We all know brand marketing is a big influence on why a person buys your product over a competitor. Although it is not an official ranking signal (see MOZ’s Whiteboard Friday, “Is Branding a Ranking Factor?” and the article, “The Brand Halo Effect: Does Brand Awareness Impact Organic Search Rankings?”), a strong brand can benefit your click-through-rate (CTR) on Google for branded and non-branded terms, as well as improve your overall marketing campaigns.
Since there is no brand awareness metric, it’s difficult to measure brand awareness with online tools; however, there are a number of Google and non-Google tools to help you measure brand awareness.
1. Google Keyword Planner
If you do not want to track brand keywords in a paid SEO tool, enter your keywords in Google’s Keyword Planner to see changes in monthly historic search volume.
Enter your branded keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner and see historical monthly searches (up to one year?). Export the monthly searches and continue to monitor monthly searches for these keywords.
2. Google Search Console
Since Google introduced “Not Provided” keywords in 2011, limiting the number of Google searches you can view that drive traffic to our websites, you can only see around 15% of organic keywords that drive to your website in Google Search Console. Nonetheless, you can still view a small percentage of impression and click data from Google searches.
Tip: Consolidate all the versions of your website–WWW, non-WWW, HTTP, HTTPS–into a set in Google Search Console to see keyword data for your website.
Compare impressions month-over-month: Are impressions increasing or decreasing for branded searches?
Archive your click data each month since Google Search Console data is only available for the past 90 days. (Some enterprise SEO tools do this automatically.)
3. Google Alerts
Visit www.google.com/alerts and sign up for daily or weekly email alerts on keywords for all your brands, products and leadership team.
Get insights on popularity of your brand name(s), products and executive team by entering them into Google Trends.
What is”Interest Over Time”?
“Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. Likewise, a score of 0 means the term was less than 1% as popular as the peak.”
5. Open Site Explorer (MOZ)/Ahrefs/SEM Rush
Have your SEO agency monitor your inbound links (other websites directing visitors to your website) profile for new links.
Introduce a new product or service? You will see an increase in inbound links from editorial websites and bloggers linking to your website.
The enterprise SEO platform, BrightEdge, understands the keywords that drive organic traffic to your site. Start tracking your product, solution, and brand keywords in BrightEdge to view monthly keyword and search volume fluctuations.
Tip: Enter your website into BrightEdge’s Data Cube tool to see a snapshot of your keyword rankings.
Don’t rank well for branded keywords? Read our blog post on Barnacle SEO and rank better for branded and highly competitive keywords.
Social Media Monitoring Tools
Measure how your customer engages with your brand by monitoring for mentions on their favorite social platforms. Since most social platforms are “search engines,” you can enter branded keywords into the search bar to view all your mentions. If you get a lot of mentions, there are free and paid platforms to organize and analyze your mentions:
Set up a social feed of real-time tweets or public Facebook posts that mention your brand keywords with free social monitoring tools such as TweetDeck or HootSuite.
If you notice a limited number of online mentions, the above tools will satisfy your need; however, there are many free social monitoring tools.
If you can’t keep up with your online mentions, hire a social media team to monitor, analyze and engage with people mentioning your brand online.
Share of Voice in paid search is the closest metric to “Brand Awareness” since it represents online visibility of your ads compared to your competitors. In addition to generating more brand awareness, paid search (and any types of paid media) creates brand awareness for your product or website.
Want more brand visibility? Bid on your branded keywords. If a competitor is bidding on your branded keywords or if you are in a category with low competition and the keyword has a low cost-per-click (CPC): Go for it.
7. Take Screenshots of Page 1 for Branded Searches
Screenshot your page 1 results for two or three branded searches each week and monitor any changes in Google’s search listings or Knowledge Graph. (There are dozens of screenshot browser plugins to speed up this task and grab the ENTIRE search result listing.)
Recently release a product? You will likely have media coverage on page one of your brand keywords. If you have a strong brand, you could even earn the news rich snippet.
8. Direct Traffic
Direct traffic is “when a person enters your website into their browser’s search bar.” There are other types of direct traffic but this is how it usually occurs in Google Analytics. This type of channel is an excellent indicator of awareness since your brand is top-of-mind when a person enters your URL in a search bar (compared to just entering a search term)–hope you chose a URL that is easy to remember!
9. Social Analytics
Start reporting on engagement metrics for your social properties–Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, ect–to see how your social and other campaigns are performing, thereby increasing your overall online visibility.
You are paying them to increase the reach of your company announcements and product releases. Ask them to generate monthly reports of your mentions – online and offline – using their PR software.
11. Ask Your Customers!
It’s important for user experience professionals and product managers to get feedback on their product, service, or website. One of the fastest methods for receiving feedback is to add a live chat widget or survey pop-up on your website asking visitors to give their opinion of your brand or website.
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