When we talk about SEO and branding we often end up examining how closely related they are. Before we see how, let’s look at what we’re discussing.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. At its most basic, SEO is the use of several different organic methods with the goal of getting your website to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant queries.
For example, if you own a towing company and someone in your area searches for “towing near me,” you want your business and website to be the first thing they see in the results for that search.
What is Branding?
You probably have an idea what branding is, but it can be hard to define. Branding is the process of making your business so memorable and recognizable in the real world that customers can be referred by your brand name alone.
If we use the situation from before of someone searching for a towing company, a well branded business may see potential customers searching for their business name instead of “towing near me,” significantly lessening the possibility of competition.
How Do SEO and Branding Go Together?
SEO and branding both have the same goal: to put your business in front of people who need your services or products. The primary difference is that SEO uses keywords and online processes, while a lot of branding processes must be done in the real world. However, these two approaches can be used at one time to achieve the same goal.
tekRESCUE, a San Marcos web developer, says they use SEO to “focus on building your business’s authority, trust, credibility, and brand.” This is essentially what you should aim to use SEO for in the journey to improve your branding. So, how do you make that happen?
SEO: Your Brand Online
SEO can be extremely time consuming and many tools recommended for improving SEO can take years to learn. Because of this, most businesses either work with a professional SEO company, or hire an in-house team. SEO experts work to improve your online performance through technical maintenance to keep your website meeting search engine standards, and also through building your business image using content and presence in online directories, among other methods.
However, there are also a few things you can do if you’re working to improve your SEO on your own. Here are two simple steps you can take on your own to improve your SEO and brand:
- Make sure your business information is correct. An important part of SEO and branding is having a recognizable brand. A huge part of achieving this objective is having consistent business information across the internet. Is your business listed on Yelp? On Google? Even on other directories, make sure your business information matches so users know that it’s you!
- Connect with users. Put your business on Facebook, Twitter, or even Reddit, then use those platforms for what they’re meant for: communication. Let your followers know what matters to your business. Does your company support a local or national charity, or even just an important cause? Show your followers that you do by promoting online. You can even go one step further and organize an event to benefit a local charity.
As you probably noticed, step 2 begins to bring us from SEO into the realm of real world branding.
Your Brand in the Real World
A large part of branding in the real world is giving your business real association within your community.
This may seem like something that happens over time and doesn’t really need to be worked at, and in some measure time is helpful, but you can definitely jump start the process. Here are some basic ideas for getting your brand name out in the world.
Paid marketing doesn’t have to be cheesy, and you don’t need to buy a Super Bowl commercial to be effective. Making sure people know your brand can be as little as giving out free keychains at a networking event to sponsoring a Little League team and getting your business name on a banner in the outfield.
For this type of visible marketing to work, make sure that your business logo will translate well from one medium to the next.
Being active in your community can do wonders for your brand. Not only will people know your business, they may also choose your business over a competitor’s because of your activism. Support local organizations, join local networking groups, and attend community events.
Putting a face with your business removes some of the corporate coldness that turns some people away from businesses, and gives your business a more neighborly role.
As a real world example, the cookie chain Tiff’s Treats opened a new location in San Marcos, TX in August of 2019. For their grand opening they chose to offer their product at a discounted price and to make a donation to the Hays County Food Bank with part of the proceeds.
Since this benefited the Hays County Food Bank, they not only helped advertise the event online, but several employees also attended the grand opening. Tiff’s Treats was able to attract not only cookie lovers to their event, but also people who wanted to help the food bank.
This considerably widened the audience the event appealed to, resulting in a grand opening with a line around the building, which itself attracted additional attention. Without the benefit to the food bank, the event likely would’ve seen fewer visitors.
When it comes to SEO vs branding, getting your business to the top takes both. It takes not only the skill of experts in search engine optimization and marketing, but also interaction with your community.
Putting your brand in front of people who need it, and then giving them plenty of reasons to support it, will help keep people not only coming through your doors but recommending you to others as well.