The impact of brand & conversion rates on SEO

  • 1
  • August 18, 2010
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

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.


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.


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.