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What does branding have to do with SEO?

3 min read

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In this article, we look at brand recognition and SEO in the digital space, what ‘SEO branding’ means, and how it improves your brand awareness online.

What is branded search in SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is used by businesses and marketers to improve and grow organic traffic and visibility from search engines. There are two ways to target search, either with branded or non-branded queries. Branded search aims to target any queries related to the brand for increased visibility, brand awareness, and ease of user experience.

Branded queries

Branded queries contain the brand name, semantic brand names (i.e. misspelt), or the name and location.

For example, Abstrakt’s branded queries:

  • abstrakt

  • abstrakt creative

  • abstract creative

  • abstrakt nottingham

  • abstrakt creative nottingham

  • abstakt

Non-branded queries

Non-branded queries have no relation to the brand name.

For example, Abstrakt’s non-branded queries:

  • design agency nottingham

  • craft cms agency

  • web agency nottingham

Why is branded search so important?

For many brands, branded search is the bulk of their organic search traffic— especially for those with some or a lot of brand awareness already. If a brand isn’t ranking as the first result for brand-related terms, it leads to a loss of traffic, visibility, and even credibility.

Competitors will likely aim to bid against brand-related terms using PPC. Hence, it’s important to ensure your brand and website are immediately visible when a customer uses a brand-related query— whether they’re doing that out of loyalty or referral, an offer or from PR.

How and why SEO builds brand awareness

From a technical and on-page SEO perspective, SEO strategies consider the brand at all touch points— from customers and personas to planning and research and then onto writing meta information to support further brand awareness. Considerations include whether the brand affixes or appends to a meta title on which pages and how that engages with other keywords (think product names).

Protection strategies: Consider how a brand is searched for and visible, how to protect that rank and traffic, and how to benefit further from it.

Opportunity strategies: We look at how to make a brand more visible and harness non-branded terms to build awareness for a brand when it’s less well-known.

It’s often said that a website is your company’s 24/7 sales team, and without brand awareness or strong SEO, that team isn’t visible to those searching for it.

How to measure brand awareness with SEO

Measuring brand awareness for SEO is quite easy as long as you have the right tool. What’s more, said tool is free! Google’s Search Console reports on your website and measures organic traffic through clicks, impressions and click-through rates.

Search Console is easily added to websites with a tracking script implemented by a developer, Google Tag Manager or through the CMS (in some cases).

It shows user queries (branded and non-branded) and then clicks to visit your website. It’s broken down by queries or by pages. When in page view, you can granularly drill down into each page and see the exact queries users click to arrive on the page from Google’s organic search results.

It enables businesses to see the exact queries searched for and, thus if they’re branded or non-branded and how many clicks are received day by day. It makes it easy to report on the branded queries a business is searched and found for, how much and how often, and makes it simple to report improvements.

That means if you’re specifically targeting branded queries, you can report improved impressions and clicks across various terms by day, month, quarter, etc.

How does SEO improve brand credibility?

It’s human nature to mistrust digital marketing and online experiences if things don’t quite feel right—a broken and clunky checkout flow or a voucher code shared on social media that doesn’t work. Arriving at a 404 Error page from an email campaign or the search result information not matching the page you land on. It lessens credibility, frustrates users and makes it easy to mistrust.

Imagine hearing about a business and going to a search engine to search their brand name, and they’re not there— or they’re further down the results. Why? To the uneducated about how search engines work, it can lead to discrediting and reluctance to commit and click.

That’s why branded SEO is so important— to ensure your website is best placed for brand-related terms across the whole spectrum of what that might look like. Brand name, products or services searched along brand name or even location— what if your business shares a name or one similar with another that is a completely different offering? Ensuring SEO matches brand identity is crucial in gaining visibility and traffic.

OG Article

Lauren Irwin

Lauren is an SEO Lead specialising in SXO and optimising websites for user and search. In a nutshell, she makes websites work hard to be found.

She has specialist knowledge in digital brands and SXO.

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