By Neil Patel
If your business is not a brand, it is a commodity.
So maybe not everyone is a massive fan of the prez these days, but you can’t deny he knows a thing or two about branding.
And I think we can all agree that online branding is incredibly important.
This is especially true if you’re in an already crowded industry, where being identified as one of the premier brands can literally make or break you.
Gaining a high branded search volume is just one of the ways companies come to prominence and build a strong reputation.
But how do you do this?
How can you increase the number of branded searches your company receives?
In this post, I’m going to cover some fundamental strategies you can use to achieve that objective.
I’m also going to discuss some of the specific benefits of maximizing your branded search volume (besides the obvious benefit of building brand equity).
What are branded keywords?
First things first.
I think it’s a good idea to quickly point out exactly what branded keywords are to make sure we’re on the same page.
Serps.com defines a branded keyword as
any keyword that contains the company name or ‘brand’ that you are working with. If you were the SEO for Pepsi, some ‘branded’ keywords might be, ‘pepsi’, ‘pepsi cola’, pepsi.com’, and so on.
In other words, a branded keyword search includes the name of your brand or some variation of it.
The benefits of branded searches
Why should you put the effort into increasing your branded search volume?
Will it really make that big of a difference?
In short, yes. It can have a significant impact.
In fact, Rand Fishkin of Moz, in his Whiteboard Friday last year, discussed the big rewards of influencing branded searches.
Here’s a screenshot of some of the key benefits:
Of course, there are the given benefits of improving your brand-related ranking and increasing conversions.
But what I really found interesting is that gaining more branded search volume can potentially improve your rankings for non-branded queries.
While this was only speculation from Moz, Rand brought up an excellent point.
Here’s another screenshot that explains his logic:
And this logic totally makes sense to me.
If you can get your brand to appear in a high volume of searches along with a particular unbranded phrase, it’s reasonable to think that Google could associate your brand with that phrase and deem it highly relevant.
In turn, your rankings could improve across the board.
The bottom line here is that receiving a large number of branded searches is a very good thing and can provide your company with a major boost on many levels.
Do everything possible to increase your volume of branded searches.
The way I see it, the following strategies are your best bet for accomplishing this.
Rand makes another great point in his Whiteboard Friday video mentioned above.
According to him,
We’re going to have to work pretty cross-departmentally in our marketing teams to be able to make this happen because some of the best tactics require things that SEO doesn’t always own and control entirely.
In other words, it’s important to branch out and spread your tentacles to several different areas of marketing.
Some of which aren’t even online.
Here are some ways you can do that.
Let me ask you a question.
What’s the most straightforward way to get more people to search for your brand on Google?
Make them curious about your brand so they take the time to do a branded search.
But the bigger question is: “How do you create curiosity?”
That’s where things start to get a little tricky.
Rand actually suggests using old school offline techniques like TV, print, billboards, etc.
And these are totally viable outlets for brands with deep pockets.
But this approach probably isn’t suitable for smaller businesses with a shoestring budget.
However, there are two techniques that can work for almost any company.
One is simply word-of-mouth marketing.
In fact, a survey by Visible Experts listed referrals/recommendations as the number one offline medium for obtaining leads.
It’s also important to note that according to Nielsen, recommendations are still the number one way to build trust.
If you can create brand advocates that willingly spread the word about your business, the world is your oyster, and branded searches are practically guaranteed to follow.
That’s why I recommend putting a lot of effort into exceeding customer expectations, providing great customer service, etc. to create brand advocates.
You may even want to create a formal referral program to catalyze things.
Another avenue to explore is speaking engagements.
The same study I mentioned earlier from Visible Experts states that speaking engagements are just behind referrals and the second best way to build leads.
I realize public speaking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
But it’s definitely an effective way to generate buzz and create curiosity.
Just picture it.
You speak at a local event in front of a few hundred people.
Let’s then say half of the attendees want to learn more about your brand and search for you on Google.
Voila! You’ve just increased your branded search volume considerably.
Not to mention, you’re probably going to generate a sizable number of highly-qualified leads as well as directly boost your brand equity.
Just be sure to suggest to the attendees to check out your brand.
If you’re interested in finding speaking engagements, refer to this guide for more details.
All right, enough of this offline stuff.
Let’s bring it back to the digital realm.
You probably already know I’m a huge proponent of guest-posting.
In my opinion, it’s hands down one of the best inbound marketing techniques and is ideal for increasing brand visibility.
For example, in one of my articles on NeilPatel.com, I mention Bryan Harris, who built a full-time business generating over $15,000 a month with a single guest post on Okdork.
I also think this can hold the key to gaining more branded search volume to your website as well.
Here’s the scenario.
You land a couple of guest-blogging opportunities for online publications with significant followings.
You write some killer content that intrigues your audience and sparks curiosity about your company.
Now you might be asking, “Wouldn’t readers just click on the link to my site if they were interested in learning more rather than actually performing a search?”
Touché. That’s a good point.
And it’s true that a sizable portion of readers will access your site this way.
That’s not a bad thing, and it will supply you with both quality traffic and leads.
However, it’s not directly contributing to a flood of branded searches for you.
But I think it’s fair to say that a respectable number of people will want to learn more about you through a search.
This is especially true if you crush it and create a really engaging guest post.
I know I’ve turned to Google for more info after reading some intriguing guest posts.
If you want to learn more about the process of guest blogging, I recommend checking out this guide from Backlinko.
It will definitely steer you in the right direction.
Now, my last point.
I think it’s fair to say that receiving brand mentions (especially from big name influencers) should have a positive impact on your branded search volume.
Let’s say one of the top bloggers or experts in your industry gives your company a shout out.
All of a sudden, there’s going to be a significant number of people wanting to know more about you.
Bam! This should spark an increase in Google searches.
Of course, you can’t just snap your fingers and get game-changing brand mentions.
But there are two specific strategies that can greatly help.
One is to create content that influencers will link to.
This is an exhaustive topic that I can’t adequately cover here, but you can learn all the details in this post.
The other strategy is to engage in a straight up influencer marketing campaign.
It can not only increase branded searches but also have a profound impact on your overall marketing efforts.
In fact, “40 percent of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.”
I suggest checking out this post from Hootsuite for the skinny on influencer marketing.
When you boil it all down, your objective is very simple.
Get people to search for your company on Google.
This is largely achieved by creating curiosity so that people can’t help but feel compelled to search for your brand.
One of the things I find interesting about this technique is that it’s an aspect of SEO that usually requires a mix of traditional, offline techniques and newer, strictly digital ones to work.
By branching out in different directions to create intrigue and curiosity about your brand across the board, you can gain more branded searches to your website and reap a host of rewards in return.
What motivates you to search for a brand online? What success have you had in increasing your branded search volume?