Among all the possibilities, people searching straight for your brand online confirms that your brand awareness campaign is working. They’re familiar with your brand, typing your name in the search box and ready to take on the next step with you. The question is:
Are you ready for them? Are you prepared to maximize the potential of branded search?
When users include your business or brand name in their search engine query, we call this a branded search. And what are branded keywords? The search terms people use for this purpose are referred to as branded keywords. Unfortunately, while such brand mentions are easy to rank for, companies tend to overlook them because most search engine optimization (SEO) efforts are focused solely on high-volume, non-branded keywords.
But keep in mind that just because potential customers perform a brand name search does not mean they will find your branded keyword at the top of Google, Bing or other search engines. So you can’t just leave it at that, can you? Unless you’re Apple, Coca-Cola or another high-profile brand, you have to optimize your brand keywords to ensure qualified leads find you ranking visibly in their query results.
The process of anticipation and preparation that leads to brand optimization is the core of a branded search strategy. You anticipate the surge of high-intent leads after raising brand awareness, optimize relevant site pages to rank #1 for brand keywords and herd prospects toward the bottom of your sales funnel. With double the conversion rate of non-branded search terms at stake, you or your SEO company must systematically approach branded search and prevent valuable leads from leaking out of your sales funnel.
This blog will teach you exactly how to do that. In the next few moments, let us help you explore and learn the ways to build a persuasive and profitable branded search strategy.
What Is a Branded Search Strategy Made Of?
It’s usually framed as one-half of the competition, such as in branded vs non branded keywords, but branded search is meant to be integrated into your SEO strategy. It’s designed to enhance your presence across the web, from search and map results to shopping and online marketplace listings.
SEO experts who understand branded search say it involves organic and paid search tactics. This knowledge may shed some light on how it can move your SEO marketing strategy forward.
Brand keywords, including personal brand keywords, should be claimed and optimized from the get-go. You will need them to dominate the search engine results pages (SERPs) to attract consumers in the consideration, decision and action stages. People in these buying phases are done researching and window-shopping. They’re ready to spend money on the right product or service.
For this purpose, you should incorporate branded keywords into your SEO content strategy and let them build up toward your desired end.
Organic brand optimization can be applied to your:
• Product pages
• The meta tags and descriptions of these branded keyword-based pages
• After-sales support content, including instruction manuals and how-to guides
What are branded keywords in light of paid search or pay-per-click marketing (PPC)? They are the same as your organic keywords, including those mentioning your products, services and representatives like the chief executive officer (CEO).
But creating a brand search campaign entails bidding for and owning them. That is, you can have relevant ads displayed above organic search results when your target audience searches for your branded keywords. This tactic allows you to improve click-throughs and generate conversions.
Besides winning bids, you can boost ad performance using paid brand mention services like Google extensions. These extensions let you add details that further pique your prospects’ curiosity. Here are some examples:
• Site links
• Contact information
• Product or service pricing
Armed with these tactics, you can apply SEO services to a brand search campaign. But before you can do that, you should establish a branded keyword-based SEO strategy to guide your efforts. The next section will teach you how.
How to Effectively Execute a Branded Search Strategy
A strategy provides you with a framework for implementing the tactics above. Let’s dive right into the steps you should take to build and execute your brand optimization strategy.
1. Conduct a Brand Search Audit
Whether you’ve done this task before or had an SEO agency do it for you, it’s critical that you conduct it thoroughly. Follow the steps outlined below:
• Find out your branded vs non branded keywords ratio. Go to your Google Search Console account and pull up your last quarter’s performance report.
Once you’re on the report page, click the + heading and choose Query to filter the branded keywords and non-branded keywords used by your site visitors. Compare the numbers and visualize their percentages in a pie chart.
Also, remember to include misspelled versions of your brand name, and your product or service names.
• Using the same tool, find brand mentions or searches that brought in the most traffic.
• Next, consider how branded searches and clicks drove people to pages on your site. Determine the resulting top site pages in this regard.
