There is a misconception in SEO that branded keywords are “easy.”
Easy if your brand is strong. Easy if your brand is unique and non-generic. Easy to get wrong.
In a perfect world we would all own our brand online. In the real world and on the Internet your brand is only partially under your control. The more you are able to define and distinguish yourself you will be less susceptible to having your brand hijacked by your unhappy customers or your competition.
Here are some common pitfalls for your brand online:
- Name Competition
Wouldn’t be much of a market if it wasn’t a little crowded. It’s not necessarily your competition. It could be major online retailers selling your book, product, or event ticket. Could be an affiliate of yours reviewing your product. Your business could be a combination of a common place name and common business name. A cliche, even if cleverly applied, will have more noise than signal online because of all the references online. And the domain name you need is probably taken.
- Poor Site Structure
Site structure should reinforce your brand, products, and services. 100% of your brand’s focus is essentially divided by the breadth of your content. This is one of the basics of SEO that really should have been taken care of as one of the first steps in web design. Keep your content on-point and cut out anything that is of-message.
- Generic Terms
Your business has the John Smith of brand names. Smith Group, Bob’s Burgers (and the TV show), Greenville Homes, etc. Leave the most generic name you can think of as a comment, the less cachet the better.
- No Brand Reinforcement
Claim your brand on social media. That means making sure that your social media profiles reinforce your brand message: logo, colors, media, and tone of voice. Setting it up also means that you should use it, or at the very least monitor and respond as necessary.
- Keep Using a Bad Business Name
This is the sunk cost fallacy. If your name is confusing or is sending the wrong message you have to change it. Or keep pushing that rope. Seriously, you will be glad you stopped fighting a bad brand and changed. When that happens make sure that you do a quick search on Google and Bing when you are brainstorming new names.
Brands historically were to identify your property. Branded cattle were identifiable if they walked off or were stolen. If your brand was easy to morph into another your property was vulnerable. Your cattle were white-label and you never intended for that to happen.
Online is a little like the old West, there are mini-gold rushes, property booms, and newfangled cattle rustlers, but the old rules of branding still apply. Be unique, be memorable, and leave people feeling positive.