The author’s views are entirely their own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
When you think of SEO, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t usually branding.
It’s probably something like keyword research, content, or backlinks.
Although often unrecognized, brand and SEO do have a direct correlation.
In fact, an increase in brand visibility is an element of SEO in and of itself.
Focusing on this can impact conversion rates, improve customer experience, and support long-term company growth.
To better understand how this works, I’ll now cover how to use SEO to build long-term brand recognition and visibility.
How do SEO efforts increase brand visibility?
Brand is notorious for being abstract and “difficult to measure.”
But there are ways you can measure brand visibility growth with concrete data, especially when it comes to SEO.
Increase in direct website traffic
One of the most notable brand visibility KPIs is measurable through the increases in direct website traffic.
The more people that know your brand, the more people directly search for your website. This begins by catching your audience at TOFU/MOFU search intents, then in the future, they come back to your site directly for more information or to make a purchase.
For example, take a look at the image below. While organic traffic was largely stable, direct traffic increased. If the business had simply been optimizing content to maintain rankings and organic traffic, this could still grow brand visibility through direct traffic, because once people read your content and trust you, they can directly come to the website in the future.
Increase in brand search volume
Another similar brand visibility KPI is more people searching for your brand, products, and services (their specific brand-related name). Again, the more people that know your brand, the more people directly search for your brand and/or product keywords. This leads them right back to you when they’re ready to convert.
For example, in the image below, when searching for electronic or digital signatures, you can see that many people are directly searching for “ptv vissim” and “vissum,” both of which are products of the trusted global leader in traffic simulation software, PTV Group.
More brand keyword searches
As your brand becomes more powerful and well-known, you’ll also notice an increase in brand keyword searches as a percentage of total ranked keywords. This is a sign that the market knows and trusts you enough to search directly for you. Branded keyword searches should increase over time as a consequence of implementing SEO best practices.
For example, in the image below, the graphic has been filtered for branded keyword impact on organic traffic, which steadily increased over the year.
Brand keyword organic click growth
When using brand as an SEO tactic, your brand keyword organic clicks will increase over time. This is because people will become more familiar with your brand, so they’ll trust it more. So when they see your brand appear in the SERPs, they’ll be more likely to visit your page than your competitors.
As you can see in the graph below from Google Search Console, stronger brand visibility can result in a gradual increase of clicks and impressions. Over time, this can support higher conversions and help drive revenue.
A higher Brand Authority™
Moz’s new metric, Brand Authority, can be used to measure the total strength of a brand, helping you to understand how important your brand is to search engines. This is an important metric in SEO, as it can help show you how well you rank pages that cover pillar topics across your website that are important to your brand.
The tool identifies your brand name, along with a wide variety of brand searches, such as product names, and more. It then gives you a score on a scale of 1—100, with a higher score equating to a more visible brand on the SERP.
You can use Brand Authority to perform a strength and gap analysis, assess your brand value, and measure the impact of your digital PR, among more! You can currently find Brand Authority in Moz’s Domain Overview tool or in the Moz API.
4 SEO tactics to build brand visibility
The above KPIs can help you show your progress, but it requires the right methods and data tracking. To help you get started, consider the following SEO tactics to build brand visibility.
1) Build topical authority around topics important for your brand values
Even though SEO should ideally focus on high purchase intent and BOFU keywords to initially drive conversions, you’ll still need to scale out SEO over time. This process often involves expanding on topics that establish your brand as a subject matter expert and help build topical authority in your industry, as well as across your entire website.
For example, a CRM software company shouldn’t just focus its content on customer data and relationship-building. This company may also want to write about topics that include the relationship between analytics and GDPR as this connection impacts how companies are allowed to process and store customer data.
While GDPR isn’t exactly the core product they’re selling, it provides their future customers with insightful information that can help them maximize their use of the CRM software while also maintaining GDPR compliance.
A CRM company may want to target GDPR-related keywords, such as in the image below. In fact, HubSpot (listed in the top SERPs as the 3rd ranking page under “SERP Analysis”) is a CRM itself, so it’s a clearly associated topic for CRM companies.
Over time, this type of content can help you become a trusted and reliable source of information. When you do this, people will come back to your site, often through a direct website search or a brand search, because they see you as an expert and authority figure in the market.
2) Integrate your brand within your SEO content strategy
Another tactic is to directly connect your brand to your SEO strategy. Again, you’ll, of course, want to start with BOFU, high purchase intent keywords to drive conversions. But over time, you can scale it to encompass the entire customer experience cycle, which includes brand.
Let’s again consider the topic of GDPR. The company Altova is a company that specializes in developer tools and desktop developer software. To scale out their product pages, they have created a whole information database on GDPR. This allows them to establish themselves as a trusted information source, so they can attract everyone from a novice who knows nothing about GDPR, to someone who is part of the GDPR compliance review team.
Even if there is no commercial or transactional intent for content creation at first glance, doing so strategically can help create the basis for inbound marketing. Using SEO in this manner can help nurture someone from TOFU to BOFU, and encourage them to come back to your brand for more information as they need it.
3) Optimize content for brand keywords
If you’re just starting with SEO and have little brand awareness, you might not have brand keyword search volume yet, but keep an eye on that over time.
If you’re more established, you’ll likely start to see searches for your brand name and/or products and services, and this could be the right opportunity to keep an eye on how your Brand Authority score is performing. This is the ideal time to optimize your content for those keywords so they not only rank higher, but they offer a better user experience. Both of these factors can increase the likelihood of users converting.
To use the example of PTV Group again, they rank #14 for a brand product keyword “ptv venture”. So this is a sign they may want to optimize the pay a bit better, as Google hasn’t picked up that it’s referring to this product.
Furthermore, if you find your content ranking for branded keywords, always take the time to optimize the pages they’re mentioned on. This can help increase ranking, which leads to a higher click-through rate. Even if you’re already number one for that keyword, it’s still important to consider page optimization for better user experience and to help drive conversions.
4) Promote SEO-driven content across other channels
SEO isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it type of strategy and neither is your brand. The two need to scale together over time — and to do this, you’ll need to promote your content.
Promote content whenever possible across several channels. You can share new or updated pages through email, social media, and even ads to help increase visibility. The same concept applies here — you want to become a trusted source of information to encourage users to visit your site again. Whether that’s with a direct website search or branded search doesn’t matter, but the key is getting your brand out there and recognized.
SEO and brand growth go hand-in-hand
Brand and SEO are more intertwined than many people think. When you utilize brand as an element of SEO, you can enjoy higher conversion rates, a stronger customer experience, loyal audiences, and scalable, long-term company growth. Plus, brand can be measurable through specific KPIs analysis, giving you an easy way to track your progress.