By OLIVER ANDREWS
How to Use SEO to Build Brand Awareness for Your Business
When it comes to increasing brand awareness, marketing strategies such as paid advertising, event sponsorship, branded content, and social media ads are often the go-to. Yet, the problem with such marketing strategies is that they’re pricey and quite hectic, which makes them inconvenient for most small brands and businesses.
Luckily, organic marketing strategies are here to the rescue. These cost-effective strategies can be easily used to drive traffic by targeting niches and less popular target keywords. Simply put, organic marketing strategies are those that don’t require you to spend money directly, like Facebook status updates and unpaid tweets to guest posts and case studies.
The most notable organic marketing strategy is search engine optimisation (SEO). Mind you, an effective SEO strategy does come at a cost, but the cost is paid indirectly in the form of time, software, and hired marketers and SEO experts.
In this in-depth article, we cover all you need to know about brand awareness, from what it is and its different types to how you can use SEO to increase recognition. Stick around!
What we will cover in this article
Build Brand Awareness Online
What Is Meant By Brand Awareness?
As you may have guessed, brand awareness is a term that represents the familiarity of your target audience with your brand and products. The higher the brand awareness, the more popular or buzzworthy the brand is likely to be.
Virtually all marketing strategies share the common goal of boosting brand awareness, as higher brand awareness equals better brand image, brand trust, and sales generation.
It’s important to understand that recognition can be cultivated through offline and online marketing strategies. Of course, offline marketing strategies aren’t as prominent as their online counterparts in our day and age, but they’re still viable and effective.
On the other hand, cultivating brand awareness online comes in many forms, from drilling down on referrals and offering freebies to running paid ads and hosting guest content.
One of the most cost-effective ways to cultivate brand awareness online is through search engine optimisation, the practice of improving website traffic and garnering organic visibility from search engines.
How Many Types of Brand Awareness Are There?
Also known as spontaneous or unaided recall, it’s when a consumer can associate a brand from memory with a certain product category. For instance, a consumer may instantly associate Louis Vuitton with shoes and handbags.
This type of brand awareness is hard to compete for considering that the average consumer can only recall 3-5 brands per product category, assuming that the prompted category is somewhat popular. If we’re talking about a low-interest category, most consumers would only be able to recall 1-2 brands.
Brand recognition represents the consumer’s ability to confirm that they’ve heard or seen a brand before. This is also known as aided recall.
Note that aided recall doesn’t entail that the consumer names the brand from memory. It only entails that the consumer recognises the brand when presented to it.
For example, a consumer may recognise a brand upon seeing a unique visual packaging that the brand is known for. Another example would be point-of-sale recognition.
Top-of-mind awareness is a variant of brand awareness that represents that most potential clients will settle for one of the three brands at the top of their consideration set when in the market for a certain product.
To put it differently, top-of-mind brand awareness represents the first few brands that come to a consumer’s mind when prompted with a certain product category.
Virtually all brand awareness strategies aim to encourage customers to include a given brand at the top of their consideration set.
How Does SEO Help Your Business?
Search engine optimization has always been at the top of the list of the most effective organic strategies for building brand awareness. Vital components of brand building such as content marketing, social communities, and networking rely heavily on SEO.
With an effective SEO strategy, you can optimise your content to generate organic traffic. In addition, SEO can also help your brand achieve higher engagement by improving your social networking performance.
One of the essential aspects of SEO is link building, which enables you to network with industry leaders and authority sites so that you can cash in on their popularity and online reputation.
Traction, clicks, and sales are three aspects that are essential to brand building and awareness, and all three can be achieved with the aid of SEO.
The higher your brand ranks in the SERPs, the more internet visibility you’ll achieve, which translates to greater trust. SEO-reliant brand websites tend to grow considerably faster than websites that aren’t utilising an effective SEO strategy.
The great thing about SEO is that it brings in more customers seeking your product or service. It’s one of the most cost-effective digital marketing strategies any brand can implement.
You must keep in mind, however, that using SEO isn’t going to get you overnight success. This is a strategy that requires a lot of time, effort, and expertise.
You must also keep in mind that the effectiveness of your SEO scheme is tied to a host of other factors, the most notable being user experience. The more user-friendly your website is, the better the results of SEO will be.
Seeing as SEO has the potential to improve a brand’s credibility and trust factor, it’s not hard to believe that an effective SEO tactic can make a brand more authoritative and valuable. More authority and value equate to more engagement and sales.
It’s also worth noting that SEO can help you bypass the competition. If we look at two brands in the same industry, offering the same products, the brand that’s making use of SEO will be miles ahead of its competitor, so that’s something to consider.
