The one keyword that most SEO campaigns never focus on is your brand name. Why would you care about SEO for your brand name if you already rank number one?
The problem with ignoring the brand keyword is that quite often we see that clients are either not making the most of their brand search traffic or are spending way too much on PPC for that keyword. There is always a lot that can be done to improve the efficiency of your brand keyword via SEO and PPC.
Let’s start by looking at some data for August 2012. The chart below shows a few of our clients chosen at random from a “big clients” list and a “small clients list”. You can straight away see that not all clients get the same click through rate with some large brands varying from 64% to 21% which is a huge difference. We have some clients with half the search traffic as others and yet they are getting the same number of search clicks.
Obviously there are a lot of factors that can vary CTR such as:
- PPC activity
- Competitor PPC activity
- Quality of title, snippet & sitelinks
- News/images/Google Places & other Universal Search features
- Negative stories on the page
- Discounts from voucher sites
We did a comparison to see if the figures were changing and noticed that smaller brands are getting more clicks in the last 30 days than in June perhaps due to the new domain clustering algorithms that Google is using. The sample size is too small to draw any conclusions for this so I won’t go into too much detail here.
The data above was collected via Google Webmaster Tools (Traffic > Search Queries) and then filtering to include only web queries from the UK.
One of the main problems we see is that clients are not using PPC effectively to maximise the overall SEO & PPC performance of the brand keyword. You should only be bidding on your brand keyword if there are competitors also targeting it – there is no point being the only site targeting your brand keyword via PPC.
If you are using PPC to fight against competitors make sure this isn’t reported in your non-brand cost per sale figures as this is the easiest way to make a PPC campaign look like it’s profitable. Also make sure you are doing everything you can to improve your CTR and quality score on PPC so that other brands will struggle to compete.
Once the PPC strategy is ironed out make sure that you have a clean set of search results lower down the page. If there is a voucher site ranking in 4th for your brand name then users will click to that site and you will end up giving them a discount and perhaps paying an affiliate commission too.
Also look at any negative results – reputation management is easier than ever thanks to the authority of social sites and the domain clustering algorithm Google is testing so make sure there are no negative results when you search.
Finally do some testing with your title tags, meta description and sitelinks to see what users want to see when they search for your name. Sitelinks might be a great way to showcase your categories but perhaps adding one with a special offers or “sale” page would get better CTR.
Chances are that your brand is by far the most lucrative keyword so have a look at your Click Through Rate and see if you can improve it by a few percentage points by looking at how the results are displayed and your PPC strategy.