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Brands And Search Engines - How Do They Mix?

How important are search engines when it comes to brand marketing? 73% of the adult population report they are using the internet today and the number increases every day. Of those people, 87% are using search engines as their primary method of finding websites. My point ignoring search engines in your brand marketing plan is a major mistake. Is your brand really affected by search engines? ClickZ performed a study in April of 2006, which stated 15% of brand searches strayed from the actual brand being clicked on. This means the typical brand lost 15% of visitors. Wouldn't you like to see an increase of 15% in visitors seeing your message? A survey conducted by The Dieringer Research Group found 45% of adults say their brand opinions have changed as a result of advertising and other product information found online.

These are just a couple of studies which show that brand is affected by search engines. With the number of sites on the internet increasing dramatically, more and more sites are appearing in the top results for brand searches other than the brand itself. Many times it could be negative messages about your brand. Most companies out there have detractors on the internet?whether it is news about a lawsuit, disgruntled employees or just unsatisfied customers. Have you looked at what the internet is saying about your company? How good is your visibility in search engines compared to your competitors and detractors? The good news is there are ways to counteract these messages.

How? By increasing the talk in favor of your brand on the internet. The more positive images and messages you have online, the better it is for your brand. Also, you will be diluting your competitors' and detractors' messages. Increase your Brand Presence Online Organic Search Listings for your Website Your website is a great marketing and PR tool for your brand. When customers are directly searching for your brand, you need to make sure they can find you. Type in your company's name in Google. Ideally, you should be number one since it is your company's name and most likely your domain. If you are not number one, then your website needs to be optimized for search engines. Aside from your company name, what keywords do you want people to associate with your brand? What's your position for these keywords? If your results are not satisfactory, you need to explore a search engine optimization program. Paid Sponsored Listings Now look at the sponsored listings; do you have a presence there? You may ask "Should my company be listed in paid if we are already high in organic listings?" The answer is almost always yes.

You may be thinking why should I pay for an ad on my company's name when my company is already showing up first in the non-paid (organic searches)? This is a very common question. According to recent research, websites listed at the top of the organic search results and the paid listings will triple their click-thru ratio. The fact is everyone views things differently and search results are no exception. Different users click in different areas. If someone is researching a product, they are more likely to look at the organic listings. If they are set on buying a product, they might look at paid to see if there are any deals. In eye tracking studies, regardless of reason, some people are more drawn to organic search listings, while others are attracted to sponsored results. Another reason you should be listed in both is your competition could be showing up in paid search. Therefore, you could be losing traffic directly to your competition. Policies on trademark infringement in search engines vary and are difficult to enforce.

Aside from your trademarked terms, your competitors are bidding on keyword terms that are optimal for your brand. Another reason for having visibility in both paid and organic is that it improves the credibility of your message. The more impressions a visitor sees, the more they think you are a major player. Aside from increased credibility is increased name recognition of your brand. Even if you don't receive clicks, your presence makes an impression on your potential customer. A study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Nielsen/NetRatings shows that sponsored search ads do improve brand recognition. Brands with an ad at the top position of a search engine rose by an average of 14% across six industries in brand metrics. The brand metrics definitely decrease with position although it is still higher than no position at all. Press Releases Every press release you publish should be optimized for search engines. Your title, keywords, meta description and content should all be evaluated when publishing a release.

Also, if it is newsworthy, submitting to the news sites, like Google News, Yahoo News and any industry news sites will increase the scope. A search engine-friendly press release increases the chances of your release being picked up on the search engines. Blogging Many corporations have started blogs in an effort to control, as much as possible, what is being said about your brand. Blogs are increasingly being indexed and rewarded with high positions, making them another instrument you can use to get and control your message online. Articles and news Adding news or articles based on your expertise is a great way to enhance your presence in search engines. Find out what your target audience is searching for. If you are an e-commerce site, are users searching for informational articles before they are purchasing? Generating content about your industry is a great way to get exposure in the engines. The bottom line is this, if you are not shaping the messages of your brand on search engines, someone else is already or will soon do it for you.


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