• You can also gather data on which geographical area your branded searches came from.
• Still a part of your brand name search audit, you should check for any issues or damaging content containing your branded keywords. This aspect matters, especially if you’re doing digital public relations (PR) and online reputation management (ORM).
A branded search company would have an array of brand search audit tools at its disposal. Here are a few we recommend to our clients at Thrive: Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster, UpCity Free SEO Report Card and Ahrefs.
What is a branded search audit tool you’re interested in or want to try?
2. Reinforce Your Keyword Research
After your site audit and analysis, it’s time to perform keyword research. This task should aid you in determining the most viable branded keywords for your SEO content strategy or SEO marketing strategy.
• Craft rich content based on your brand name search findings, e.g., product demos and pricing.
• Instead of making the branded keywords vs non branded keywords distinction, see how you can deploy both keyword types into the same pieces of relevant content.
• Watch out for potential reputation management issues arising from negative brand sentiment. Stay alert for branded searches mentioning common negative words like scam, slow and difficult.
• You can also go beyond your personal brand keywords and identify gaps and weak spots in your competitor’s SEO content strategy. On the other hand, you can also leverage brand mention services to figure out what’s working for your rivals.
SEO experts suggest the following keyword research tools: Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Keyword Explorer from Moz and SpyFu.
3. Monitor Brand Mentions
Suppose you’re new to SEO marketing and you don’t have enough Search Console data yet. Or maybe your past SEO agency did not have branded search services. But you have been in business for years and accumulated brand sentiment across digital platforms. Good for you because there are other ways to monitor brand mentions.
• Social media is one of the most accessible places to find brand mentions, especially the popular ones like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
• If you’ve done digital PR or link building, you may also have a portfolio of branded anchor text and links from blogs, online magazines, newsletters and news sites.
• You can also monitor brand mentions in local directories such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp and Yahoo Local.
• Rating and review sites are also an excellent place to start if you want to gauge brand sentiment and find brand mentions.
A reliable SEO company or branded search agency cannot accomplish its job without tapping into brand mention services such as: Google Analytics, Mention, BuzzSumo, Sprout Social and Brandwatch.
5 Reasons Your Company Is Not Ranking for Branded Searches
Whether you’ve rolled out a brand search campaign before or have had personal brand keywords that rank miserably in the SERPs, the reasons could be detected — usually through the in-depth audit of a branded search company.
According to SEO experts, here are the likely reasons you’re ranking dismally for branded searches:
1. Your site is new and not indexed by search engines yet.
2. There are gaps in your existing SEO strategy, chief of which is the lack of branded search integration into your SEO services.
3. You have different brand names in your portfolio.
4. Your brand name or acronym is similar to that of another company.
5. You are not signaling to Google that you are the entity that owns the branded keywords in the SERPs. You have to make it clear across your digital properties, starting with your website.
These reasons may sound simple and easy to solve. However, in the case of #4, you cannot just ask the other company to let go of the similar brand name. Any branded search company worth its salt will address each problem meticulously to ensure proper optimization.
Holistic SEO Services Include Branded Search
We’ll ask you again: Are you prepared to maximize the potential of branded search?
Maybe you feel like you’re not. Indeed, getting started takes more than knowing the answer to What is a branded search? or What are branded keywords? You have to organize your efforts around a branded search strategy. Based on what we shared, that strategy requires you to follow simple steps, but you also have to do it properly, choose from a plethora of tools and find the tactics to eliminate the reasons you’re not ranking for branded searches.
The cost of doing all that by yourself can build up over time. Meanwhile, a branded search agency exists so you won’t have to do everything alone. And in the process of lending a hand, it considers your goals, budget and timeline. This SEO company is Thrive.
Thrive is a digital marketing firm with a broad focus. But we also go deep as an SEO agency to include branded search optimization. We develop a brand-specific strategy for our clients to ensure you’re not missing out on the conversion and revenue possibilities brought about by well-positioned branded keywords.
To speak with our SEO experts about branded search, send us a message or call us at 866-908-4748.