Branded keywords represent search queries that include the organization’s brand name or various product and brand-related information. While most B2B marketers assume their organization appears prominently for branded keyword search results, they need to consider the rest of the results that appear on a Google search page, both organic and paid.
How often do you review brand-based keyword search performance? Does your B2B organization’s website appear prominently in search engine results for your brand name and product names? Have you used Google Search Console’s search analytics report to check impressions, clicks, and the click thru rate of brand-based searches?
The reality is that there are often at least nine other results that appear for brand-based search queries, besides your organization’s website. They may not all be favorable for your organization either. More often than not you will also find Knowledge Graph results, perhaps images and video, and even paid search if the keyword is competitive enough.
In this post, I will outline a series of tactics B2B SEO professionals should consider, in order to dominate brand-based keyword search engine results.
Site Navigational Architecture
Clear, concise, and consistent navigational architecture is one of the first areas of opportunity for improving SEO presence in branded keyword search engine results. Obviously ensure that Google can crawl main navigation menus and emphasize key pages and website sections as needed.
The implementation of structured data assists Google with the understanding of site and web page properties as well as provides opportunities for enhancements in search engine listings.
Google specifically supports structured data implementations associated with breadcrumb trails, site search function, carousels, and Knowledge Graph oriented material like logos and social profiles (more on Knowledge Graph below).
Knowledge Graph Listing
Despite the fact that lower than one percent of clicks may go to Knowledge Graph results (that result that appears in the right-hand panel of a desktop search result), this result provides quick information about the organization and brand.
Make sure that it is accurate information being presented.
Beside accurate information on the website, Knowledge Graph results can be further optimized through Google My Business. B2B organizations can update local addresses, hours of operation, contact information, and logos within this Google platform.
Note: This is in addition to structured data recommendations for logo and social profile information detailed above.
Another method for accessing Google My Business is to look at organizational information through Google Maps and claim / verify business details. This can be a more beneficial starting point in an effort to minimize duplicate listings.
SEO Tagging Basics
When it comes to onsite optimization efforts, don’t forget SEO tagging basics! Make certain key organizational pages are optimized for brand names, product information, and other relevant organizational details. This includes the optimization of HTML titles, meta descriptions, Open Graph tags, and page headings.
Recommended web pages to review include company informational pages, leadership bios, and organizational event, news, and press release sections, among others.
Branded Paid Search
Branded AdWords listings provide an opportunity for the applicable B2B organization to more specifically manage copy associated with priority results as well as drive advertising visibility to key lead generation assets.
Because branded keyword results are often much less expensive for the brand than competitors, B2B organizations are better able to leverage important AdWords advertising extensions meant to augment listings and obtain more real estate in these search results.
The following AdWords tactics should be considered in an effort to improve brand presence and provide opportunities for further B2B lead generation efforts.
- Keyword bids on high priority brand-related search queries.
- Brand-related ad copy (headline, descriptions, URL, etc.).
- Implementation of AdWords ad extensions that augment copy and increase space in search engine results. Examples include sitelinks and callout extensions.
Third Party Business Listings
For technology and software organizations in particular, third party review sites often rank prominently for brand-related search queries. This may include sites like Software Advice, Crunchbase, G2Crowd, and Capterra in the software / technology vertical but there are many others across industry segments.
B2B organizations should review guidelines for applicable third party business listing sites and ensure that information within each site is both up to date and completed as comprehensively as possible.
Cross-links to applicable solutions, web page references, and social media assets should also be applied where appropriate and allowable.
Social Media Assets
In a similar fashion (but applicable across all industry segments), social media platforms should also be reviewed for further optimization efforts where applicable. The objective is to ensure that information within each platform is both up to date and completed as comprehensively as possible.
Don’t forget to cross-link to key organizational information (company web pages) as well as make reference to other social media profiles and pages.
As social media sites like LinkedIn offer job listings and Facebook offers the ability to generate company reviews, take note of how this functionality appears in brand-based search results. There may be an opportunity for reinforce or seek to improve brand presence.
Third Party Hiring Sites
Job listing sites like Glassdoor in particular are becoming more common to find in brand-based search results. While the reviews on these sites are often anonymous, these sites will allow business owners to complete and verify profile information, as well as upload branding and marketing collateral.
Even if your organization has a mix of positive and negative employee reviews, it is worth taking the time to ensure company information is accurate and cross-links and marketing copy are complete.
Registration with Google Search Console
It still surprises me in the number of prospects we talk with that have not registered their website with Google Search Console. While this integration rarely leads to an immediate impact in brand-based search results, once registered, Search Console provides site owners with better control in configuring how Google displays information, such as your preferred navigational sitelinks, preferred domain, and the submission of XML sitemaps.
Other Sources of Brand-Based Keyword Influence
Lastly, it is important to review your individual brand-based keyword results to confirm what other websites appear. Some of the other more common types of content we see include the following.
- Wikipedia Entries – this type of result is more common with publicly traded organizations in particular. Just like review sites, social media profiles, and job boards, it is important to make certain listed information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Third Party Bylines – contributions to influential industry publications and even more popular mainstream publishers may sometimes appear for brand based searches. B2B marketers would be wise to maintain a third party contribution strategy since it can have a positive impact on SEO in general (via link acquisition) and broader brand building development.
- Mobile App Directories – if your organization has a mobile application, ensure information in app directories is up to date and accurate as well. The most common locations we find in brand based search results are iTunes and Google Play stores.
Brand-based keyword search traffic may lead to the highest quality site visitor, outside of direct traffic referrals. This is because the searcher already has familiarity with the brand and is looking for company-specific information.
Even the type of appearance an organization makes in brand-based search results can have an impact. This is specific to owned digital marketing assets as well as third party references.
Hopefully this post provides some initial direction for improving or beginning to improve your organization’s brand presence with associated brand-based keyword search engine results.