Branding is often regarded as nothing more than having a good logo and a catchy tagline. However, nothing could be further from the truth, especially regarding SEO. Effective branding can positively impact your SEO and ranking, just as poor branding can have a negative impact.
With Google increasingly seeking to base their search engine results on user experience, it is no longer just enough to focus on the technical elements of SEO. By these, we mean things like anchor text, meta tags and keyword density, measured by crawlers and algorithms, and not real people.
You also need to consider how your website appeals to those visiting. For example, do they stay on the website for some time, click through to other pages, or are they just there fleetingly and clicking away almost immediately?
These are important to consider because data like this allows Google to measure how good or bad your website is about user experience. While there are specific actions you can take to improve this, such as increasing page load speed and adding more interesting content, you can also impact them by improving the branding of your website.
Google has always regarded big brands as more desirable than nonentities, and while it may not be possible for you to compete with a global mega-brand, you can still impact your ranking by making your brand the best it can be. Google sees branding as a trust factor, and this is influencing their search results in ever-increasing ways.
Google also sees good branding as being something that is a white-hat activity rather than a black hat. They know that spammers, and those out to earn a quick buck, will not spend the time, effort or money building up their brand. Those websites that do are seen as more reliable and likely to have more authority too.
A website with a brand is likely to have traffic coming to it from multiple sources, including social media, and there will be a lot of diversity in the backlinks that are going to it as well. Google also recognises this as being a positive indicator that the website is trustworthy, and thus it moves its ranking up.
Improving your website’s branding does not need to involve shelling out thousands of dollars to a creative agency. You can take some very basic actions to give your branding the boost it needs.
First, keep the design of your website pages simple and consistent. Visitors feel comfortable if each page they click through looks and feels similar. Don’t be tempted to have a website with many ‘bells and whistles’ as this does not impress anyone, including users.
Remember, if you make your website designs complicated, with too many plugins and unnecessary media, it will load slowly, which isn’t good for your ranking.
It is always good to be present on your website so that users can see there is a real person behind it. At a minimum, you should have an ‘About Us’ page that details the company’s history, progress, and values. Images of people who work for the company or you as the owner also help with your branding.
Taking this a stage further, you should consider adding images or videos of customers who have already done business with you. What better way to build trust for your brand than real customers praising you in a short video?
Social media is a very useful way to boost your branding, but only if it is done sensibly. Many website owners take a scatter-gun approach and try to have accounts on every platform. This only works if you have the resources to employ people who can spend time posting all day.
Otherwise, determine which platform your customers are most likely to be on and focus on just those two or three, to build up your following and your brand recognition.