SEO is Branding
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SEO is Branding
Back in the day when branding became the focus of marketing departments, the goal was often phrased as ‘we need to increase brand awareness’. The idea being if we can strengthen our brand DNA and visibility, we’ll succeed.
But how has this changed? In several ways.
- The Problem Google Solved: Google arguably solved one of the biggest problems of our times - people have become immune to and dislike ads. Once the customer could control access to product/service information they jumped on it. So Google solves this problem (inadvertently as it may be), becoming the default brand gatekeeper and the customer gains control of the marketing relationship. This is a very different situation for brand managers and requires new skills and understanding.
- Visibility: Since the web is the primary channel for brands and search engines are the primary gatekeepers, SEO has become critical for brand awareness. If a brand’s web presence has not been optimized, it is handicapped and lacks a key tool for success. In other words, if you aren’t visible, you're not in the game.
- SEO +: Most people think of SEO as an exercise limited to: keyword analysis, site content optimization, inbound links etc. All the nuts and bolts of online optimization. But there is a bigger aspect of SEO that encompasses branding. For example when developing a keyword set that a company wants to be found for, the real question is 'what does the company want to be known for and what are the brand attributes worth being found for?'. These are higher level branding and positioning questions that extend to reputation management and PR.
An interesting scenario now exists that many companies are uncomfortable with and are having a tough time adapting to. Many marketers are faced with these type of issues:
- We need to create content that our customers and Google will believe, not just marketing speak but real content is time consuming and hard to get approved by management.
- We have to expose ourselves to customer input via social media and not shy away from what some customers think of us.
- We have to focus on metrics such as online visibility, social media engagement and conversion. If these numbers are low then what do we need to do to increase our relevance?
SEO plays a key role in building brand awareness. Understanding how this works and evolving company/customer relationships via search engines and social media is critical to successfully building brand awareness today.
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