Branding Experts Clash with SEO

One of the most common issues we face with clients is the mental disconnect between branding and best practices for on-page optimization. Your branding expert will typically come from a traditional marketing background, where branding for print, radio, and television was standard. In those marketing mediums, audiences everywhere are exposed to the terms and phrases you create to express your brand. With enough repetition, the public becomes comfortable with newly branded terms and taglines. Some of these creative new terms are even adopted in common language. That’s when a company really concretes itself within a culture and takes a place of accepted prominence.

Marketing online is a completely different beast. The internet is not like television. Everyone is not exposed to the exact same commercial advertisements. Each person is visiting a variety of websites according to their own choosing, preference, and ability to search.

If you or someone within your marketing division has yet to accept this truth, let’s waste no more time. YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO MARKET YOURSELF FOR SEARCH in order to compete with other companies online. Unless your visitor knows exactly where to go to find what they want, they will use a search engine to find the best options for the information they want. Count on it. The question remains: what are you doing to be found during their searches on Google, Yahoo!, Ask, and MSN Live Search?

This issue comes up when a client insists that someone on the executive level absolutely refuses to be identified with certain terms on the company website. It’s the traditional marketer within each client that says we want to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, or we’re too specialized to lower ourselves to the level of that commonplace term.

Get over it. Seriously. Take your preferences and set them aside. Let’s talk results. For the Web, you need to reach people via search. To reach people via search, you need pages of your site to rank well for popularly searched terms. It’s all about the language of the people. If you don’t use it, someone else will, and they will be the ones to reap the rewards offered by search.

Something like 8-10% of marketing budgets are being spent on search marketing. That number is only on the way up. It is THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO REACH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE ONLINE. Period.

In the next post, we’ll give an example of a company refusing to optimize for popular search terms.