seo, branding2017 has been a year of many ups and downs – from revolutionary political decisions to implementation of financial reforms – the year was witness to a lot of events taking place all over the world. Now it is time to take the year on review and gear up for the one that is ahead of us as we learn from the mistakes this year that will bolster our vows to improve in the next.
If you are a business that is looking to employ effective SEO strategies to up your digital marketing game, then building your brand through digital marketing is what you should be focusing on right now, and this blog tells you exactly why that is the need of the hour for your business to prosper in 2018 and the years ahead.
Building a brand – the whats and hows
Even the most efficient of the marketers will not be able to answer what brand building is in a simple sentence. It is the very nature of the term that does not let anyone define it in short and straightforward processes – brand building is essentially a series of methods and smart strategies that enable a company to build a specific perception about their brand in the minds of the consumers. However, successful brand building is far from being only that. The reason that we can identify Nike from the swoosh symbol on caps, scarves and storefronts minus the text or the way a blue box is synonymous to Tiffany’s in our minds is because those brands have been able to carve a niche for themselves by impacting the consumers’ minds through successful brand building techniques and clever marketing strategies. Brands are usually among the following three categories.
Retail brands combine services and products at their selling points, which are usually retail stores around us and the online stores for their respective brands. Some popular retail brands are Marks & Spencer, KFC, and Macy’s.
Product brands focus on the experience of the consumer with their product. Product brands also have stores, offline and online. Some of the popular product brands are Audi, Puma, and Apple.
Service brands deal with the experiences of the customers with the particular service that they offer through their agency, company or professionals. Service brands operate through their specific locations, both online and offline.
Brand building is thus a complex process of creating a specific image about the brand’s products and services in the minds of the customers that is easily identifiable and has a high recall value that helps them prosper in business. In the era of advanced digital marketing strategies, brainstorming to build a brand using the online resources is thus something that every clever marketer should be focusing on – here is why.
Why brand building through SEO is the need of the day
Building a brand through SEO starts with the SERP or search engine results page. It is not a secret that the leading search engines often give the popular and big names among brands a lot of preferential treatment in terms of better rankings with lesser number of links and moderation of penalizing activities for flouting the Internet protocols. Smaller brands, on the other hand, often go unnoticed and have to work twice as hard to earn a decent ranking on the SERPs. Coupled with this undeniable reason about why the smaller brands need to up their SEO game for successful brand building, here are some more points that will tell you the other reasons that your brand needs an image revival for 2018 to stay in the increasingly competitive sphere of brand management through SEO.
Clicks come from brand recognition
Brand recognition plays a crucial role in generating clicks and thus increasing traffic to your website. Even if your content is appealing and you offer better services or products for lesser money than the leading names in your sector, the chances are that the consumers are still going to be willing to shell out those extra bucks just for the brand name that your competitors have. Customers have long been known for their tendencies to associate themselves with big brand names that have a world of repute. They will always prefer to go for a burger at McDonald’s than one from their local eatery or buy jewellery from Tiffany’s despite having to pay extra just so they can belong to that niche of people owning something with a brand name as notable as Tiffany’s. Suppose you sell trainers that are reliable with a great fit, stylish and sturdy at half the price for the same type of trainers that Adidas sells. How likely it is that the customers will click on the link for your product before they check out the same trainers from Adidas, Puma or Nike? Not very likely, yes. However, with effective brand building strategies through SEO, you can ensure that your brand is a well-known name among your consumer base so that people do not scroll on to find better and bigger brand names. This way, building brand recognition will help you generate more clicks that you can convert to business online.
