OK. Let’s talk keywords! Let’s talk keywords in this context:
You run a business, and it’s doing well, especially online.
You’re passionate about it, and have worked to get it to the point it’s at right now.
Your brand is growing. Following, global.
You have vision for online expansion.
So you go forth! On a mission of brand awareness.
On any channel, Social, Email, Paid, Display, the playbook is simple: get your brand out there so everyone is aware of it.
And then there’s SEO…
This is a unique marketing channel in that it’s unknown to non-SEOs.
You’re aware it has something to do with keywords, so you figure “this is to do with people searching for my brand name. The more people know of my brand, the more they will search for it. We’re already on a brand awareness journey, so the mission’s intact. Let’s press on! Brand-galore!”
OK. Let me delve in here, into generic keywords usage, and I’ll touch on search intent.
Firstly, thinking about your brand, is the correct thing to do. I want to state that upfront. The approach businesses take, with brand exposure, is appropriate.
When it comes to SEO, thinking of acquiring traffic with branded keywords is limiting your market share to only people that are aware of your brand.
Focusing only on branded keywords restricts the SEO channel. So much so that when you meet with an SEO consultant, the recommendation is to target generic keywords as a way of attaining traffic growth.
So, let’s get into keywords. Let’s start off with branded terms.
When someone types in a brand term on Google (or any other search engine), what do you think they want?
Whatever they’re seeking, it’s for the specific brand they typed, right?
In other words – whether a product, or service, or something else – they are aware that the brand they’ve typed in has what they seek. And what they seek is from that, and only, that brand.
When, in a person’s search journey, do you think the person uses a brand term?
In order for a person to use a brand term in their search journey, the person has to know of the brand already, right?
Prior to knowing of the brand, there is a whole load of research that’s carried out.
Targeting generic keywords means you make your brand present at the different stages of a person’s search journey.
Now, why does this matter?
It matters because, from a search point of view, if we were to look at search linearly, the brand that one chooses is the brand that is discovered during their search journey.
Here’s an example –
11:FS, in the FinTech space, provide solutions for banks seeking to grow their digital banking service.
Two of their online competitors are Fidor and Finastra.
Now, searching for either of the 3 brands will show the respective brand’s website in the SERPs.
You would expect this as all 3 are optimised for their brand names, right? However, only Fidor and Finastra target generic keywords.
You see, the search for either of the brands suggest the searcher has had a prior touchpoint with the brand so therefore, searches for the specific brand.
Now, what happens when Nigel, another searcher, uses a generic term, that’s relevant to these three brands?
When Nigel searches for ‘digital banking solutions’, the Fidor site is in the SERPs, the Finastra site is in the SERPs, the 11:FS site is not in the SERPs.
Why? Because they do not target this generic term.
Now, put yourself in the mindset of Nigel in this search journey.
He’s seeking a company that can provide him the solutions to build his digital banking services.
He sees Fidor as a result. He explores.
He sees Finastra as a result. He explores.
11:FS does not have visibility with this keyword because they are not optimised for it. As a result, Nigel is unaware of this brand within his search cycle.
You see, folks, targeting generic keywords means you make your brand present when search queries are made using generic keywords.
This, my friends, is brand awareness, with SEO.
This is the power of search, organic search.
This is a channel that continues to generate traffic even if you were to turn your marketing spend off.
Why should growing businesses care about generic keywords?
Because by targeting the right generic keywords, you can expand the reach of your brand in the SERPs, and be visible to your target audience whenever they seek what you have to offer using a search engine.
The conventional digital marketing approach for growing businesses is to focus on brand building.
You can build your brand with SEO.
I’ll take it a step further, and being an SEO guy, I acknowledge, I am slightly biased. But if you have a website, and are using other channels to build your brand, you’re missing a lot of opportunities if the SEO channel is not activated.
Dare I say, as long as you have a website, your marketing is not efficient if SEO is not involved – whether digital, or offline!
To have an ever-increasing visibility in the SERPs is to brand build with SEO.
By targeting generic keywords, you expand the reach of your brand, attaining visibility, being right in front of your target audience.
Isn’t this brand awareness?
You see, targeting generic keywords is the perfect way to build your brand on one of the largest digital real estates in the world – search!
Generic keywords are potential assets to your business. Choosing and selecting the right ones is essential for your brand visibility to increase in the SERPs. It’s essential for your website traffic to grow. It’s essential for your business to have prosperity, both digitally and offline.