Focusing too much on search engine optimization (SEO) instead of branding hurts businesses in the long run.
As we have recently seen with Google’s Panda update, a website’s position in search engines is never utterly secure. While some businesses did not experience a significant change in ranking, others enjoying the first page found themselves swimming deep into distant pages. However, businesses that have created strong brands are not solely relying on product keywords to get found.
Problem with Focusing on SEO Strategies
Relying on search engine optimization (SEO) is a problem small e-commerce businesses face since it does not guarantee long-time success, as search engines are continuously changing their algorithms. It also requires constant tweaking of the website, fighting furiously for high competition keywords and becoming susceptible to forces outside its control. Long-tail keywords are also now becoming in demand as competitors search for ways to continuously increase their traffic.
It can be a mistake for smaller businesses to solely focus on SEO when starting, thinking that this is what they need to be found. Instead, focusing their efforts on branding and customer service can spark a chain of word-of-mouth advertising – which is the best form of advertisement since it is free! As Dale Traxler from The SEO Consultant mentions in his article Build Your Web Brand, that “since it’s more and more difficult to find “new” buyers for your sites, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your website is familiar to your customers because repeat business is a lot more profitable than one-timers.”
Increasing Budget for E-Commerce Store Branding
Focusing efforts more on branding can help the business gain a lasting impression on its current customer base and encourage word of mouth advertising. A loyal customer base does not sway whenever Google, or another search engine, changes its algorithm and will search for the business’s name instead of high competition keywords. The business needs to become the keyword.
Tips for Branding Your Website
Branding online can be done by increasing its advertisement efforts, being highly interactive on social media websites, and creating the ultimate customer service experience. The goal is for potential consumers and present customers to gain a positive mental image of the business, understand what the company represents, and feel confident that the company is sensitive to their needs.
Some tips presented by ReadWriteWeb for branding include looking good, getting noticed, and building trust. While these are excellent tips, businesses should also focus on their unique strengths and build a dialogue with customers. Social websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, can help businesses enter the dialogue with potential customers and customers and make it easier for them to spread the word about the company or its products. The website should have a unique voice and image. Just pasting photos with manufacturer descriptions are no longer the way of the future.
Even though SEO is an important aspect of e-commerce businesses, it should not be focused on as the primary tactic of gaining new customers. By focusing on those within its current reach, its branding efforts can encourage word-of-mouth advertisement to increase its online presence.