Websites that are optimised according to SEO best practices tend to load faster than websites that aren’t. Not only that, but they’re also easier to surf and read on all platforms and devices, from computers to tablets and smartphones. And that’s a convenience that all customers are seeking nowadays.
With that being the case, SEO-reliant websites are more capable of driving in leads and conversions than websites that aren’t making use of SEO. And like we mentioned earlier, clicks and conversions are the lifeblood of any business.
Why Is SEO Important to Brands?
It Should Be a Key Part Of Any Brand
Applying an effective SEO tactic ensures more clicks, traffic, engagement, and sales, which, as we stated earlier, are what keep any business going and are among the cornerstones of success.
If You’re Not Showing Up on Search Engines, How Are People Finding Your Site?
SEO is of extreme importance in hyper-competitive markets and industries, as it’s essential to help your website get better rankings on search engines, which translates into visibility for your brand.
If you’re not showing up on the SERPs, it’s highly unlikely that your customer base will grow. After all, how are people going to find your website in this digital day and age? Naturally, the first thing they do is a search on Google, so that’s where they should see you, and that applies especially to local businesses.
How Are You Showing People You Are the Industry Leaders?
By helping you rank higher in Google results and network with authority sites and industry leaders via link building strategies, SEO helps show your target customers that you’re one of the leaders in your industry.
How Are You Showing People You Should Be Trusted?
Like we mentioned earlier, the higher you rank in Google’s search results, the more visibility your brand will gain on the web and the more credibility and trust it will garner. Therefore, a brand you see on the first page of search engines is usually a brand that has established itself as a reputable one.
What Role Does SEO Play in Branding?
The primary role that SEO plays in branding is that it generates organic traffic. By increasing traffic, your brand’s positioning in Google’s search results increases, which garners you higher visibility and showcases what your brand, products, and services are all about.
A lot of marketing strategies focus on getting people to know a given brand’s name. However, what’s more important than that is to get people to recognise the niche, personality, values, and products that a given has to offer, and that’s exactly what search engine optimisation can do for your brand.
With an effective SEO tactic, you can reinforce your brand image and brand awareness without the need for media investments. Like we said earlier, SEO is one of the most cost-effective digital marketing strategies out there, so you should leverage that to your benefit.
Should Your SEO Focus Be On Brand Building?
Yes, Because Brand Building Is the Start of Everything Else Such as Trust, Loyalty, Leads, Sales, and Opportunity
Many small brands utilise SEO only to garner greater traffic and conversions, unaware of the fact that SEO can help them with their brand-building so that they’re able to compete with big brands within their industry.
The harsh truth is that Google always prioritises big-name businesses over small businesses. As a result, big-name businesses tend to rank high with fewer links than small-time competitors. Not only that, but if a big-name brand gets a penalty for misconduct, they’re likely to bypass the penalty within a few weeks.
On the other hand, small businesses need to dedicate twice the time and effort to gain recognition. And guess what, if a small brand gets a penalty, they may never resurface!
Instead of asking whether or not your SEO focus should be on brand building, ask yourself, what else is there to focus on? For a small business owner, there should be nothing more important than brand building.
SEO Strategy for Brand Awareness
Optimise Your Products and Services Pages So They Get Found By the Right People
All fruitful SEO strategies start with creating branding-optimised content. As the name suggests, this is basically the fusing of your brand with high-quality, SEO-reliant content.
Most people make the mistake of putting more emphasis on SEO than on the content itself. Don’t make the same mistake! You need to prioritise your content first, with an aim to provide your audience with new and fresh information they may be craving.
After creating useful content that has enough stopping power and showcases what your brand is all about, you can then add SEO best practices into the mix.
Start Creating Regular Blog Content Answering Peoples Questions and Problems Around What You Offer
The more valuable content you provide, the more your brand will boom. On the other hand, writing a blog post every once in a blue moon isn’t going to get you anywhere. And even if it does, you won’t stay in that favourable position very long.
In order to show your audience that your brand is here to stay, you need to create content on a regular basis, and not just any content; your content has to be in tune with the challenges and difficulties that your target audience is facing.
Put differently; you need to write relevant content that addresses certain questions your audience may have or specific problems they may be facing. Rehashed, run-of-the-mill content won’t suffice!
Optimise Every Blog Article for a Keyword
Targeting different keywords with your blog posts is one of the ways you can climb the SERPs ladder. However, you must first understand the different types of keywords you can aim for.
Keyword phrases are divided into four categories: navigational, transactional, commercial, or informational. There are keywords that can fit more than one category, though.
Navigational keywords are the ones that aim for a specific website, brand, or individual. A perfect example of a navigational keyword is ‘Facebook’.
