Why is SEO important for building your brand?

December 8, 2020
SCMP Insights
We are all users of the internet, so sometimes it’s a good idea to step back and think of the insights we’ve gained from looking online for answers to questions. When people type a search query into a search engine they are actively searching for something in particular. They are in the learning mode – ready to learn more about “your product or your brand”.

This is the best time for you to present your brand’s message to these potential customers through search engine optimisation, or SEO. The secret of your success is “relevancy”.

If you can create content that the search engine considers relevant to the users’ search, then your content could become the answer to people’s questions. This establishes a positive relationship by solving their problems when they need solutions (to their queries).

As marketers, we design communications with a call to action (CTA) – a brand-led invitation for end-users to do something. We hope to catch users at the right time, so they stop whatever that they are doing and take action, such as learn more, buy now, or register.

Yet we can only hope that the timing is right – and they follow our suggestions. The conversion rate shows that most users don’t do as they are told. Programmatic media, contextual targeting and mixed-channel tactics can help us improve on the timing of the messages, but these are merely a best estimation and we can never be certain – except when it comes to the search channel.

Search terms tell us a lot about the users, such as whether they are looking for general information (a good time for awareness), specific products (your chance to show off your product’s features) or want a channel to buy something (your opportunity to get them to complete the purchase).

When users are searching and ready to take action their search terms are like “invitations” to learn more information – providing clear indicators about their needs and their stage in your brand’s audience funnel.

With good SEO, brands are able to match their relevant content and respond to these user invitations. By having content that matches their queries, brands have the chance to appear in front of prospective customers – right when they are ready to engage – at minimal media cost.

These user-led engagement opportunities build awareness and trust through the various stages of the funnel. Since it is the user who has initiated the search and selected the content from the results, they will be more receptive to the brand’s message – and more likely to build trust with the brand and its product.

With holistic SEO strategies, brands can design the path to conversion that leverages SEO so that it takes visitors further down the funnel, and creates opportunities that drive business results.

How can you improve SEO for your brand?

With most common search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, search results are displayed based on keywords or phrases that users have entered, and the website content that the search engine algorithms consider to be relevant to the search.

There are two key areas of focus to improve SEO. The first is technical SEO. Structure your website with the latest schema or model for search engines that are popular in your desirable market. Google is the dominant player among search engine in most English-speaking countries. It provides lots of documentation about how to improve the technical aspect of your website to improve technical SEO.

The second, more mysterious part to focus on is content SEO. What kind of content should your website feature to ensure that both the search algorithm and the users consider it relevant?

Organic traffic does not include tracking parameters. But your web analytics, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, offer insights into your existing organic traffic, including the keywords that bring you organic traffic.

Expand, compare and analyse these phrases, and weave them into your content. Design content with phrases your brand can own and then tailor the content to meet users’ queries across the different stages of the funnel.

Here are a few tips on where you can improve content for your brand SEO.
  1. Start with a few key phrases that represent your products. You should be getting top results for your brand terms. But SEO can also be used for brand awareness. How should users discover your brand without knowing your brand name?
  2. Identify the low-hanging fruit for you – and your competitors. Look at your search engine marketing, or SEM, and keyword insights to find out what users are searching for with regard to your brand and products – and your competitors'. Identify the phrases that are not competitive and are unique to your brand or your products.
  3. Design content that is relevant and meaningful, prioritise it with high-search volume. High-search volume phrases are rarely about your brand message. Focus on the users’ needs and provide relevant answers to the search queries. You can build trust and sow the seeds of conversion when you provide relevant information about your brand or product. Relevancy is key.
  4. Explore content partnerships or a non-brand content platform. SEO takes time, traffic volume and search volume. Explore content partners that could give you the traffic volume and domain authority to speed up your SEO progress.
  5. Be patient: observe the change and don’t focus on the immediate result. SEO is a long-term investment. If you are looking for immediate results, you are looking at the wrong channel. Paid media gives you an immediate result, while SEO gives you the long-tail result.
  6. Continuous optimisation. Optimisation is part of SEO. Understand search engine algorithms, improve and reiterate your content to ensure the search engine “considers” your content as relevant. If the search engine does not understand your content, your result cannot be considered relevant and it will not rank high in the search results.
  7. Understand your users. We are all users, too. Dig deep into your own experiences, to evaluate what content is relevant to different search terms and scenarios.

Additional resources 

  1. What is the market share of search engines in Asia?
  2. Some useful tools to kickstart your SEO