How do you help your business grow?
By increasing awareness of it.
When customers know about your business, they are more inclined to shop there — especially if others they know have had a great experience with you.
There are several ways to raise awareness of your company, such as through word of mouth recommendations or increasing your geographic reach through advertising. But there are two easy things you can do if you want to increase awareness of your business online: branding and search engine optimization (SEO).
By focusing on your brand and your SEO strategy, you can help increase overall awareness of your company, which in turn will benefit your bottom line.
So what’s the difference between branding and SEO, and how can you leverage them to grow your business? Let’s take a look.
What is Branding?
“A brand is a living entity — and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.” Michael Eisner, Former Walt Disney CEO
A brand is the identity of a company that, when seen, can convey a company’s story. At the most fundamental level, a brand includes:
- Logo – An icon or other graphic representative that lets customers know a product or service is from a specific company.
- Wordmark – The wordmark can be included with the logo or stand on its own. It is the typographic treatment of a company’s name.
- Typography – The main typeface used in a company’s materials, from advertisements to presentations.
- Messaging – The mission, vision, and values that define the company and explain why it is in business.
- Tagline – A short phrase that conveys something about the company (or product), such as a feeling it hopes to invoke or the types of products or services it offers.
Let’s take Apple, for example, one of the most well-known companies globally and used as an example for nearly everything due to its monumental success. When you see a laptop, tablet, or phone with a silhouette of an apple with a bite taken from it, you know it’s an Apple product. You also know they are items that, due to the technology and features, are deemed worth the price to their owners.
People understand the brand of Apple, not only because its products have catapulted it to the top but because its brand was carefully cultivated since its beginning.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the process of driving traffic to a website by increasing a website’s position in search engine results as close to the top as possible.
When users enter a search query, they know that the most relevant result will be the first non-sponsored link on the first page. And because of this, they are more willing to click on it to find the information they need.
Multiply that by thousands of others conducting the same search, and that one website will have more visits than a website located in the fifth position on the second page.
Optimizing for the search engine includes:
Creating good content – High-quality content that is informative can help improve your ranking because the search engine identifies it as relevant material. Step 1 in optimizing for search engines, then, is to create content that actually interests your consumers.
Optimize your content – Making sure you include header tags, a meta description, alternative text, and more. This will better help bots index your website.
Optimize your website – You want to make sure your bots can index your pages so they can determine when (or if) to return your website or a piece of content as a result for a query.
Link building – Use the power of links to boost your rank by having quality websites link to your site. This lets the search engine know that your website has something of value.
By improving your ranking, you’re also working on increasing the quantity of your traffic. You’ll enjoy a boost in organic search traffic at no cost to you.
How Branding and SEO Go Hand in Hand
Brand awareness can help with organic search because individuals already know what they’re looking for. But SEO can also strengthen your brand.
It can increase your brand’s reach, which is great for visibility/awareness. And it can improve your brand’s authority: By showing up in search results and offering quality, relevant content, individuals will begin to know your website (and company) as an expert source.
However, while organic search is great, you don’t want to rely on it alone if you’re a new business. You should also consider investing in a pay-per-click campaign or other type of advertisements first until enough awareness is built up about your brand that you can let reputation carry you rather than ad spend.
Put It Into Practice
Now that you understand how branding and search engine optimization work together, it’s time to get your team together.
You’ll want to have a team of individuals who understand how to maintain a brand and you’ll want to have another that focuses on optimizing for the search engine. Make sure these two work together to coordinate efforts and maximize your efforts.
Got questions about SEO and branding? Leave us a comment.
About the Author: Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google.