Branding and SEO go hand in hand. Google certainly loves to confuse search engine optimization specialists, whether they do it intentionally or not. Every week, there’s a big new SEO idea that affects the foundation of everything businesses have built. It’s a struggle to stay on top of the trends – especially when you feel as though you’ve put loads of time and effort into something that ceases to be important in the blink of an eye.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can control, and Google actually wants you to take the helm. Building a brand is always the right decision. It’s necessary for the continued success of your business. What many business owners fail to realize is that the building of their brand can become the cornerstone of a successful SEO strategy. It all boils down to the way people interact with Google.
Google’s Many SERP Changes
Just a few short years ago, it was like The Hunger Games trying to get into the Answer Box. People wanted to be featured above every result on the page. Everyone thought that Google’s Answer Box would be the pinnacle of innovation. We were all wrong.
Google’s artificial intelligence is eerily strong. Things have progressed to the point where Google wants to be able to provide thorough and complete answers without requiring searchers to click on anything. Answer boxes, snippets, knowledge panels, and related images and videos are dominating the top of the search results. Google wants to know its searchers better than they know themselves, and it’s almost scary how accurate they’ve been so far.
With their latest innovation being so well received, Google is unlikely to stop. They’ll continue growing and learning until they’ve essentially become a fully automated predictive knowledge machine. Statistics are showing that people appreciate and utilize these changes. They appreciate them so much that when they search for something, they just don’t click anymore.
Since Google started providing such high quality predicted information, it’s now become a coin toss whether or not people will even click the links that come up. They don’t necessarily need to – if they’re getting presented with everything they need the moment they search, what’s the point of clicking on anything? People get their answers and go back to whatever they were doing.
This makes the SEO landscape as we know it a bit of a conundrum. What’s the sense of getting pushed to the top of the page if your information doesn’t make it into the features at the top of the page? What more could you be doing to make yourself stand out and encourage people to click on you? Understanding the full scope of the problem might help you conclude that branding is the answer.
Clickthrough Rate Is Key
We all labored tirelessly over ranking numbers. We spent tons of time and money attempting to achieve number one for every keyword we could possibly envision. And guess what? It just doesn’t matter that much anymore. The amount of quality links you’ve exchanged and the quality of the content you created wasn’t for nothing. It still means a lot, and it’s taken you this far. It’s just not the sole factor lately. Clickthrough rate is up and coming as a deciding factor. If your CTR isn’t impressive, your amazing content and wealth of links won’t speak loudly enough.
Google responds to the behavior of searchers. If people aren’t clicking the top search result (or are returning abruptly after finding that it didn’t satisfy their needs), that search result will take a hit. In short, these means that being on top doesn’t necessarily mean you will stay on top. You have to contend with the tall order of fulfilling all your promises and satisfying your visitors. In order to even get them there, they need to find their first impression on the SERP page to be satisfactory.
Popularity, Clicks And Conversions
If you’re committed to becoming profitable and successful, you’ve likely left no stone unturned. You’ve run a million A/B tests. You’ve created dozens of landing pages. You’ve reworked your sales funnel at least a hundred times. When you’re striving for perfection, you’re constantly tinkering with your website. When you’re determined to be the best, there’s almost nothing you aren’t willing to try.
The truth is, you could be doing everything right. You might have created something perfect. People visit you and buy everything you want them to buy, and you’re having a great time. You just wish there were more people. Even if you feel as though you aren’t performing as well as you could, more exposure means more chances to make sales.
If you can’t figure out where the missing piece is, it’s probably getting people to show up. They need to first commit to the click in order to follow through and make that purchase. Your link is there. It’s right near the top. You’re happy with the way it shows up. You might even have an image or two show up at the top of the page. Why isn’t it enough?
Oftentimes, the issue is with branding. In order to improve your CTR and boost conversions, you need some kind of popularity or reputation already established. People will click on you because they already know who you are, even if the idea is only vague. They need to have heard of you before or felt as though your branding resonated with them in a meaningful way. You can overtake your biggest competitor for the top spot, but if people know and love that competitor, there’s still a daunting chance that they’ll scroll right past you.
The Impact Your Brand Has On Your Clicks
You get to the SERP page. You see a bunch of answers up at the top. You scroll down to find the top 5 results. There’s a lot of information there, and you have to pick which source you want more from. Which one do you click on? It’s more than likely that you click on the one you recognize. If you want to read more, you’re going to turn to a source you trust. You’ll choose a brand you feel you have an established rapport with.
