How Organic Search Benefits Your Company’s Branding

Jul 29, 2014

organic brandingMost marketers have a narrow-minded view of search engine optimization (SEO): it’s all about the little tricks and tactics that get your website to rank better with the search engines, right? The short answer is yes, but the fact is that SEO, especially for organic search, can enhance your company’s marketing far and above mere search engine rankings by increasing brand awareness and brand perceptions.

Organic, or natural, search results are what the search engine user is presented with in response to a search query. Search returns are based partly on the search engine’s perception of how relevant a given website’s content is to the user’s search terms, and partly on how much that site is seen as an authority. Paid search, on the other hand, is largely dictated by how much an advertiser is willing to pay for each click coming through to its ad.

The Benefits of Organic Search
A number of studies conducted over several years by researchers including Google, Nielsen, Enquiro, and MetrixLab have all arrived at similar conclusions; prominent positions in the search results pages provides valuable branding benefits regardless of whether consumers are clicking through to a company’s website.

A Conductor Inc. study recently revisited a number of these “branding improvement through organic search” issues by examining consumer response to branded organic search results across a number of different search results page positions.

  • The biggest brand boost, or lift, occurred when the brand appeared above the fold (near the top of the page results) and in universal results, or available options, that users can choose from such as maps, images, and videos. Specifically, brand awareness increased by 30 percent, and perception of brand quality and buying consideration each increased by 20 percent. According to eye-tracking studies, a search listing above the fold attracts the majority of the typical searcher’s attention.
  • Brand lift measurements when search results were displayed above the fold as opposed to below the fold showed an increase in brand awareness, brand quality perception, and buying consideration of 10 percent.
  • Results displayed below the fold resulted in a decrease in brand awareness of 10 percent, while brand quality perception and buying consideration showed no change.

Organic Search Benefits for your Brand

Clearly, the majority of consumers equate a high quality product with high ranking position, in addition to other important factors such as the quality and relevance of the content and social proof in the form of positive reviews and social media signals.

How to Improve Your Branding Efforts in Organic Search

  • Include branded terms in your target keywords.
  • Use YouTube videos that feature your brand in the username, in the video title, and in the video’s meta tags. If possible, host your videos on a branded YouTube channel; don’t forget to link to it from your website.
  • Optimize important images on your site and include your brand in the image file name, the URL of the page where the image is featured, and the alt attribute and image title.
  • If your brand has a verified Google+ account, you can set up a publisher profile, which is similar to authorship but is connected to Google+ pages instead of an individual account.
  • Wherever possible, set up a branded account and page on key web properties that offer higher probabilities of your showing up for branded search terms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Wikipedia.