When people think of your brand, what kind of image do they have? Or can your brand ever cross the mind of anyone at all? How is your brand distinct from your competitors?
These questions, and more, require definite answers from brand owners.
Brand positioning is the distinctiveness of a brand.
No brand attains popularity just by putting together a great product or providing excellent service. That is important, but one thing that connects the biggest brands in the world is that they all have a compelling brand identity.
Apple. Microsoft. Coca Cola. Google. Facebook. Disney. Toyota. McDonald’s. Nike. Et cetera.
Why is Brand Positioning Even Important?
1. It proves your value
Many businesses pride themselves on how cheap their products or services are. But over time, we have learned that price is not a sustainable value point.
People would gladly pay more if you have a compelling brand identity and provide value that matches the price of your product.
For instance, Apple devices are not the cheapest in the market but think of the thrill and excitement that comes with the announcement of a new iPhone model.
That’s the power of effective branding. Brand positioning answers the question of ‘what’s so special about this company?’
2. Market differentiation
Unless your product or service is truly disruptive, there are other companies doing what you do. Some have been in the market years before you joined. How do you beat them?
Even if your offering is entirely unique, it wouldn’t be long until competitors join you. Google isn’t the world’s first search engine but is now the biggest.
With a strong brand positioning strategy, you can make the public understand, not only how you differ from, but also how you are better than your competitors.
In essence, why should I, as a customer, choose you instead of another?
3. It targets your audience
I have seen some awful marketing copies and ads.
They sound like someone shouting randomly in a crowd, to gain everyone’s attention. With a correct brand positioning strategy, however, you draw your own crowd to yourself and address them.
It helps you figure out the right audience and tailor your content to them for maximum effectiveness.
4. It creates an emotional connection with the consumer
A whopping 93% of online activities begin with a search engine, of which market Google has a 90.1% share.
There are several search engines, some even almost as powerful as Google, but the average person does not think of others when they want to run a search.
That’s what a good brand positioning can do for you. It helps you build trust with consumers which makes them keep coming back to you for more.
Brand Positioning and SEO
All that said; when is the right time to develop a strategy for brand positioning? RIGHT NOW. Why? Brand positioning cuts across the entire brand.
The kind of image you want for your brand would inform your strategy for sales and marketing, communications, social media, customer support, delivery, logistics and more.
Each decision of a company reflects its identity, whether the management has taken time to craft one or is just going with the flow. You know which is better.
So, how do you improve your brand positioning with SEO?
In the not-so-distant past, many people (even experts) have tried to differentiate branding from search engine optimization.
That is a distinction I consider unnecessary because either can reinforce the other.
With the rise of terms such as ‘omnichannel marketing,’ and ‘unified communications,’ many experts now realize that marketing today requires a holistic approach for it to be successful.
The main difference between SEO and branding is that one is quantitatively measurable while the other is not.
Search Engine Optimisation has to do with how search engines (particularly Google) rank websites for searches. You can easily figure out the effectiveness of your SEO by looking at certain metrics. But effective branding, on the other hand, isn’t so easy to determine.
Therefore, I discuss here four main points where you can use measurable tactics to improve customers’ awareness of your brand.
1. Keyword Optimization
Part of your strategy should be that your customers should be able to associate certain keywords with your brand.
That’s why brands have taglines. ‘Just do it?’ Nike!
Consider every post you put up as an avenue to reinforce your brand in the minds of the readers, and if you realize how powerful words can be, you would understand why keyword optimization is important.
It means infusing certain words and phrases in your headlines, taglines, and content body to drive traffic.
Now, be careful with overuse, and that can get you sanctioned by Google. Instead, place the words and phrases as organically as possible within the text.
The most difficult part of keyword optimization is keyword research, that is, finding relevant keywords.
Normally, you would want to use the most popular keywords. So the first thing is to find out what customers in your niche are searching.
A simple tool such as Google Trends can help you with this. Sometimes though, it might be more beneficial to use less competitive keywords. Try to maintain a balance, especially if you are running a new brand.
