Using SEO To Help Build Brand Awareness
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is an effective strategy for driving website traffic and increasing sales, but many marketers don’t realise the important role it can play in brand awareness. Building a well-known brand among your target audience is essential for success and a common goal for all brand managers and marketers. Your brand is an extremely valuable asset, and developing it properly is critical. You want a business that is instantly recognisable among your audience, and your first thought for this might be your brand image, social media, or products. However, your SEO should not be underestimated when it comes to branding.
Search engines are constantly evolving and updating their algorithms, and today they are more user-focused than ever before. Gone are the days of plugging your website with your keywords and brand name and hoping for the best. Web managers now have to be much savvier with their SEO strategies, especially when it comes to growing your brand online. Search engine results pages (SERPs) is a global market and over-saturated with businesses competing for visibility, but SEO can help set your brand apart from the crowds when done right.
Why Use SEO For Brand Awareness?
Brands can improve their awareness using many different marketing techniques and strategies, so you might be wondering why SEO should be one of them. Google revealed that over 50% of online shoppers use the search engine to discover new brands. This is where your customers are going to find businesses just like yours, so you must stand out.
Many marketers focus on using SEO to improve website traffic and online sales. A few years ago, this was a reasonable goal for organic search, but the way consumers use SERPs has changed. Last year, 64% of all Google searches resulted without a click to another website. This means that users are searching, reading the results, and learning about brands and products directly on the search results page as opposed to on a brand website. Just because a customer hasn’t clicked on your website doesn’t mean they haven’t become more aware of your brand. Updates to Google, such as Featured Snippet, People Also Ask and Knowledge Panels, are providing consumers with everything they need to know without them ever clicking through to your website.
Consumers who are going to click through on a SERP will generally click on the results of the brands they are already familiar with. Research shows that 70% of consumers look for a “known retailer” when choosing a search result to click on. This means that not only is it more difficult than ever to show up on SERPs, but encouraging clicks without being a well-known brand is a real challenge.
Search engines are notorious for prioritising big brand names over small businesses, and the more clicks these brands receive, the higher and higher they will rank. These are the brands that are being showcased in Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels, leaving small brands in the dust. The only way to compete with the big brands is to focus on building your own brand with SEO.
Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google famously said about the internet “Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”
Arguably however, Google doesn’t really understand ‘brands’ per se but instead the typical signals associated with brand websites.
How To Build Brand Awareness With SEO?
Knowing where to start with using SEO to increase brand awareness can be a struggle. With so many strategies out there to improve SEO, it is essential to choose the right combination of tactics to boost your brand image online. If your previous focus for SEO has always been website traffic, then this shift in goals can be confusing. At Blue Array, we are experts in SEO and using organic search strategies to build brand awareness. Here are our tried and tested methods for building brand awareness using SEO.
Link building is a popular method of optimising for search engines and can be very effective for building brand awareness on the SERPs. It is the process of ‘earning’ links from other websites to yours. Google and other search engines crawl the web for these links, and websites with high quality (non-paid) and relevant links will be boosted up the results pages. This is an easy and simple way of improving your online presence.
Generating these links between other sites is also a great way to increase exposure and drive additional traffic to your own website. You must build connections with websites that are ideally relevant to your industry and reach the same target market as yours. Setting up links on irrelevant or spam sites can actually harm your SEO long term and result in Google ranking your website lower through manual actions. Using link building to build brand awareness is great because it puts your business in front of the right audience and expands your reach within your specific industry. For more information on the kind of link building that’s explicitly against most search engines guidelines, please review this resource from Google.
2Optimising Keyword Phrases
If you have ever focused on SEO before, you will know that the keywords you are targeting are the key to a successful campaign. This is also true when you want to use SEO to improve brand awareness. You must optimise your keyword phrases to drive qualified traffic to your brand website. The only way you will capture viable consumers with your website is by creating the content that they are searching for. Take the time to analyse and research the keywords for your niche and look into the keywords your competitors are using. When done correctly, optimising your keyword phrases can help your brand reach the right audience. Not only will ranking highly for these keywords help you reach more customers, but it is a form of credibility and social proof.
When researching and optimising your keyword strategy, it is worthwhile looking into the use of longtail keywords. Longtail keywords have a click rate that is 3 to 5% higher than generic searches, so they are certainly worth the effort. These longtail keywords will allow your brand to reach out to very targeted and specific audiences, which you would not be able to reach with just regular keywords alone. Longtail keywords often offer low competition, high focus, and high conversion rates, so make sure you incorporate them into your SEO strategy.
Finally there’s what we call serendipitous search at Blue Array, or the fortunate happenstance of discovering your brand through often informational searches or sometimes navigational searches (for competitors) . A great example of this is flight booking website Skyscanner who are ranking well for ‘best childrens suitcases’ in the UK. Guaranteed if a consumer is looking for childrens suitcases they are or were in the market for booking flights.
3Integrating Other Channels
SEO is an excellent tool for building brand awareness, but to get the best out of it is best to integrate with other channels. Social media and SEO are a highly effective combination for boosting awareness of your brand online. Integrating social channels with SEO can help you to not only reach new audiences but connect with them as well. Social media can work hand in hand with your SEO strategy and helps to boost your online presence because social channels are also indexed by search engines. You just need to ensure that your content for SEO and your social media content is relevant and in line with one another.
Social media is a powerful strategy for building brand awareness alongside SEO, but you must be in it for the long run. SEO with any goal is a long-term strategy, as is social media, and it takes time to build trust in your brand. Integrating other channels within your SEO plan can help deliver your content to a broader audience while also developing your brand authority online. Social media isn’t the only channel to consider for this kind of integration. Paid search can work effectively alongside SEO to build brand awareness and increase exposure if you have the budget for it. Cheaper still and also effective is remarketing or retargeting. This can be incredibly effective given you know the landing page a user has arrived at via organic search and can understand the likely search term used to arrive there. This helps with the messaging and creativity for your campaign.