This is especially true because everyone is competing with the same content. The headlines and snippets are similar. It’s never apparent at first glance which link is going to provide the searcher with the specific information they need, or why they should click that link over any other link. There’s an information overload, because many major brands were just a little too good at creating quality content.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed or having to make a complicated decision over a simple thing, people are just going to stick to what they know. If they’re searching for kitchen equipment and they know Cuisinart is reputable, they’re going to click on Cuisinart’s link. If they’re looking for tools, they’re going to stick to Black and Decker. They’ve already established positive associations with industry leaders. They perceive them as knowledgeable authorities. It’s easy for them to make a choice that’s as simple as going with what they know. The rest doesn’t matter as much – even if the content someone else has put out is more useful or more informative. People are simply creatures of habit.
The challenge this presents for smaller brands and businesses is something of a reputation war. At this point, it merely matters that you show up in a knowledge panel or on the first page of search engine results. Getting people to click on you is more of a popularity contest than ever before.
Building Your Brand
Now that everything boils down to brand, SEO is dramatically different. Yes, it is important to create valuable backlinks. Of course it should be a top priority to create high quality, shareable content. And yes, you’ll still need to research and compete with the right keywords. The biggest difference is that you’re juggling all those moving parts while you’re trying to make people love you. Google has become the dating game.
Branding is its own challenge, but it’s essentially the peanut butter to SEO’s jelly. People want the perfect sandwich, and if you want to come out ahead, you need to give it to them. The first step in successful branding is recognizing what makes your business unique. People know they like grape jelly – you need to explain to them why switching to your revolutionary huckleberry jam is the best decision.
Successful, memorable branding is a combination of many factors. It first begins with your product or service. If it’s too similar to something that already exists and works perfectly fine, building a brand will be next to impossible. It needs to be apparent from the jump that you’re different and better. People want to know what you do that your customer doesn’t. They want to see themselves happier with your offering than any other offering.
Next comes the challenge of determining who you’re speaking to. Many brands will conduct research and develop a target demographic. No matter how much research you do, there’s no real telling who will actually become your customer base. Start speaking to the people who show up and make purchases . All you need to know is what problem you’ve solved for them, why they love your product, and what convinced them to purchase it. A simple email survey provide you with all the answers you need.
Once you know what angle to take, you’ll have to decide on a brand voice. Brands talk to people. Some brands are notorious for their snark. Others are notorious for their compassion. Highly competitive brands will go right for the throat of their competitors. Your voice should depend on what resonates with your established audience. Levels of humor and formality may differ from brand to brand. Millennials prefer humor and direct language, while B2B brands may be better off keeping their tone serious and meaningful.
Reprioritizing Your SEO Strategy
Once you feel like your branding is concrete and you’ve developed a solid understanding of how to market that brand, it’s time to incorporate it with SEO. Your ad campaigns, social media presence, and preferred methods of outreach will get your message across. People will come to know who you are and what you do. Your brand will be established as a person.
Now, it’s time to make everything else match that brand. The useful and original content you create should be shaped within your brand. You want to write in your brand voice and keep all of your messages on brand. Consistency across the board is important for you to be memorable.
Get back to your aggressive SEO strategy with your newly branded content. That content will begin to rank, and takeaways might even show up in answer boxes and knowledge panels. People will be more likely to click on you because they know who you are. When they get there, they’re going to find what they were expecting. They’ll stay, and they’ll be more likely to become customers.
This is where branding and SEO come full circle. It’s a total approach to meeting the needs of your customers, acquiring new ones, becoming competitive, driving sales, and satisfying Google’s complex and ever growing list of needs.
Once you have all the wheels moving, there’s your vehicle. Everything needs to be intricately interwoven, and that synergy can propel your business to new heights. It’s a little more complicated than it used to be, but your ability to grow and change with the times will help you achieve your goals.
Finding Things A Little Complicated?
If you need help with SEO in Tucson, we’re the people to turn to. We’re always up to date on Google’s complicated specifications. We help brands like yours fortify their presence online, achieve the rankings they desire, and become successful in their industries. Running your brand keeps you busy – we’ll help you handle the rest. All you need to do is contact us.