The impact of brand & conversion rates on SEO

We’re very lucky here at Branded3 because a good percentage of our retained SEO clients are household brands. The fact we work with non-brands as well gives us a pretty good insight into the impact of “brand” on an SEO campaign and this post will hopefully convince a few people to start investing in brand campaigns again.

There are loads of reasons somebody might start a branding campaign and as long as you correctly track and monitor everything then each one is perfectly valid – as an SEO I’m mainly interested in two things:

  • Increased traffic
  • Increased conversion rate


Across our client base it’s very clear that brands have a much larger conversion rate than non-brands. They have more of the high-converting direct and branded search traffic but they also convert better from non-brand traffic too, purely because customers have heard of them and trust them a bit more. If you can replicate your campaign messages on the site with imagery and appropriate multi-variate testing then the results can be quite impressive.

Conversion rates are correlated somewhat with brand perception and the graphic below sums the theory up nicely. If you replace the words “reputation” and “stock” with “conversion rate” and “sales” then you get the idea.

So the main point of this post is to illustrate the difference that brand, and conversion rates, can make to an online business. Let’s look first at the example of 3 businesses wanting to invest in SEO at a price point of £4000 per month. The three businesses have conversion rates of 1%, 2% and 4%.

As you can see from the chart below, at this price point the 1% conversion rate business will break even on the SEO campaign in month 19, the 2% business in month 14 and the 4% business in month 8. The cumulative net profit difference between the 1% and 4% business after 24 months is nearly £600,000. If this business was to re-invest some of the profits in months 8-18 for example then the difference by month 24 could be even bigger.

We’ve based the chart on a number of assumptions such as average 20% month on month traffic growth and revenue starting at £500 for the 1% converting site, £1000 for the 2% site and £2000 for the 4% site.

Keywords

One of the most exciting things about sites with higher conversion rates is the ability to monetise smaller keywords. If a brand with high conversion rates wants to target a low volume keyword they can probably make the SEO campaign profitable whereas a smaller site with lower conversion rate wouldn’t be able to manage that.

Conclusions

Investing in building your brand and improving conversion rates are perhaps the most important things you can do outside of SEO and PPC. Put them all together and you will be pretty unbeatable.

By Patrick Altoft. at 10:23PM on Wednesday, 18 Aug 2010

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

comments

  • Jonathan

    Like it, even the marketing directer in the emperors new clothes will (possibly) get it.

  • Jonathan

    Posted this Blog Post on http://www.linkedin.com/groups Insurance Marketing Professionals.

  • http://www.itsdigitalmarketing.co.uk GaryRobinson

    An interesting article, Partrick, and thanks for including a link to my post about replicating campaign messages on your site.

    The link between trust and awareness of a brand is very interesting – and impactful on conversation rates, as you’ve said.

    The interesting thing I noted from my test, was how the conversion rate reduced the further we got from the point our TV campaign was running. Into the 3rd month of no TV, the campaign messages actually ‘hurt’ the conversion rates, as familiarity with the imagery and brand decreased.

    So whilst I agree with your assertion that brand, SEO and PPC combined are a winning team, its worth remembering that brand awareness can be fluid and may change over time. Therefore, continuous testing (A/B or multi-variate) is essential to ensure the most optimised conversion rates.

    Enjoyed the article, I’ll be back for more.

  • http://www.artisanmanagement.com Chris

    Interesting graph and certainly brand campaigns are great for boosting CTR% and conversion rates. However, assuming a 20% month on month growth is a bit ambitious ??

  • http://www.marketing2oh.com Dale Stokdyk

    Nice post, and would love to see more info on the impact of branding on not just SEO. Brand awareness and equity can make a *huge* difference, and the more direct competitors, the more important it becomes.

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  • http://www.webdesignhouston.com Houston WebDesign

    Thank you for sharing it.
    Nice posting. Keep updating this.
    Really loved this topic.

  • http://seoptimizacija.com/ Optimizacija Sajta

    Very interesting grah. I didn’t expšect that figures, I must admit.

  • http://www.onlinetrafficschoolguide.com/ John

    Thanks for the analysis report ….Keep on updating

  • http://www.bayoucityweb.com Matt

    Its crazy, especially when starting online, that for SEO reasons your branding is basically keywords until you can afford to have a non-descriptive name that immediately brings to mind a product.

  • http://www.sitepro-seo.com/ Sitepro Search Marketing

    Well done, this one is going into my archive.

  • http://houstonwebdesignpro.com/ web design Dallas

    The interesting thing I noted from my test, was how the conversion rate reduced the further we got from the point our TV campaign was running. Into the 3rd month of no TV, the campaign messages actually ‘hurt’ the conversion rates, as familiarity with the imagery and brand decreased.