Ultimately, the more channels you can incorporate into your SEO brand awareness strategy, the better the impact will be. Your aim should be to cover every aspect of your niche and have your brand appear no matter what customers are searching for within a particular space. Consumers will begin to feel like your brand is everywhere if you consistently appear near the top of the search results every time they are looking. They might not click on your results the first few searches, but over time they will become familiar with your brand, and if they do click through and like what they see, then they could quickly become loyal, paying customers.
4Using Top Of The Funnel Content
We’ve already talked about the importance of using optimised keywords and longtail keywords, but optimising your content is crucial as well. Every marketer already knows that content must be high quality and unique to perform well in organic search, but it also needs to be the type of content that your audience is looking for. When consumers are searching online, they are likely in the awareness stage of the sales funnel, and your content needs to be optimised to this.
When using SEO to build brand awareness, you need to be focusing on top-of-the-funnel content. This means content which users are looking for in the very early stages of their buying journey. Things like comparison pages (e.g iPhone 11 vs. iPhone 13 ), explainer articles, and FAQs are all great for building trust and credibility within your brand, with consumers who are at the beginning of their search. The goal of top-of-the-funnel content is to move people onto the next stage of the funnel, eventually becoming paying customers. You must avoid going in with the hard sell right from the beginning, especially when you are aiming to build your brand awareness.
Generating new content regularly can be a struggle for some businesses, but it is worth bearing in mind that there is always the option to repurpose and update old content. Reusing existing content is an excellent way of boosting SEO and building brand awareness, without the need to create something entirely new. It is also worth taking time to remove any old content which is no longer relevant. Having out-of-date content can be off-putting for customers and can undo all your hard work of building brand awareness through SEO.
5Creating The Right Content
Now we understand the importance of creating top-of-the-funnel content for brand awareness; we also need to look at creating the right type of content. You can have endless streams of top-of-funnel content on your website, but if it isn’t what your audience is looking for, then it is not going to boost your brand online. SEO used to be very focused on keyword intent, and it was enough to just use the right keywords to drive consistent traffic and build awareness. Today, search engines have moved towards using search intent instead. It is vital that you can identify the search intent of your audience and satisfy this by offering the right content.
If your brand can consistently satisfy your audience’s search intent and add value to them through high-quality content, then you will be able to raise awareness of your brand easily. An easy tip for creating the right content for your audience is to focus on content that has SEO potential, provides value to the user, and also promotes your brand in a powerful but not too sales-heavy way. Creating the right content is all about understanding your customers’ pain points and problems, and then serving content that fits with this. Remember that content goes much further than website copy and blog posts, video is more popular than ever, and visual content can help add value for your users. Posts with images have 94% more views than image-less ones.
6Targeting Niche Markets
Brands today can interact and engage with their audiences better than ever before. A few years ago, SEO was just a tool to communicate with customers, but today it can be used to engage with people and build your brand online. You must target a niche audience to reach the right people with your SEO campaigns. Using the right keywords and doing adequate keyword research can help you to gain an advantage over the competition. You will be able to build a brand that is super-focused on your particular niche and easily develop it within the right target market.
When you narrow your SEO down to a specific niche, you increase your chances of connecting with new customers and targeting your marketing. You can help grow your brand awareness within a fine-tuned audience, and focusing on one or two different niches is often more effective than trying to reach a very large audience. A brand that is focused is always going to be more successful than one that is not, and your SEO strategy should reflect this.
7Branding On-Page SEO
When it comes to implementing a brand awareness SEO strategy, you need to focus on your on-page SEO. Displaying your brand clearly and concisely within your SEO can help to improve awareness and reach new audiences. Using branded keywords is a great way to build your brand with SEO, and you should use these in your page titles, meta descriptions, headlines, and more.
Page titles are used by search engines to pull information about the page, and if you want to improve brand awareness, make sure your branded keywords are included here. Meta descriptions do not impact your ranking on SERPs, but they play an important role in whether a user clicks through to your website or not. You should make sure that your meta descriptions are compelling and encourage clicks, and this might mean leaving your branded keywords out for maximum effect.
How To Track Your SEO Brand Awareness Campaign?
One of the biggest challenges with brand awareness is being able to track it successfully. When you invest time and money into using your SEO to build brand awareness, you need to be able to tell that it is paying off. Looking carefully at your analytics can help you to determine which aspects of your SEO strategy are working and which need some more attention. Insights into your keywords, click-through rates, and organic traffic can help you to determine if your brand awareness campaign is working.
Be careful about tracking direct traffic and attributing this to ‘brand’. Direct traffic is ‘direct’, but also typically a bucket of misattributed traffic. So if your organic traffic is growing it may look like direct is also growing inline with this and you could easily say this was a ‘brand’ success , however this may just be misattributed organic traffic.
You must bear in mind that both SEO and brand awareness are long-term strategies, and results will not happen overnight. Most successful brands will monitor their SEO performance and brand awareness on a monthly or quarterly basis to see the full picture over a more extended period.
When you have followed the above methods, give them time to bed in and work their magic on your organic traffic and online presence. Things like link building, longtail keywords, serendipitous search and top-of-funnel content all need a good few months before they will start to generate real results, so don’t be in a hurry to make fast changes to your strategy if it doesn’t seem to be working. Trust the SEO process and focus on high-quality, engaging content which will compliment your brand and drive new customers. You should also remember that the same strategy will not work over and over again, and brand awareness is a constantly evolving aspect of your business.