Why branded search matters in your content strategy

Estimated read time: 6 minutes



Indeed, non-branded search matters. Those terms capture people at the top and middle of the funnel. But branded search matters, too, and is especially important for the consumers toward the bottom of the funnel and in the case of a bow tie funnel toward the right of the funnel.

SEO Expert Greg Gifford told me on the Business Storytelling Podcast that ranking for your brand name is usually one of the easier SEO strategies. But there are also best practices regarding branded search engine results, as Jason Barnard explained. 

In this article, let’s discuss branded search and how it can fit into your overall strategy.

Article sections

What’s branded search?

Here’s a definition: People go to the search bar and start typing in the brand name and sometimes even the brand URL.

Then in Google results, the person gets served your website and clicks on it. Other times, they might visit your social profiles that showed up or related review sites. Or your branded podcast is showing up near the top and consumers go ahead and listen to a few episodes next.

Read next: How to optimize your LinkedIn Profile for better social selling



The basics of branded search

And while branded search might sound easy, there are things to consider to do it correctly.

Jason Barnard’s book on brand SERPs lays out the basics of why branded search matters. It’s a mix of consistency and ensuring people searching for your brand get the right results.

Jason explained that companies want to reflect themselves in the best possible light, and that’s why branded search matters. For example, a good search engine results page for a branded search can look like this, Jason explained:

  • Brand website
    • Internal links
  • Social media profiles
  • Review mentions

Read next: Your guide to making online reviews for businesses work

“The website is what your brand stands for and where people can interact with you,” said Jason. “But people can also interact with you on Twitter and the website is where they do business with you eventually. All these different touchpoints are what you can see in your branded SERPs.”

How others covering your brand helps with branded search results

In a world of emerging voice search and where voice is just showing one result, branded search becomes even more critical. The authors of the Voice Strategy book said on the Business Storytelling Podcast that companies don’t usually like it when their brand’s Wikipedia page shows up first. That’s a sign to get that branded search and voice strategy going.

The more your brand gets covered, the more likely it is that others are showing up for your branded search. That can also be used as an advantage and to add credibility to your brand.

I’m usually very willing to go on other people’s podcasts and hardly ever have problems getting guests on my podcast. And those podcast appearances can help establish my credibility when they appear in search of topics related to me or when people search for my name. For example, a search for “Content Performance Culture,” my third book, also shows my appearances on two podcasts:

Here’s how that looks on the SERP:

Branded search results

Branded results for content performance culture

The branded search results for my book are in this order:

  • Amazon
  • Amazon
  • This website
  • Nick’s website
  • My LinkedIn profile
  • Jason’s website
  • My book’s podcast on Apple
  • One of my podcast episodes on Anchor

It’s worth noting that Nick and Jason have an article on their websites with the podcast embedded. I prefer to listen to podcasts on Spotify or Google Podcasts, but posting them on your website with a write-up can help with search as well.

From my perspective, it’s fantastic that Nick and Jason show up for my book. Being listed as an expert in the field gives more credibility to my Content Performance Culture brand. Also, if somebody clicks on their links, my content is there, and my book can be purchased through the links on those pages.

This is one reason why generally speaking; it’s always good to be available for podcast appearances, quotes for articles, and be available for reporters’ questions.

Read next: Why and how to set up a media page and an awards page on your website

Branded search and influencer marketing

It’s also important when your brand works with influencers and content creators. Here are the typical questions I get when I partner with brands:

  • How many people read your content each month?
  • How many people are on the email list?

Hardly anyone asks about SEO. Is there a chance that this will help our ranking for branded search?

There’s long-term value in getting an influencer or a publisher to produce content around your brand.

There’s real value in getting coverage or participating in other people’s content pieces. Amanda Milligan talked about the top ways to get earned media here.


Of course, the answer is: It depends on whether this is a good investment or not.

You may have to spend those dollars if your competitors follow your brand name. Thanks to John Lynch, founder of HITMC.com, for reminding me.

And, of course, Google is trying to make money like all of us.

And here are a couple of examples of companies spending ad dollars on their competitor’s brand name.

 

If you are not yet ranking for your brand name because it’s a new company or product, maybe it’s okay to try to buy your brand name in advertising campaigns. But if it’s new, who will search for it? So perhaps buy an ad in your competition’s name. So that would technically be the reverse strategy from above.

Even if your organic result shows right below, there might be some slight branding advantage for your brand to offer as an ad.

Talking about organic results, you might also consider writing an article that discusses the landscape of your industry, including the names of competitors. That can help you rank for those related organic results as well.

An audience may interpret the ad and the organic result as a signal of being legit. So there’s that potentially.

Read next: How to use a company style guide in your marketing and content

Conclusion

Our brand matters, and we should follow best practices to rank for branded and related terms. As marketing expert Elaine Lindsay said on the podcast: It comes down to integrating your brand style on all platforms.

 



Listen to my podcast