For more advanced keyword research, other tools you can use include Moz Keyword Explorer, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, Google Keyword Planner, Keywordtool.io, etc.
In the tech blog niche, the big brands include TechCrunch, Mashable, Fast Company, Wired, Android Authority, among others.
One feature you would notice is that other smaller blogs always reference them in their posts.
These companies have authority in that niche and it is not surprising to find that they get several organic backlinks. And yes, backlinks are important for driving traffic.
Backlinks are even one of Google’s top ranking factors. Backlinks are validation from other sites and the more you’ve got, the better for your brand.
However, the algorithm mostly benefits experienced companies that already have a huge base.
How do you then get backlinks as a small company? One simple step is to write guest articles for other websites and blogs and include a link to a relevant post on your own site.
Many popular platforms would allow this, though some don’t.
Guest articles are not just for building links, they help you build credibility and a solid reputation as an expert in your niche.
Another way to get backlinks is to post regularly on social media. This does not just mean dropping a link and miraculously expecting engagements.
It means posting helpful quotes, taking part in discussions, answering questions, and so on. Then, you can include links to your site as a resource to find more information on a subject.
However, note that you should always have quality content on your website/blog. Even if you acquire backlinks and your posts aren’t helpful engagements would drop and that would adversely affect your ranking.
3. Local SEO
Local SEO has to do with geo-targeting your audience.
Think about this: 46% of Google searches have local intent.
Therefore, there is a lot your brand stands to gain from targeting the audience in your specific location(s).
Small brands particularly need to build solid local credibility before expanding to other areas.
Local SEO enables customers to find you more easily.
When people enter an ‘… around me’ search into Google, they are more likely to check out those three options that appear at the top.
To achieve the same, you must enter your accurate business details on Google MyBusiness, plus opening hours, contact details, pictures, and other relevant information.
You should likewise update your business information on Google Maps.
Also, find out the popular online directories and listings for your location and niche and enter your details, including backlinks to your websites.
When using local listings and Google MyBusiness, try to get customers to drop a review of your product or service. Multiple positive reviews and five-star rating prove the excellence of your site.
You may also pay local bloggers in your area to try out your product or service and publish reviews online.
Likewise, when crafting content, use keywords with local intent in mind. That means including your city name in keywords and meta-tags.
All these help you attract the local audience to your site.
4. Visual SEO
Consider the following statistics:
- Social media posts with visuals deliver 180 percent greater engagement.
- Articles containing images are viewed 94 percent more than those without.
- Blogs that integrate video attract 300 percent more inbound links.
Visual communication is an effective strategy because our brain absorbs visual content faster than it does written ones.
Besides, as the statistics above show, they help to improve traffic on your site.
Google is the world’s most popular search engine. And the second is YouTube. Google owns YouTube. In essence, your video performance affects your rankings and therefore brand awareness.
Taking advantage of this means making video presentations that center on your brand identity. Whatever form your video takes, always make sure it projects the brand and tells its story.
Take note that YouTube videos also appear in regular Google searches. Therefore, when posting videos, be sure to include keywords in the title and description.
Include relevant tags and hashtags. These ensure higher rankings by Google, and likewise, better visibility by YouTube users.
Also, embed YouTube videos on your website/blog posts rather than as separate uploads. When embedded, the views count on YouTube and boost your ranking.
Images are also important in visual SEO, particularly infographics. However, infographic or not, when you use an image, make sure that the alt tag has a relevant keyword.
Brand positioning is no easy deal, and that’s why it’s important to begin early enough.
When you want to implement these SEO strategies, ask yourself important questions about how you want your customers to perceive your brand.
Use the following tips:
- Determine your audience and target them.
- Establish your selling point. And note that cheapness is not a viable selling point in the long run.
- Craft a story around your identity as a business highlighting customers’ interactions with your brand.
- Develop a strategy tailored to your audience and needs.