Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | January 2, 2019

To Brand or Not to Brand. What is Best for Your Search Rankings?

At Chatmeter, we work with some of the largest brands in the country and we often come across this misconception from many CMOs. We spend millions of dollars developing our brand…and driving brand recognition so that everybody knows who we are. When people are searching for the service we offer…they just search for our brand name….

We were so relieved to finally hear one of our clients dig into their traffic and finally come to this realization. This is from one of the largest retailers in the country.  (who asked to remain unnamed).

One of our clients recently mentioned that, after studying the traffic on their site, “96% of the traffic to our website is a result of non-branded searches online.”  As we dug deeper, we found that throughout most major industries, a storefront will organically be #1 in over 99% of searches if a shopper searches for them by name.  For example, if a loyal customer searches for “Best Buy near me”, then the closest Best Buy will come up #1.  BUT…  as our client mentioned, if the majority of traffic is finding them through NON-branded searches, then how does a marketing department transfer budgets from branded advertising to non-branded organic rankings?

What are consumers actually searching for?

81% of consumers conduct research prior to making a purchase, and 60% of them using the internet to do so. So how then do we as marketers hone in on all that traffic and ensure we are seen? When consumers are doing research, they do not immediately search for a brand name, they go for a broader term. Implementing the appropriate mix of adwords will set you up to be major eye candy online.

Studies show that branded keyword phrases are 5X more likely to convert visitors into leads and 82% of those leads result in a purchase! Those odds are undeniably positive, but there is something very important to keep in mind. The people using your brand name in their search queries are already familiar with your brand and may have even made previous purchases from you. These consumers are the ones you have already won over so you wouldn’t need to spend extra marketing dollars towards capturing them. Resources are being allocated where they aren’t needed leaving a gaping hole of opportunity in the unbranded search market.

Branded searches are known to receive a higher click-through rate (CTR) than unbranded since the consumers entering are much further down the buyers funnel. All the more reason to divest.

There is work to be done elsewhere. Non-branded search consumers aren’t brand loyal yet, so maximum visibility is imperative to adopting them. This is especially key in a broad industry that thrives off of simple keyword searches. In low risk, high variety product markets like shoes, people are not limited to a specific type or brand of shoe and are likely interested in trying new brands and styles. Having the phrase “shoe store” in your Ad word arsenal would absolutely catapult rankings and visibility online.

One of the top shoe store brands in the nation stated “96% of the traffic to our website is a result of non-branded searches online”.

The True Cost of a Branded Search

According to Google Adwords, a brand will typically pay $0.09 for a branded search keyword that yields around 49,500 monthly searches, but they’ll pay around $0.84 for a non branded search keyword that produces around 246,000 monthly searches. Increased searching equals increased ranking, which ultimately equals increased revenue and customer base. The numbers don’t lie! There is value in non branded search, about 5x the value in fact!

Should you start paying for ads?

One sure fire way to ensure you land on page one is to purchase an ad through Google. We all see those pesky listings that sneak in just above the 1st organic listing, but how often do they result in a purchase?

The click through rate (CTR) for paid ads on Google is at 2% while the CTR for the first position in organic listings is 1400% higher (30%). Just think, when was the last time you clicked on an ad when searching online? In fact, only about 13% of consumers actually click on adwords. People are known to defiantly reject those paid-for ads and scroll right down to that first organic listing! Using paid ads to get ahead on organic searches is not working. Brands need to transfer their focus onto organic search rankings.

If you’re not on page 1 of Google search results then you are losing a ton of traffic to your competitors. Consumers are not going to flip through Google’s infinite novel of results to find you, so your only option is to be among the first listings they see. They are seeking you out, whether they know it or not yet, so make sure they can find you!

Find out where you are in rankings by contacting us to schedule a free brand audit; you don’t know what you don’t know, and you can’t afford to not know, you know?