What is Branding, and why is it so Important for SEO?
April 13th 2020 | By Steve Grant
Every business knows the importance of standing out from the sea of competition. It’s precisely why branding is so important. It’s the very thing that defines your business. But what exactly is branding, and why is it so important from a search engine optimisation perspective?
What is branding?
Lots of people think of branding as just a logo or colour scheme. But it really is so much more than that. Branding is in fact an incredibly powerful force. It defines your customer experience. It’s woven into the personality of your business, expressing how your customers see you and how you make them feel about what you stand for. Yes it’s how your brand looks, but as a brand you’re identified as a great deal more. Tone of voice. Messaging. Approach. Background. Values. Responsibility. Personality.
When people buy from you, make no mistake that they are not driven to that purchase simply by merit of the tangible features of your product or service. Much more than this, they are compelled by non-tangible entities; things that are ruled by hearts rather than heads. These ‘things’ are precisely what define your brand identity. In other words, it’s your reputation that goes before your product or service offering, and that’s certainly not defined solely by a logo or colour scheme.
So now we have in a nutshell defined branding, it’s time to delve into how branding is so important for SEO.
Why is branding so important for search engine optimisation?
Put simply, Google uses algorithms to work out where a website appears in the search results. There are numerous ranking factors that contribute towards search results positions, from keyword use and selection to content quality; inbound links and citations to dwell time; image optimisation to page loading speed. All of these are fairly easy to track when it comes to success rate.
Branding is another page ranking factor, but because it tends to work indirectly, it’s a little trickier to measure. It is however still incredibly important. Here are some of the top reasons why.
1. Branding can boost inbound links
Inbound links from authority domains remain one of the main ways that Google works out search engine rankings. Natural, in-context links that have been earned on editorial merit are the ones the search engine is looking for, as opposed to the ones that have been traded or purchased.
How it works:
A well-respected brand with a strong reputation will attract more people to its website. Because the content on that website is useful, well-written and engaging, and because the brand is trusted, readers with access to a relevant website or blog will link to the content. Not all of them of course, but even a small proportion of links will set you apart from the competitor that has fewer, or none.
2. Branding can encourage social sharing
Social signals such as Google, Facebook and Twitter engagement account for a small but nevertheless significant percentage of ranking factors.
How it works:
Much like inbound links, the sharing of quality content is much more likely when the brand that has produced it is well known and reliable. A greater volume of social shares equates to increased online visibility, which translates as great proof for Google that your brand is trusted.
3. Branding can enhance click-through rates
Behavioural signals such as click-through rate, clicks to call and check-ins account for a fair proportion of ranking factors.
How it works:
You do a Google search for, let’s say, best places to see bluebells near me. The site ranked #7 is a well-trusted establishment, so users are skipping all the results above and clicking on the one with the best known brand reputation. Very soon, Google is going to push that result up the rankings because it can see that’s the one people trust most.
4. Branding shapes online reputation
Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines set out what Google looks for regarding quality in a website. The guidelines mention reputation a great deal, especially, ‘what outside independent sources say about the website’.
How it works:
Google looks beyond what a website says about itself and more towards ‘reputable external sources’ such as online news and Wikipedia articles, forum discussions, blogs and third party ratings. Such support only comes from one thing: great brand reputation. This approach can be likened to Amazon founder, CEO and president Jeff Bezos’ famous quote, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
5. Brand mentions mean a lot
Google’s search algorithm includes brand mentions. This is when a brand is talked about, without actually linking to any of its content.
How it works:
Google is aware of when a brand is mentioned online, and it rewards the ones that are being talked about most. This leads to improved search rankings. It really is that simple!
SEO is also important for brand awareness
Conversely, SEO is known to boost brand awareness, so the two work together in harmony.
Websites that appear at the top of the search results are far more likely to be trusted than those lagging behind.
It’s therefore vital that building brand awareness and search engine optimisation are cohesively combined in any digital marketing strategy for the best possible results and return on investment.
Time to focus on building your brand?
A well-planned brand building strategy will support your search engine optimisation efforts, and vice versa. Both are equally important, and both can have incredible benefits for any business, not least increased visibility, sales and profits.
Google knows a strong brand. If you’d like to discover how Figment can help you build your brand in every respect, visually and reputation wise, and how we can combine brand building with SEO, why not get in touch?