SERPs are changing too
SERPs are continually evolving and developing their material design and review software every day. So what does that have to do with your brand building strategies and SEO? The answer lies in the fact that the material design and other additional features including the algorithm updates that the SERPs keep adding to their layout usually determine consumer behaviour to a great extent. For example, take the case of “featured snippets” on Google. The featured snippets are those that are featured on the SERP on Google when a user puts forth a query in the search bar. The featured snippet displays relevant answers to the user’s query by sourcing content from other websites. The featured snippet tries to answer the user’s query in brief and comes with helpful links from where the information has been sourced. The related links to relevant websites having the information that the user is looking for feature in their usual ordered manner but it has been observed that the users tend to click on the website whose snippet has been featured by Google to answer their queries, making those websites have more traffic. As is no surprise, the brands that find their places in the Google “featured snippet” section are the trusted and notable names in field. It is for this very reason that even though you might have better content and range of reliable products or services, the layman user will not pay much heed to what you have to offer or have the patience to scroll down to check all the relevant links. As the users are drawn towards bigger brands with a stable brand image, it is high time that you concentrate on building your brand so you too, can reap benefits from the newer updates and features that search engines keep launching to highlight the big names in the industry.
CTRs are the real deal now
CTRs, the abbreviated form of click-through rates, is a form of measurement used in SEO that assesses the number of times that a link with paid inclusion is clicked on when it turns up on the SERP in response to the query from a user. Gradually inching past the traditional SEO rankings that combine the two-way process of high-ranked brands generating more clicks and more clicks contributing to their SEO ranking, CTRs have emerged as the new and indirect players in the field. Leading search engines like Google always analyse search queries and clicks to find out what the user preferences are, and no clicks despite being on the top of the rankings in SEO does no good for your brand whereas clicks increase your ranking as well as the credibility of your content to Google. As for organic CTRs, you will rise the table of ranks gradually if your website gets more clicks than is the standard organic CTR for the category of query your users are searching for. Muddling your mind with elaborate SEO algorithm discussions and wracking your brains to find a better way out can be done away with in just a few simple processes that lead you to give all you have towards building a brand for your service or product so it conquers these obstacles with ease. As the majority of the traffic meanders and roams around the known brand names among the SERP listings for a query, it is only natural that you should devote time and effort in becoming one of those names rather than looking for easy ways out of this fix. Suppose a user is looking for information on the guided tours conducted at Yellowstone National Park. They are two times more likely to click a link by Lonely Planet than one by some not-so-famous travel website who, if possible, might have better and more informative content about the specific query. Buyer behaviour online is no different from this and hence it is important to take your brand to the stature of the big brands (in this case, Lonely Planet) for your business to prosper the way you want it to.
These three compelling reasons are calling out to all the SEO teams and their efficient marketing heads that can get together to form practical strategies for building their brands so that they can tackle 2018 in a manner that ensures growth and prosperity for their respective businesses.
From where to start – brand building basics
The basics of brand building are very simple. However, it tends to get more complicated as one delves deeper into the strategies. And as with most marketing techniques, these too, are easier said than done. At the very outset, you should define your brand and be prepared to defend it by using all your powers disguised as smart marketing skills. Secondly, think of ways to innovate and stand apart from the rest who offer the same product or services that you do. In order to convince others that you are the best option they have, you have to believe that you indeed are. Thirdly, invest in a team of dynamic SEO professionals who know what they are doing and can create wonders for your marketing strategy and business using the digital marketing resources at their disposal. Creating a brand personality that your consumers would like to associate himself or herself with is something that every marketer dreams of, and you too can achieve it by simply having in place a well thought of SEO strategy for building your brand.
As building a brand is not done in a day, you will have to be patient and wait for the results to start showing so you can employ other marketing strategies to cash in on the repute that your brand then stands firmly upon. With the rapidly changing scenario in digital marketing, brand building through SEO is the way to go in 2018 for your businesses to grow and prosper through more CTRs and better SERP performances.
Julian Stiles has long been a guest blogger for freelance writing at NerdyTurltez.com, and more often than not, comes up with trending topics for discussion on digital marketing and SEO. When he is not writing enriching blogs for various leading digital marketing forums, he manages his own advertising firm in Maryland, USA.