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Research Online Brands with Simple Search Term

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Online branding

Traditional media has powerful online brands. They offer simple lessons on how to build and keep them powerful. Search engine statistics reveal the power of those brands.

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, following are examples of how people often reach the Tribune online. These examples come from actual statistics of other newspapers where I worked or consulted.

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Tribune daily
  • The Chicago Tribune
  • Chicago Tribune newspaper

People use either the print brand name or the online brand name to find the site. In many cases, they had the online address correct (such as 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 website – 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 offline 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 should appear are 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 other links, especially Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, etc.

If those website or social media pages are poorly developed, the visitor will lose respect for the business. The online business brand will lose credibility.

A Glaring Example

A client 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.

Besides the main website (which didn’t even identify the owners or employees and their credentials), I found a few underdeveloped social media sites for the company. That was all. 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. For many businesses, social media followers are hard to obtain.

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.

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