Why Google plays second fiddle to great branding

I want to write about a couple of things I’ll be presenting at Pubcon; something that shows how tough, or maybe how easy, it can be to rank for something. 

I did a search for school uniforms and decided to compare the first and ninth results. The number one site, Lowes, has only 112 backlinks while Made for School, at number nine, has around 2,000. It’s also got over 200 more referring domains than the number one site. I took a look at Lowes through Screaming Frog and their SEO sucks, frankly. Horrible long URLs that are useless for the user. Look at this in mobile and you’ve got no idea what you’re clicking on.

Normally, with SEO that rubbish, you’d think they’d be punished in the rankings, but there’s something else going on here. And that’s branding. I know it’s branding because when I do a search for school uniforms, one of the top searches is for Lowes school uniforms. People are searching for their name as a search term, and that’s great branding.

According to the latest SEMrush ranking report, brand is as important as SEO. Build a strong brand and you’re going to get more brand-related searches plus a higher click-through rate. We know brand is a ranking factor. Also, you’re going to come up more often in custom searches.

Branding is far more important than details like focusing on backlinks. If you’ve already got a pretty strong brand and you’re still not ranking, that’s the time to look into your SEO details. But before you do anything else, work on building your brand. Your conversion rates will go through the roof, and you can forget about Google.

This article was originally published on stewartmedia.com.au

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