Should brand development strategies be based on SEO data?
YES. That’s the short answer. Brand strategy has changed for most companies and products. It used to be that creative advertising campaigns led the charge. Nowadays, it’s all about organic search traffic. So, shouldn’t you begin your brand strategy with search results data? Let’s look at some of the traditional components of brand development strategy:
Are you a startup? A fashion label? A law firm? If your business strategy hinges upon customers finding you online, then you should build your brand on a foundation of search engine optimization data.
Example, Bethany is launching a yoga startup. She thinks her business is selling a better yoga mat that’s anti-bacterial and yet super sticky to avoid slipping. That’s what she THINKs her business is. Well, let’s look at some keyword data:
“antibacterial yoga mat”
~10 searches per month
“how to clean yoga mat”
~3,600 searches per month
So, is Bethany launching an antibacterial yoga mat company? Or suddenly, is she thinking about launching a yoga mat that doesn’t need cleaning?
She might think the yoga mat audience is 24-50 year old women in metropolitan areas. Well, maybe. Search data doesn’t segment searchers by demographics. What search data does tell Bethany is that there is a psychographic of people who think about “cleaning” their yoga mats. That’s certainly an online target audience.
Does it matter what age they are? Or in a city, or not? You tell me. If I was selling a yoga mat online, I don’t think I’d care where I shipped it. I’d just wanna ship a lot of em. 🙂
Ok, now Bethany’s mind is open. Maybe her anti-bacterial yoga mat should be marketed as a clean-free yoga mat. What other brand development mistakes might she be able to correct? Price.
Is there search data that indicates people want cheap yoga mats? Yes. ~2,400 searches per month are looking for “cheap yoga mat”. However, about 18,100 are looking for the “best yoga mat”. And about 40,000 a month are looking for Jade, Lululemon, Manduka, and Galam yoga mats. All pricey options at around $50+.
I could surmise from this search data that a lot of people like fancy yoga mats. So, if Bethany wants her clean-free yoga mat to cost a little bit more, well, the market seems to allow it.
Now, let’s look at what search data tells us about brand positioning. Well, we know there are a lot of people searching for high-end yoga mats. A fancy brand is definitely an option.
However, what I would look for is a space where Bethany can “own” the market. So, I’m gonna go back to the anti-bacterial, clean-free angle. Let’s focus on that, and see if we can own the yoga mat cleaning space.
If Bethany became the online expert in how to clean a yoga mat, she could then convert all those “clean seekers” into buyers of her “clean-free” yoga mat? Right? Seems like a reasonable strategy.
So, if she started creating content about how to clean specific brands of yoga mats, and material types, and with all sorts of cleaning products… Well, then she could take advantage of searches like “how to clean a lululemon yoga mat” and “how to clean a cork yoga mat” and “clean yoga mat in shower” and “cleaning yoga mat with vinegar”.
Bethany could be the tester of of these cleaning methods and products. Then upsell her own “clean-free” yoga mat. I’m not saying that’s the ONLY answer. I’m just saying that search data would start to support that brand positioning.
Business Name, Logo, Tagline, URL
Can you use trend data to guide your business name, logo, and tagline development? Yes. Yes. And, yes.
An SEO-friendly business name is of most importance to a new business, without an online history. Those new businesses will often be launching as a local business, then growing to a larger online presence.
So, Bethany’s business name should be designed to help her be found by nearby customers. Even if she doesn’t have a brick and mortar storefront, she can still leverage local search to drive customers to her website and online store.
If Bethany was thinking about a clever name like: NoMuste, I might ask what the SEO value would be at launch? An alternative name with SEO value might be: CleanYoga. Obviously, Bethany wants a name that’s fun AND has some SEO value.
So, what search terms are your local customers searching for? Use those terms as options for your business name. I sorta like CleanYoga, just as an example.
This works, but it’s not a direct answer to creating a logo. Whatever Bethany’s CleanYoga logo looks like, she should name the image files properly. Heck, the logo is on every page of her website, that’s an SEO opportunity! Image file names, ALT-tags, and image descriptions are a powerful Google Search ranking element. So, what do you name your logo: Logo.png? No way.
Depending on your business type, I’d recommend naming it something with some value. In Bethany’s Case, if her logo is a curled up yoga mat, that looks like a “C”, then her logo might be named: CleanYoga-Best-Mat-Logo.png
She can take advantage of all the SEO value from search terms like “how to clean a yoga mat” and “best way to clean yoga mat” and even “best yoga mat”.
It’s 2018. Nobody really uses a tagline anymore. 🙂 Next!
While there are many SEO experts out there who’ll tell you that your URL is no longer a high-value SEO item, we politely disagree. In many instances, your URL is a significant search ranking element, especially when considering Local Search Results and Local Snippets. Here’s an example:
- A Santa Monica resident searches: “yoga santa monica”
- Their #1 SERP result is: www.santamonicayoga.com
The search term “yoga santa monica” has ~1,600 monthly searches, and “santa monica yoga” has ~1,900 searches. Neither seems to clearly indicate high-intent to find the specific business named Santa Monica Yoga. Arguably, both seem to show high-intent of finding a yoga class or studio in Santa Monica.
Compared to its competitors like YogaWorks, the URL, santamonicayoga.com, does not have the highest traffic, nor the most backlinks.
So, why does SantaMonica oga.com display as the #1 result? It would appear that Google Search still sees some level of ranking importance in the Keyword Query vs Results URL. Bottomline, we still recommend URLs with keyword value.
Before you ask: Yes, you should definitely look to trending search data to determine your marketing strategy.
Bethany has her company, CleanYoga, ready to roll. She’s decided to offer a clean-free yoga mat, and market via content that tests, examines, and explores all the ways to clean yoga mats of every color, manufacturer, material, and type.
So, Bethany had a business idea that has evolved into something a little different, based on search-related data:
- CleanYoga is a company that promotes clean yoga and sells a clean yoga mat
- She’s ignoring demographics, and focused on psychographics
- At launch, she’s aiming to attract local shoppers, and rank highly locally
- She’s got a URL, logo, and business name that help SEO
- She’s marketing via content that explores how to clean yoga mats
Seems logical to me. This isn’t the ONLY answer of course, but search data can and SHOULD inform any business’s strategies, moving forward.
What do you think? Leave a comment below, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org