Last Friday I had pleasure of presenting at one of Calgary’s social media regular gatherings organized by McQ Design and called Social Media Breakfasts Calgary (#SMBYYC). Check Social Media Breakfast to learn more about the initiative. I absolutely loved the venue, the audience and atmosphere, and I’ll definitely recommend you checking these events out in the future.
My presentation was spread between the following 3 topics: branded search marketing, social networks and online reputation management. My goal was to outline the importance of branded search as well as give some practical advice on how to perform well in branded search. Here it is in a nutshell. BTW, the presentation is now on my online marketing presentations page.
What is branded search?
It’s an activity of searching for specific company / brand names using major search engines. When does it happen?
- “heard something about your product and want to know what it’s all about”
- “know what it is, I’m ready to buy, just need to buy it”
Why is branded search important?
Because branded search activity happens very late in the conversion funnel, and, as a result, leads to much higher conversion rates. Let’s take a look at an example: standard decision making process:
- we come up with a problem
- search for alternatives
- evaluate alternatives
- make the decision
- evaluate the decision
As consumers we do general search for general key terms at step 2. We do branded search at step 4. I hope you get the point. Let me know if you have questions in the comments below.
Taking branded search for granted
As many other things in life, we take branded search for granted. We say “why do we need to pay attention for branded search if we’re already #1 in Google for our company name?”. It’s true, especially if your company name is karamba123. However, there are other listings on the 1st page of Google and what are those?
- Are they relevant to your business?
- Do they describe your business positively?
- Can you control those listings?
Do social network profiles help your branded search presence?
Most of the social networks we’re using today do not pass Google Juice or authority to your site. However, some do, and when this happens, your site can greatly benefit from a link from one of these social network profiles. Moreover, bigger social networks rank very well for branded search. So, having a profile with the right social networks can not only add some Google Juice but also improve your branded search presence.
My little search experiment
- My goal was to answer the question: what are the top social media properties that rank well for branded search terms?
- My methodology was as simple and included 3 steps:
- Choose local people with strong social media presence
- Perform Google searches for each person (brands in this case) and tabulate the results
- Go through the lists of properties and identify the common
- My results were the following 9 social networks that are well worth maintaining for the sake of controlling your 1st page Google rankings.
- Business Exchange
The reason there’s only 9 is two-fold: 1) because the 10th is hopefully your site, 2) I lost one in data manipulations and could not find it for the presentation.
What are the lessons?
There were three simple lessons I wanted to share. And my hope is that these will help you improve your branded search presence.
- Choose the right social networks to manage. Some of them are worth it, some of them aren’t. Please don’t leave your social network if it’s not part of the 9. If you have a community of people that you enjoy, by all means, please stay, make conversations, help people, share some value.
- Cover the 1st page of Google with your brand properties. Treat Google’s first page as the first point of contact with your brand. Let the people connect to your Facebook page right from Google’s result page. This will make their life so much simpler.
- Have control over the listings on the first page. Make sure your snippet titles and descriptions are in line with your brand / product. Ideally, you should be able to control, in most of the cases you don’t though. Do you want me to clarify this point? Just ask me in the comments.
Bonus link: at the end of the presentation I shared a bonus link to a page where SEOmoz team recommends a list of SEO friendly social networks. There’s a short list of 25 and there’s a long one of over 100. I’m not saying that you should have a profile in all of those. Choose which ones work for you and those that host your community of interest.
And, of course, the next steps. These are the things you need to do to get started on improving your branded search presence.
- Search your brand, company name, product name using Google or Bing. Is your brand on the first page? What are the listings that surround it?
- Review your social profile inventory. What are the networks that you currently participate in? Are they on the first page?
- Create profiles with SEO friendly social networks (if you haven’t done so already). Use my list of 9, as well as SEOmoz’s lists of 25 and the one that’s over a 100.
- Make sure your control titles and description of the listings. If your Facebook page Google listing describing your business, product properly?
The presentation is available now. Take a look, follow the notes, do the next steps and, please ask questions in the comments. Let’s collectively find a better way of doing things!
Special thanks for making this happen go to: Chett (for introducing me to such a great event), Jane Waye (for organizing such a great event), Alex Poda (for emcee-ing the event), Aaron Krootje (for THE wake up call), AlexKGT (for being there). If you were at the event, please feel free to leave a comment or as questions. If you missed it, I look forward to seeing you at the future events!