Search Engine Marketing
Branded PPC and SEO strategies pay tremendous dividends, but few companies cash in. On the PPC side, marketers often think it’s a waste of money to bid on branded keywords, to essentially pay for what they already own. On the SEO side, firms may not even realize branded strategies exist – let alone why they matter.
But branded PPC and SEO offer three benefits every company in the world loves: control, credibility and conversions. Let’s take a quick look at why branded strategies make these things happen.
Gain Control with Branded PPC
By ceding the PPC turf to distributors, affiliates, generic merchandisers and competitors, brand owners suffer on two fronts:
- First, they don’t even compete for clicks they could probably win.
- Second, they open the door for a poor brand experience on someone else’s site.
For branded product terms, brand owners can take it a step further and control the brand experience with landing pages that powerfully convey the right message. Even if the landing page fails to convert, the visitor is exposed to the product in a positive way.
Brand owners can gain in another way, by taking control of lead management. Some firms are far more comfortable sending leads to their distributors and affiliates rather than letting them fight it out online with their own PPC campaigns.
Gain Credibility with Branded SEO
Like the brand owners themselves, Google is not eager to send users to pages where they will have a poor brand experience or be scammed. Therefore, Google’s search algorithm includes brand signals – indicators that a page of content represents a real brand where users are likely to have a positive experience.
Brand signals include things such as –
- Domain attributes such as registration and age
- Query volume
- On-page user reviews
- Social media signals such as links to company community pages
- Authorship signals such as rel=author links to company writers
- Natural links with branded anchor text
Some of these factors can (and should) be managed, because they help establish brand ownership and thereby improve search visibility for both individual pages and the domain as a whole.
Because of Google’s recent push in the direction of personalized search, brand credibility may take on even more importance. Frequent visitors to a brand’s site will likely see that firm’s content in personalized search queries – and that visibility could extend to their social media connections, creating a powerful ripple effect.
Gain Conversions with Branded PPC and SEO
On the PPC front, landing pages for product PPC ads provide a conversion opportunity that exceeds the potential of organic search listings. Why? Because a landing page is designed to do one thing – convert – whereas a product page that ranks highly is usually designed to do many things, and therefore has a far more generalized content strategy.
Furthermore, branded PPC campaigns can generate more conversions by giving a brand instant search visibility if its pages are not ranking well organically. This situation crops up a lot with middle market firms in industries where huge players dominate the SEO turf.
In addition to or instead of branded PPC, branded SEO programs will increase the conversion pool when there is a high volume of search queries for the firm’s branded terms. Even large and powerful brands can rank poorly for their own branded search terms unless they have their SEO act together … and many don’t. Do you?
by Brad Shorr, Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, a prominent Chicago marketing company. They work with B2B clients in specialized niches from corrugated pallets to safety hand gloves.
Image via Derek Gavey