Web development colleagues can always banter about certain things. The client who insists on using Comic Sans font throughout their website (why is comic sans a no-no?), the one who sends their logo artwork over in some crazy low resolution, the one who is either family or friend and expects you to work for free (more common than you think).
Becoming increasingly popular in SEO are stories of clients who think branded search is a bad sign. They get upset when they see their own name as a top traffic source in Organic Traffic reports from Google Analytics. Someone, somewhere told these folks branded search is a big, scary “no-no” – so I’m here to clarify!
Your Name Isn’t the Only Keyword, but it’s an Important Keyword
If a search is done on a business name, a product, your name or the name of a representative of your company, that qualifies as a “branded search.” The searcher has come into contact with your brand elements and it resulted in a successful search effort to seek you out. How could this be a bad thing?
Unfortunately, this is the only keyword driving all traffic for some businesses. That’s the only time it’s bad – when branded search is completely out of balance with keyword search.
Do you suffer from too much Branded Search?
If you are only driving traffic from branded searches, that means you optimized your site correctly for your brand elements. Perhaps your page titles start with your business name, and look something like this:
“Corporate Company Enterprises, Inc. | Home”
“Corporate Company Enterprises, Inc. | About Us”
“Corporate Company Enterprises, Inc. | Contact Us”
Sadly, that gives the search engines no idea at all of what to rank you for – besides your company name.
May we recommend a small improvement? Since page titles are a hefty factor in SEO ranking, try approaching each page with the keywords you use on the page instead of your company name. Your page titles might look more like this:
“Plastics Manufacturing & Prototyping Services | Corporate Company Inc.”
“Scale Model Fabrication Services”
“Laser Cutting Rapid Production”
If you don’t have any content pages discussing interesting topics on your site, strongly consider adding them! Otherwise, Google has no reason to rank you on any topics your potential customers are looking for. If your website doesn’t tell Google explicitly who you are, it has no way of knowing!
Do you suffer from too little Branded Search?
You’ve done the hard part – ranking for a variety of keywords relevant to your business, resulting in traffic to your site. Now you need to capture visitors who are looking for you – ones who keep finding your LinkedIn page first, or who keep clicking on a company with a similar name to your own who monopolizes the first page when people search your business name (let’s say you want to be on the first page for “Healthy Smiles Dentist.”) You want to find people who say, “It’s so hard to find your business on Google!”
May we recommend a small improvement: Build a “silo” on your website focused on your brand elements. This is one instance where you want your company name or products to act as page titles. You want your name as menu titles, anchor text, in the H1 text, and more.
If you’ve built inbound link campaigns for your pages that perform well, follow that pattern for this new, name-specific silo. Seek out opportunities to get links from directories straight into the silo through local Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations. Essentially, build an area of your site that is founded on the same principles as the part of your site that is currently performing – but use your business name as the keyword you target.
The Most Important Advice in This Blog Post
ALWAYS monitor your progress! Track, analyze, and make improvements based on the data you’ve found. This goes for everything you do on your website, 100% of the time. No excuses!
I’d love to hear more about how you fixed the imbalance of branded vs. keyword search on your site in the comments below.