Transactional keywords are the ones that are intended to help users complete certain tasks. An example would be ‘Buy’, ‘Watch’, and ‘Subscribe’.
Commercial keywords are typically associated with pre-purchase search queries. Examples include ‘Price’, ‘Features’, and ‘Description’.
Last but surely not least, informational keywords are the ones around which most web content is built. They’re arguably the most important category of keywords, as they’re the ones that address the challenges, difficulties, and questions users may have. Online reviews are a great example.
Targeting different keywords, particularly long-tail keywords, enables you to reach different audiences, which, in turn, grows your customer base and increases brand awareness.
What Are the First Steps in SEO for a Brand?
Know Your Audience
SEO for brand awareness starts with pinpointing your target audience. Targeting a niche audience is especially beneficial for smaller, hyper-focused businesses. Proper keyword research is essential to targeting niche audiences.
Know Your Brand Values and What You Stand For
Next, you need to define the personality and values of your brand. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s more important to stand out and have your own unique brand image than to garner traffic blindly.
What’s Your End Goal?
Before you start employing SEO to increase brand awareness, you need to define your end goals. Are you simply looking for more traffic and clicks? Are you looking to network with industry leaders? Are you looking to increase your conversion rate? Are you looking to compete against big-name brands?
Know What It Is That You’re Going to Consistently Offer to People
As we mentioned earlier, you need to provide your target audience with high-quality content regularly. If you provide your audience with quality content every blue moon, you won’t get any desirable results. Similarly, if you provide your audience with much run-of-the-mill content, it won’t do you any good.
Know Why You’re Different From Everyone Else
If you’re in a hyper-competitive market or industry, you’re going to need a shtick to set you apart from your competitors. Defining your core values and creating a personality for your brand can be of significant help, but you need to take it a step further and try to do something that your competitors aren’t doing.
How to Measure Brand Awareness in SEO?
Google Analytics provides you with basic analytical tools that can help you keep tabs on your SEO tactic. It also provides useful statistics that can help you measure your ROI.
Google Search Console
Using Google Search Console, you can compare your monthly impressions for branded searches. You can also use it to archive your monthly click data, measure your site’s traffic, and fix a range of issues your website may be facing.
SEMRush is an all-in-one digital marketing suite that can help boost your online visibility and discover all sorts of marketing opportunities and insights. SEMRush is also great for managing PPC campaigns, creating easy-to-understand analytical reports, and enhancing PLA performance. Not to mention that it features integrated social media marketing features.
Ahrefs is another comprehensive SEO suite that’s perfect for keyword research, rank tracking, link building, competitor analysis, and website audits. You can use Ahrefs to analyse your site’s keyword rankings, SEO health, and link profile.
Social Listening Tools
Social media listening and tracking tools enable you to measure your brand’s engagement and monitor your mentions on social media sites. Excellent social listening platforms include Brandwatch, Synthesio, Digimind, and Linkfluence.
Ask Your Customers
Relying on software alone isn’t enough; you have to refer to your target audience for feedback. You can do this by adding a live chat widget on your website or implement a survey pop-up.
How Long Does It Take to Build Brand Awareness?
It Depends On How Far You Want to Grow
How long it takes you to build brand awareness depends on three aspects: the effectiveness of your brand awareness strategy, your execution of the strategy, and how you define awareness.
Depending on the aspects mentioned above, it may take you weeks, months, or years to reach your own definition of brand awareness.
It’s a Long Process
You need to be realistic when trying to build your brand. It could take up to five years to reach a desirable level of brand awareness. Overnight success is unheard of when it comes to boosting brand awareness with SEO.
Social Media and SEO
Does Social Media Affect SEO?
Not directly, no. However, the links you share on social media websites definitely help contribute to brand exposure. Note that your social media shares don’t affect your rankings whatsoever. Although, when your social media shares go viral on social media, social signals are generated, indicating that your posts are of relevance to your target market/industry.
SEO, Social Media, and Brand Awareness All Crossover
Even though social media shares don’t affect search engine ranks, social media profiles do! For example, if you google a brand like “General Electric”, you’ll notice that the brand’s Instagram account is among the top organic search results. This clearly indicates that social media presence is tied to both SEO and brand awareness.
Boosting brand reputation and awareness is by no means an easy task, especially if you’re competing against industry giants. However, with the aid of an effective SEO strategy, your brand is bound to grow and prosper.
Why spend a ton of money on paid ads and other inorganic means of boosting awareness when you can resort to SEO. After all, it’s one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies today.
We’re not saying that resorting to SEO isn’t going to cost you anything, but it’ll certainly cost you a lot less than inorganic marketing strategies!
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