Why you should care about branded searches
The rise of the ZERO click phenomenon, ever-decreasing click-through rates and diminishing website visits speaks loud to the importance of squeezing every bit of value from organic search. So, how do you ensure you get this extra value? Step one is to audit how your business appears for branded searches.
Branded search queries that contain your brand name are called branded keywords. For example, “Wayfair sofas”. Wayfair is the brand name in this search query.
Most people will search for your brand at some point either before or during their working relationship with you. What they see when they search your brand name is vital.
Many brands may get close to 60% of their organic search traffic from branded queries, this is especially true for “offline” brands, so it is important to make sure your branded search page on Google looks its best for these searchers!
Their perception of your brand when on Google search listings is a factor that could very well tip the balance in the decision they are making about doing or continuing to do business with you.
So, do the search result pages accurately communicate your brand message? Does it accurately reflect who you are and what you do? Is every single result accurate, up-to-date and positive?
Review how are people searching for your brand
People will search for a business in a wide variety of ways; Google Search Console can help you find out how exactly users are searching. This will provide you with an indication of which brand SERP’s need to be reviewed.
Other areas to check out include navigational or known brand queries that help users navigate and interact with your brand. For example:
- Brand name variations
- Brand name + “product”
- Brand name reviews
- Brand name Opening Hours
- Brand name Location
- Brand name Address
It’s important to manually look and see where they could be improved, then set out to influence those results to make them as accurate and positive as possible.
What are you looking for?
Unlike most things in SEO, Google wants you to rank well for your brand terms and some elements of the branded search results can be relatively straight forward to influence. It’s important to evaluate what message the SERPs are projecting about your brand to a prospect, customer, stakeholder, job candidate etc. across all the elements of the SERP’s.
- The number of positions on the page we own – Do you dominate the search results page for “brand queries”. If not what content is missing, can we utilise owned third-party platforms (directories, social media, news stories etc.) to rank for more branded searches?
- Review On-SERP SEO – On-SERP SEO is the optimization of all content on search engine results pages that you can either control or influence in some way. Such as Google My Business, owned third-party platforms, Google Ads targeting and website meta details.
- Others ranking for brand terms – Look for other brands ranking for your branded terms. Are they authorized to sell or talk about your products? Is the information they provide correct or accurate? Could a better job be done?
- Negative reviews – Do directory reviews like yell and yelp reflect the brand. Have negative (and positive) reviews been responded to appropriately?
- Incorrect data – Have changes in your branding such as your name, address, phone number left you with incorrect citations? An integral element of local SEO.
- Misalignment of the query and title/meta – Does your title tag and meta description speak to the query searched and align to the searcher’s intent? If not, make some changes to align it. For example, if your shipping info is on a page labelled “FAQ” that’s unclear for users (and Google).
- Pay per Click Ad bidding – Are others bidding on brand-related terms where you are not? Could they be stealing a percentage of your traffic and business?
- Broken pages – Are any 404 (dead), outdated or broken pages ranking for highly searched branded terms. Click around your top ten searches and pages and make sure everything is working as expected.
- Out of stock products – Sometimes the products that rank for branded searches on eCommerce sites are out of stock. Make sure you have a protocol in place for managing inventory so that searchers are served the most appropriate landing pages.
Even if the results are not overly negative and are reasonably accurate, brand SERPs are never perfect, they can always be improved. Helping you to perfect your “online business card”
An ongoing strategy of tracking, evaluating and improving your Brand SERPs will boost your brand image in the eyes of both people and machines and put you in the driving seat for the long haul.