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The importance of targeting branded searches

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The importance of targeting branded searches

Though many search marketers focus primarily on non-branded searches, columnist Thomas Stern believes its crucial to invest in a branded search strategy.

Thomas Sternon December 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Search experts understand the importance of targeting non-branded search terms: Optimizing for high-volume, non-branded terms can drive a significant amount of traffic to your brands site.

While targeting non-branded search terms plays an essential role in your overall search strategy, many brands still underestimate and neglect the power ofbrandedsearch terms. By relying on the strength of a brand and integrating branded search tactics with current non-branded search strategies, your business can discover more qualified leads and, as a result, increase conversions.

For many established companies, their branded terms make up a majority of their keyword profile. If people are searching for your brand or products by name, theyre likely deeper within the sales funnel. In fact, Google has found that branded keywords have over two times higher conversion rates when compared to non-branded terms. So why would brands shy away from increasing or stepping up their branded search efforts?

Lets flip the script and put you in the customers shoes. Say youre searching for a fitness tracker your brother would love this holiday season. When you begin your gift hunt, are you more likely to search for best fitness tracker for men, or for best Fitbit for men?

Data from Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Due to the Fitbits brand awareness efforts, the product is iconic enough that consumers search for it more often than non-branded terms. Search engines like Google, Bing and Amazon recognize the strength of the brand SERP layouts and competitive pricing reflect this.

Brands working to improve their conversions need to work the entire marketing funnel. For brands or products well-known enough for branded search terms to be relevant to audiences, its important to know how audiences discover your products so you can target these branded search terms. Otherwise, youre leaving money on the table for competitors and review sites to take for themselves.

With a strong brand, and thus stronger branded search terms, bread-and-butter search tactics will have some incredible advantages. These advantages span both paid search and organic search tactics, affecting every aspect of search from the page rankings, search boxes, knowledge panel, and even map results. With branded search, search engines will recognize your main site, if optimized for best practices, as the most relevant site for searching by potential customers.

Your home page and (if applicable) product category pages should rank the best for high-traffic branded search terms. Your title tags and meta descriptions should clearly display these branded search terms and relevant context that encourages searchers to make the decision to click. Once they do, the site should match the promise the SERP listing made with this copy.

Your goal should always be to dominate the first page and to obtain the highest positions with optimal branded search efforts. Brands should not only focus on their branded terms at the users research and consideration phases of the funnel, but also the post-purchase phase.

In the research phase, searchers will find strong, relevant brands first and foremost. Consider that they will also be looking for reviews, pricing and where to buy the product. This information should be available to users prior to their converting.

But the job isnt done after converting. Post-purchase, many users will search for more information about the product using branded terms installation instructions, how-to guides, proper cleaning and maintenance techniques, general product help and more and these searches should lead to your website.

All of the brand-related terms throughout the sales funnel have heightened search term relevance to affect consideration, conversion and continued use.

If you plan to own as much real estate on the SERPs as possible, paid search is an essential tactic to earn qualified leads. Even if you have obtained the top ranking in organic search results,research suggeststhat having an ad can produce incremental clicks. With little competition, its pretty easy (and cheap) to own these paid search spaces.

With branded search ads, you should be making use of ad extensions. These will provide more information to searchers, which can make your ad stand out and entice users to click. Certain extensions such as sitelink, location orprice extensions can also increase your listings SERP real estate, particularly on mobile.

Keep in mind thatGoogle factors ad extensions into its Ad Rank calculation, so proper use of extensions can give you an edge over competitors who may be runningconquest campaignson your brand name.

Beyond the basics of SERPs with organic and paid search listings, you should be taking advantage of additional branded search real estate options that should be taken advantage of, including:

Organic sitelinks, the links that are displayed under the top organic search result. Theyre important since they occupy a lot of SERP real estate and can function as an outline of your site, helping users to navigate to your other top pages. Google determines whether it will provide sitelinks or not, so you dont have direct control over this but you can help Google out by submitting an XML sitemap and having your site set up with a logical hierarchy.

Apple shows six organic sitelinks for a branded search. Note the site search box, too.

You want to make suremap resultsare showing up for you if your brand or business has physical locations. To do this, you need to ensure that youve set up Google My Business listings with the correct NAP (name, address and phone) information.

If your site has an internal search function, you then have a solid chance of a search box showing up on Google. If it doesnt display within the SERPs, you can utilize structured data markupper Googles guidelines.

The Knowledge Graph helps users discover business information quickly and easily. Google will pull this information automatically from trustworthy sites like Wikipedia or WebMD. With the right mix of search tactics, you canobtain a Knowledge Graph resultfor your brand. Make sure that you have all social channels, a solid description, reviews and accurate information correctly displaying in the eye-catching Knowledge Graph.

Branded searches are imperative and shouldnt be overlooked. Many assume that search queries involving your brand will naturally lead to your website, but thats simply not the case. Without optimizing your paid and organic search efforts to capture branded searches throughout the entire purchase cycle, youll be missing out on tons of potential new traffic and conversions. Owning as much real estate as possible for your brand is crucial, especially during high-traffic seasonality.

Oftentimes, branded search terms can be the last channel touch point for consumers who are about ready to convert on one of your products or services. By incorporating branded search into your overall digital marketing strategy, you can quickly accelerate your brand, helping it stand out on the SERPs and provide a better experience to audiences.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listedhere.

Thomas Stern oversees the architecture and evolution of our services lines as Chief Innovation Officer atZOG Digital. He has over 10 years of digital marketing experience through a range of industries like retail, insurance and travel/hospitality. He has been featured in numerous digital marketing publications, has received graduate level internet marketing education and is a board member of Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) Arizona. Follow us on .

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