Trying to boost brand visibility and reputation organically can seem like an elusive and time-consuming task but achieving high search engine rankings naturally not only drives consumers to your door, it also makes the most of performance marketing efforts.
There is a multitude of techniques that brands can employ to improve search engine optimisation (SEO), but SEO is essentially based on two factors – relevance and trustworthiness. Given this tall order, what can be done exactly to achieve brand visibility through organic search?
Maintain an accurate and engaged online presence
In an age where online search is more prolific than ever before, having an accurate and engaged online presence is the first step to boosting a brand’s online visibility organically. According to the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, 66% of marketing experts identified Google My Business listings and reviews as the most important fundamentals that affect online visibility.
Inaccurate online business listings – such as incorrect operating hours or contact information – have a significant impact on brand visibility and reputation. For one thing, inaccurate information frustrates consumers, which can lead to negative reviews and the loss of potential business. But business listing inaccuracies are also damaging in a surprising way – they negatively impact trustworthiness, one of the key factors for high search engine rankings.
Search engines cross-check different directories to verify business listing results, and if the information matches, search rankings rise. On the other hand, any inconsistency or inaccuracy in business listings can cause search engine rankings to drop. With most consumers focusing on only the first page of search results, high search rankings are vital to achieving meaningful brand visibility online.
As well as managing business listings, engaging with consumers on social media and via online reviews is crucial to improving a brand’s organic search rankings. In a recent Sprout Social survey, when brands responded to customers through social media and online, 65% became more loyal to the brand and in an Uberall survey of 1,000 consumers, 34% of customers who left a review after purchasing a product but did not receive a reply from the business, stopped buying from there.
Loyal customers continue to engage with and generate buzz about a brand online, but unhappy ones most certainly do not. Social media and online reviews, which naturally mention key words and reference brand names, also provide fresh, free-of-charge online content that drives a brand’s relevance online and raises search engine rankings.
Organic search visibility enhances performance marketing
The number one reason given by online users for their lack of engagement with advertising is its lack of relevance. According to a study by TechnologyAdvice, 79% of internet users almost never look at online ads and an enormous 90% of users that click on ads don’t follow through. The advertising itself is not to blame – advertising relevance is.
Marketers are well aware of the importance of reaching prospects that are a good fit for their advertising efforts and employ many tactics to do so. Localised advertising, which uses consumer location data to display applicable brand messaging to the right audience is one method brands use to reach consumers with germane content. With the widespread use of online searches for products and services ‘near me’, as well as the increase of voice search – ComScore estimates that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 – this type of location-based marketing is certainly one way to reach consumers with more relevant content.
Combine with localised performance marketing
Today’s consumer relies on their mobile device when they’re out and about, and with both organic and paid click-through rates (CTR) declining in the past few years, it’s more important than ever to be relevant. In fact, Sparktoro reports organic CTR went from 67% down to 39% between 2015-2018, and after a steady decline from 2015-2017, paid CTR has only just begun to rise again – but is still only at 3.12% as compared to organic CTR at 39%.
In order to address this trend, brands that achieve high organic search rankings and combine them with localised performance marketing will hit the right audience because the content is relevant to consumers not just physically in the geographical area, but to those who are seeking a specific product or service in the local area.
Organic SEO and paid-for-performance marketing go hand-in-hand in improving a brand’s online visibility. Brands that improve their organic search rankings by actively managing business listings and engaging with consumers online will also enhance their performance marketing efforts. For example, the consumer who has clicked on the top search results for hotels in Paris is much more likely to click on the ad for flights to France. Organic SEO puts the right people in touch with the right information, which is ultimately every brands’ goal.