We live in a digital world that’s constantly evolving and shifting. The world wide web is insanely competitive. Did you know there are more than a billion websites which are vying for your attention on the web? Millions of new content pieces are being generated every minute which include blogs, videos, infographics, social media updates, GIFs and so much more.
All of this content is being created in the hope of influencing potential consumers to buy a product or a service. Customers today are quite aware and cannot be easily fooled. They’ve got Google at their fingertips at the touch of a button on their smartphone. They will make informed choices and compare options before taking that buying decision. They seek solutions independently. They search for their requirements using different devices, platforms, and channels. In fact, according to a study, 66% buyers check more than one channel before they decide on what to finally purchase.
SEO is pivotal if you want to be seen on the social media and want to have a brand identity in the online world. However, it’s not sufficient. Content is key when investing in SEO. Brands not just need to be visible, but also wow the consumer with truly memorable experiences at every possible juncture. The combined power of SEO and great content then results in the foundation of a positive relationship with potential consumers.
The content must evoke emotions and persuade readers to think. As much as we like to believe that our choices are based on facts or logic, it’s not entirely true. Emotions and psychology play an equally important role in making decisions. Humans are social and emotional brings and they tend to remember experiences, not facts. Which is why stories resonate. Developing content and stories that resonate with people is primary to content engagement.
How branding has changed over the years is mind-boggling. In the past, managers worked towards a brand in a structured and predictable way, which has now become seemingly impossible. Thanks to a quickly changing landscape and fast modifying consumer behaviour, brand managers have to be continually adaptive to these demands, while facing a plethora of challenges. While SEO is the new mantra to tap into the consumer online, it is not the only way forward if branding is to be taken into consideration. Content and SEO go hand in hand.
Going beyond SEO
While the primary purpose of SEO is to increase traffic and drive sales, it’s most important fringe benefit is enhancing brand visibility and brand image. Therefore, brand managers shouldn’t solely focus on SEO for sales, but work with the end result of an improved brand in their minds. The need of the hour is to create a well thought of SEO brand campaign with a bang on content and execute it properly to give your brand a much-needed boost in the right direction.
What brand managers need to know about SEO brand campaigns
- Localisation of SEO
Thanks to local SEO, brands now enjoy the power to reach and target intensely the kind of audience it’s looking for – geographically and demographically, both. Local searches get a big advantage and helps companies achieve prominent exposure targeted local customers. Also, it’s a myth that only local firms benefit from local search. It is also very useful for global brands who wish to expand their reach and build their market share in different regions. Moreover, another important thing to note is that Google search results are not just based on geographic location, but many other factors as well. Therefore, local search visibility is not confined to users who search using specific geographic keywords.
- Image and video search
Visually appealing content – be it GIFs, short videos, infographics or powerful images are formidable when it comes to gaining mindshare of the consumer. As these forms of content continue to grow in popularity, and are especially useful for brands that offer a value proposition which reflects more pictorially than in text. Developing visual content which is pleasing to the eye allows an organisation to tap into visually oriented users, who are otherwise not necessarily textual readers. With smartphones being an indispensable part of our life, and internet access being driven primarily by mobile devices, mobile users particularly consume the most visual content. Visually-driven content is a key area where Content-SEO collaboration is very beneficial for branding. SEO helps leverage visual content, and branding/content specialists are adept at creating it.
- Long-tail keywords
This is another area where brands tap into the potential of reaching very specific and niche audiences that are otherwise difficult to market through other channels. For instance, SEO keyword for ‘metal planters’ to target searches can be ‘colourful metal planters for kitchen garden’ or ‘metal planters for desert climate’ and many other combinations depending upon its uses and geographies. A robust SEO brand campaign targets hundreds of such long-tail keywords, with the successive result of creating possibilities and opportunities in many different micro-markets.
SEO Brand Campaigns
Brand managers may not be aware of the fact that SEO campaigns should frequently use a branded component. A branded SEO campaign is the one which targets those keywords which include your brand name — for example, ‘Acer metal planters’. This is important because Google users who search with branded keywords can see the brand name and company links, usually at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
SEO professionals love brand campaigns since they bring in the most relevant traffic and consumers who are looking only for your brand. Therefore, these leads are most likely to convert, thus generating the highest percentage of sales conversions. Also additionally, the fact that these leads are highly relevant tends to increase the SEO effectiveness in total.
Brand managers and agencies must tap the potential of branded SEO campaigns too. First, branded searches increase organic visibility, thus lending more credibility to the brand. What if a user tries to look up your company on Google and doesn’t find the relevant result. If you’re not visible prominently on Google, the user will draw a conclusion that surely won’t be in your favour. Secondly, on a strategic level, if your brand is prominent online, it will prevent your competitors from hijacking your leads, traffic, sales and the limelight. Hence, SEO brand campaigns work towards not only extending your reach, but also protecting the brand.
Content is still the king
An SEO campaign is futile without the right content to push it. Another pivotal part of almost all SEO campaigns is sharing off-site content on relevant blogs and websites. Taking SEO into consideration, off-site content generates highly valuable inbound links to your site that provide a major boost to your brand’s organic visibility.
If any type of content has to be effective in complementing SEO efforts, it should be useful, interesting and relevant. This sort of content builds your brand credibility in the online world by greatly raising your brand value. Also, off-site content on different platforms and websites tends to bring your content in the spotlight and helps it reach new audiences. Sharing of social media content then exposes your content and brand to new potential customers who might be interested in your brand.
Collaboration and consistency between the two pillars of Content and SEO – is central to the success of your brand. Therefore, branding and SEO should work in tandem to create more value for the consumer, rather than competing for attention and importance. These functions are better done in harmony, than when separated by unnecessary walls.