During my work on large newspaper and TV station websites, I was surprised at what I discovered in analytic software about the ways people went to those sites. Some of them had been around for many years and were getting more than 1 million unique visitors a month.
It was no surprise that these sites attracted major amounts of traffic from search engines. The surprise was how people used those search engines to reach the sites.
The top 10 search terms they used often were dominated by variations on the name of the traditional media brand. Although I didn’t work at Chicago Tribune, an example of the search keyword variations might include:
- Chicago Tribune
- Tribune daily
- The Chicago Tribune
- Chicago Tribune newspaper
People mixed a combination of the print brand name and the online brand name to find the site. In many cases, they had the online address correct but entered it into the search box anyway.
Regardless of which term they used, the major lesson was this: That people entered the brand name in search and got back search results that included the Web site – but also much more.
The much more part has an important impact on building an online brand.
Simple Brand Search
Go to Google or Bing and enter the name of your product or business to see the results. The best way to do it is by putting the brand in parentheses, i.e., “Chicago Tribune.”
It is likely that the website of the business will appear in the first position on the search results page. But what appears in the second, third and other positions on that page?
Ideally, what also will appear will be social media sites for the business, articles about it and other relevant sites and pages.
But is that what they will see? More importantly, on what link will they click?
Yes, the majority will probably click on the link that goes to the core brand. But others certainly will click on additional links, especially Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Yelp or other pages.
If those pages are poorly developed, the visitor will lose respect for the business, and the online business brand will lose credibility.
A Glaring Example
A client recently contacted me and asked if I have ever heard of a certain SEO company.
I had not, so I went online to do the kind of search described above.
In addition to the main Web site (which didn’t even identify the owners or employees and their credentials), I found a few under-developed social media sites for the company and that was it.
The company claims expertise in search marketing but has a weak online presence. Hmm.
Let’s be clear that I’m not talking about the number of followers on social media. I’m talking about the quality of the pages and how they represent the company’s brand to anyone who is thinking about doing business with them.
Brand Rankings on Social Media
A related point is whether or not a company’s social media accounts rank well. If they don’t, the brand loses impact.
I did a search on my own one-person company and found that it ranked well for Facebook and LinkedIn, somewhat low on page 1 for Twitter and the bottom of page 2 for Google Plus.
The answer for the Twitter account was a tweak in its name. The answer for Google Plus remains a mystery.
The goal now is to get all four social accounts ranked right beneath the PromiseMedia.com blog. The handful of people who come to my site by searching on “promise media” will then see my vast empire in all its glory in the top 5 positions on the Google search results.