While ranking high in Google’s result pages will always bring value to your business, sometimes the reputation of the brand matters more to a consumer than only its search result rank. In this episode of Here’s Why, Mark & Eric explain why big brands should focus just as much on brand building as they do on their search engine optimization efforts.
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Eric: The search engine space is more crowded than ever, and it’s being dominated by big brands. If your brand has no reputation, it’s harder than ever to climb to where your potential customers can see you. I’m Eric Enges, CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, and in this episode of “Here’s Why with Mark and Eric”, I’ll ask Mark Traphagen to explain why well-known brands dominate search and what you can do to become one of them.
Eric: Mark, a lot of people are noticing that when it comes to searches for commercially important terms, the so-called “money terms”, well known brands dominate the results. Take a look at this Google Page for a search for camping gear: Cabelas, Walmart, Backcountry.com … These are all brands anyone interested in recreational equipment already knows. Is Google giving them preference?
Mark: Well certainly some people think that it must be the case. Some even think there’s a conspiracy by Google. They think these brands must have some secret deal with Google or get ranked because of their Google Ads spend. But there’s a more likely natural explanation: People prefer brands they trust and know, and their actions because of that trust send signals to search engines that result in higher rankings. Rand Fishkin of Moz shared more about how that works in his presentation “Why SEO That Used to Work Fails”, which you can view at the link on your screen.
Eric: I’ll bet having a recognizable brand helps you even if you are further down the search page.
Mark: It certainly can, Eric. Here’s a personal example. Recently I had to order new eyeglasses and I wanted to try getting them online, so I searched for prescription eyeglasses. I was a little wary of buying something online that really had to be exactly right, so who I dealt with was important to me. Now the top result was FramesDirect, but I’ve never heard of them. 39dollar.com, no thanks, never heard of them either.
But then I spotted the third result, Ray-Ban! Now, Ray-Ban I’ve heard of: they’ve spent years building a reputation of high quality eyewear, so I clicked that result even though it wasn’t #1. Now brand recognition, trust and reputation trump the SEO authority of the other two sites, so I think many small businesses ought to spend far less time on SEO tricks and a lot more on building the reputation of their brands.
Eric: How can our viewers help build recognition and trust for their brands?
Mark: Well, that’s a big question that could take a book to answer. But let me give three ways you can do that. First, you must have great products and services. Without those, all the fancy marketing and great content in the world won’t build a brand reputation. Second, your site’s content, help, and customer service all have to be top notch.
You need to reduce friction everywhere you can; give visitors something worth talking about and sharing with their friends. And finally, be real and engaged with people, both on and offline. Ignore the cynics; people really do come to like and even love certain brands, the ones they feel care about them and with which they can have some kind of relationship.
Eric: Thanks for those tips, Mark! Today’s episode was taken from Mark’s daily marketing tips podcast: Traphagen’s Takeout Order. To listen and subscribe, go to the link on your screen, and please do join us again for another episode of “Here’s Why with Mark and Eric” as we help you understand the “why” behind the “what” of digital marketing.