimated to surpass the 15 million adult users in the US in 2011, Twitter has proved as a very successful venture in the past 3 years. Based on acquisition offers, the company value has increased from $3.7 billion in 2009 to about $10 billion in the closing months of 2010. Yet, the owners are probably not going to sell it any time soon.
Instead, they want to turn Twitter into more profitable website. And the best way to ear money for an internet website is, of course, advertising. Currently, there are three options for advertising on Twitter – Promoted Tweets (that look like normal tweets, but are said to reach not only your followers but a significantly larger crowd), Promoted Trends (advertising at the Twitter home page) and Promoted Accounts (Twitter recommends certain accounts as “worth to follow”).
The problem, however, is that every potential advertiser has to submit an advertising request, which is then reviews by the Twitter staff and is either approved or not approved. The approval process is manual and, as a result very slow. Many small- and medium-sized businesses simply give up, unwilling to wait, and turn to other advertising options – such as Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.
Although Twitter is not going to remodel the advertising scheme completely, it is done the first step, reportedly increasing the “advertising team” to assize of 35 workers (a notable 10% of the company personnel). Their primary task will be to improve response times and also to contact potential advertisers – those who had previously expressed interest in using Twitter in their campaigns.
Recent consumer study conducted by comScore and GroupM revealed that although 64% of the users are likely to follow a brand on Facebook and/or Twitter, search engine is still the most popular initial step for the majority of purchases made online. The study shows that nearly 60 percent of future buys originate within the search engine websites, with social media coming in the third place with 18% behind company websites (24%). And of those 18%, nearly half will eventually turn to search at some stage of their research. Similarly, only 40 percent of those that use search as their initial step will use social media throughout the purchase.
Moreover, almost no users (less than 1%) use Social Media and do not use search, while the search beats the “search+social media” combination 50 to 49 percent. Only 45 percent, though, use search throughout their research with 26 percent stating that they only use search in the beginning of the process.
The study also shows that customer reviews are something customers are looking for – making the recently reported idea of “SearchReviews.com” pretty viable. 30% of the responders said reviews are the most important thing to them. Social networks were selected by 17% of the users, and video sharing finished third with 14%.
Notably, the study only researched COMPLETED buys. So, maybe social media is simply good at preventing future purchases? After all, reading a page of negative opinions about a product can drive you away from it, and sometimes the whole idea of purchasing a certain accessory can become obsolete…