The internet has become an essential part of our lives. It is no longer optional or merely recreational. Shopping, finding work, applying for jobs, researching, banking, learning, and pretty much anything, is on the internet. Because of the incredible power of the internet, it is more important than ever that our presence on the internet is discoverable. This is why search engine optimization or SEO has become a growing industry and critical to brand management for any type of domain name.
SEO is a top of the funnel method of marketing. What that means is that the goal is to get people into the sales funnel and the sales department is tasked with converting the sale. Search engine optimization creates the conditions for a website so that it appears more prominently on search engines, particularly Google. This helps to get people to the top of the funnel.
It is well understood that when someone searches for something using a search engine, they typically don’t look beyond the first few listings, and rarely look past the first page. This makes ranking high for terms related to your industry increasingly important. If the site can’t be found, it will only be seen by people reached by direct influence. That is not efficient.
How to influence the search engines so the site appears high enough in the rankings to be found? This is the critical question of SEO and the answer is somewhat complicated. There are some constants, however. The brand must be part of a campaign. If the company sells shoes, it does no good to rank for candy. Branding in association with shoes and the related terms is what matters.
For example, if you sell athletic shoes, that becomes key or a “keyword” for your brand. Athletic shoes are a very different brand than say, dress shoes or dance shoes. Brand yourself with the keywords that ultimate promote the product and they will be more easily found in web searches. Simultaneously, make sure what is found is what you want people to find.
The website should contain, in the text within the site, keywords that promote the brand in obvious ways. That way, when Google looks for signals that match searchers’ queries, they find you. A critical part of a keyword campaign to improve the brand’s SEO is what is known as “link building.” What this is, is getting other sites to link back to your website, hopefully linking from anchor text that support your brand. When there are links back to the site, Google finds it and associates the site with the keywords that are linked back. By doing this, the brand grows via search.
The Importance of Keywords
When people search for these generic terms, e.g. athletic shoes, they are more likely to find the site and therefore recognize the brand and buy. This is much more powerful and less expensive than broadcasting the brand everywhere through paid advertising. Especially because even after people see ads, they might Google keywords to research the industry to make a purchasing decision. Therefore, it is now critical for the brand to have searchable strength as well as a recognizable brand.
To create keywords to best improve the brand, ask “What do I want my brand to be associated with?”
There was a time when people felt like, there is no such thing as bad publicity. But, if your shoes are associated with industries just to get exposure, but those industries don’t relate to the brand, the brand is damaged and could be punished by search engines.
For example, Google often delists sites considered unethical. These delistings often are associated with the three Ps: pills, porn and poker. Therefore, getting links and keywords in association with these three Ps, might have the opposite effect than desired. Brand is reputation. Keep it as clean as possible.
Keep a few things in mind when managing brand and the website. SEO matters, it works, but it is complicated. SEO requires you to be mindful of reputation when leveraging keywords and associations with other sites.
SEO can help people to find the site, but it is up to the site, the product and sales pitch to convert the sale. Finally, SEO is a growing industry and will continue to grow in scale, importance and sophistication. It helps grow the brand.