Brand Awareness and SEO

Why Brand Awareness is Important for SEO & How to Improve It

SEO is a continuously changing and evolving industry. Every year, there are hundreds of updates to Google’s algorithm, a few of which are strategy altering.

While trends come and go (look at the thousands of 2021 SEO trends blogs that came out in the past few months), there are a few things that continue to grow in importance. One of which is brand awareness.

For many, their brand may seem irrelevant or a lower priority in regard to their SEO strategy. That’s because many view branding through a simplified scope of a logo, color scheme, or catchy slogan. But it’s more than that. Much more.

Let’s have a look at how the importance of branding continues to evolve in the eyes of Google.

Company Branding

What I’m focused on in this blog post is brand awareness at the company level. How I measure, for example, Liquid’s brand awareness through an organic lens is branded search interest/volume, rankings, clicks, and impressions. These are good KPIs to focus on regardless of your industry or company size.

How to Improve Your Company’s Brand Awareness Through SEO

Improving your brand awareness through SEO can be difficult and time consuming, but it’s not impossible. You certainly won’t see results as quickly as you would from a PPC campaign, but you should see longer, more sustained success.

Whether you specify it or not, an inherent goal of your SEO strategy should be to increase awareness of your brand.

So how do you achieve this goal? Well, without getting too specific or covering the hundreds of ranking factors, here are some of the top priority strategies you should consider implementing:

  • Conduct extensive keyword research and leverage historical performance to enhance existing content and optimizations.
  • Create on-going content on a regular basis that is relevant to your audience and was developed via keyword/topic research.
  • Conduct a link building campaign targeting industry-relevant domains. This will not only boost your rankings as a result of having a better backlink profile, but also help drive referral traffic, helping new users discover your brand.
  • Conduct an outreach campaign to news and industry-relevant publications to cover your efforts (community involvement, awards, or showcasing your expertise via guest posting, referencing your case studies, etc.).
  • Invest in local SEO and, more specifically, local listing management. By leveraging a tool such as Yext, you can keep all of your information accurate and consistent across hundreds of local listing platforms. This won’t just help your visibility in local search, but similar to link building, this should improve your referral traffic from the websites you’re listed on.
  • Develop a review campaign. Encourage your customers or clients to leave reviews across various platforms (Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, etc.). Having more, high-quality reviews will increase your visibility in Google and on these platforms.

Other Digital Marketing Tactics to Improve Your Brand Awareness

Like I said, a brand awareness campaign via SEO can take some time. That’s why I often recommend to clients that they consider the following tactics to expedite the process and start seeing results sooner:

  • Launch a brand awareness campaign via paid advertising (search and social).
  • Grow your presence on social media organically.
  • Develop a referral program to encourage customers to spread the word about your company.
  • Explore other avenues of content creation such as video or podcasting.

The SEO Benefits of Increasing Brand Awareness

Aside from the obvious benefit of having more people know about your brand, here are some more specific SEO benefits of increasing your brand awareness:

  • Branded search queries typically have a higher click-through-rate (CTR) and lead to a higher conversion rate. Branded searches are often more valuable than non-branded.
  • If your brand is often searched for in association with a non-branded product/service offering, you’ll rank higher in Google for the non-branded product/service search.
    • For example, one of our client’s, Blue Ridge’s, top trending branded search term is “Blue Ridge Internet.”

The top branded search queries for Blue Ridge in Google Search Console

As a result of this, look how their organic visibility for search queries containing “internet” (high-speed internet, internet service provider, etc.) has been trending.

Google Search Console Performance Chart Showing an Increase in Impressions

Impressions have nearly doubled!

While results will vary, and there are a plethora of other factors at hand, increasing the amount of brand searches paired with a product/service offering should help improve your organic performance.

Personal Branding

When referring to personal branding, I’m speaking about the brand equity people have built up on an individual basis.

Developing your own brand is not just important for social media, it’s imperative for SEO success.

If you’ve been following Google’s increased push and algorithm update of E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness), you’ll see that it’s pretty evident that your personal brand matters.

Check out the expertise questions Google provides to self-assess if you believe you're offering quality content.

Google’s Expertise Questions

I highlighted two specifically. It’s pretty obvious they want to reward those who establish themselves and are perceived as experts.

If you’re an established player in your field of expertise and/or have been shown to be knowledgeable about a topic, you’ll likely perform better than someone who isn’t.

Like a company’s brand awareness, your personal brand can be measured by similar organic metrics. However, for most of us who aren’t famous/well known in our industry, you can do somewhat of a qualitative assessment of your brand from what you can find via search.

For example, let’s take a look at myself.

Google Search for websites mentioning David McDowell, SEO and linking to

Not bad!

You’ll see in addition to my LinkedIn, I have some coverage regarding SEO from a university’s website, an SEMRush profile which also links to a guest post I wrote, a local news publication covering my participation in a global SEO competition, and a link to the site design for that competition that gained a lot of attention in the search industry.

Continuing to produce content across these reputable sites and being active in the search community will improve the performance of content I produce and Liquid’s overall visibility due to my association with the agency.

Now, if you compare me to someone like Neil Patel, I’m basically a nobody.

Like him or not, Neil has continued to grow his brand on a global scale.

Google Trends Search Interest for Neil Patel

Interestingly enough, look at his website’s organic rankings over this same timeframe.

Neil Patel’s Organic Ranking Performance

In Conclusion

Improving brand awareness can often take a back seat in SEO strategies. Many SEOs or marketing managers are worried about improving their positioning for non-branded terminology or out dueling their competitors instead. While this certainly should be part of it, to ensure your SEO campaigns are as successful as possible, improving your brand awareness needs to be at the forefront of your strategy.

Simply put, invest in branding and the SEO strategy to grow it. Looking to get started? Contact us!