Your Brand Matters – And This Is Why

You might not consider yourself a ‘brand aficionado’, but chances are, you’re fooling yourself.  Every time you search – no matter what you’re looking for – Google comes up with a list of sources it thinks you might be interested in.  Regardless of SEO – regardless of all the keywords and all the meta tags in all the world, if you’re represented with a brand or a name you recognise, you’re probably going to click on them first.

Go ahead – deny it.

 

This is important to bear in mind from the other side of the playing field.  If you’re a small business, how would you suggest appealing to your public through basic SEO?

  • Simple keywords?
  • Plenty of healthy links?

Sure – it’s a start – but if you’re going up against big boys in your trade or in your line of expertise, you may as well throw up the white flag now.

Throw that in with what’s happening to Google searches as of late – oh, yes – they’re changing again.

Recent data shows that Google is changing the game, albeit in a different way to their usual algorithm shifts.  While simple search queries may have previously brought up small, independent entities and blogs, broad terms are being met with bigger fish, trusted sources, informative articles – all in an effort to help make finding the right answer that little bit more efficient.

This also means that – with the dawn of the knowledge panel – you know the ones – searchers are being given the answers they need without actually needing to click anywhere.  This means that you’re going to take a further hit.

Industry boffins are predicting that the click-per-search percentage is set to dip from 60% to below 50%.  In layman’s terms, this is very big indeed.

This means that Google is keeping more and more searchers on-page – and unless you do something, this means smaller fish like you are going to get less and less chance to impact upon the public.

In this day and age – with Google evidently (and very clearly so) putting algorithms together to help searchers find answers easier than ever – and with these knowledge panel changes and the drop in click rates, it’s getting harder for smaller businesses to stand out against more recognisable names.

This why – while basic SEO and all the bells and whistles are still HUGELY important (let’s not forget that), you’re going to need to focus on your brand, too.  Perhaps more so than ever before.

The game’s changed.  It’s no longer enough to be, say, an ‘affordable painter and decorator in Penge’.

You’re going to need to be THE painter and decorator in Penge that Penge searchers are going to immediately recognise and trust.  It’s all well and good getting to the top of Google’s holy search ladder, but without that sense of brand – that recognition –, you’re doomed to get cast aside.  Especially when the searcher might not even need to click on you.  It’s all about increasing your chances.

So – what now?  How do you combat Google’s search streamlining – and the bigger fish?

Firstly – once again – don’t ever discount basic SEO.  It evolves, it works, it brings necessary results for businesses time and time again – and it conquers half, if not two-thirds of the battle.

That last little stretch is going to be all about getting your name out there in different ways – being your brand.  Developing a unique identity.  Be the go-to guys on social media – your clients are all over the internet,  you need to get them to your website.

This is where your traffic will feel inspired – and once they search, they’ll remember you.  Lead with simple, straightforward branding and marketing – dump the clichés and the same old spiel.  No one wants to hear it.

Take a look at yourself.  Your brand.  Would you be inspired to click if your result came up against, say, a world leader in your trade?  Maybe not – meaning it’s high time you shouted your brand, your ethos, whatever you’ve got – from every soapbox going.  Show people who you are – build that image – and let them come to you.

Don’t panic – but do be smart about branding, and be smart about it now.

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