Build Your Brand. Forget About Google.

by Jim October 10, 2017

Hey welcome back Rankers! You doing well? Spring is here, finally and well, I was in the garden all day yesterday, it’s lovely. Having a lovely time. I want to talk to you this week a little bit more about brand and I wanted to get in touch on a couple of things that I’m going to be looking at when I present at Pubcon and this is just an example for you to use so that you can get an idea of how tough it is to rank for something or maybe how easy it is to rank for something.

Brand or Backlinks?

First of all, the search I’ve got going here is for school uniforms and you can see here, we’ve got … So the number two results, we’ve got Lowes School Wear and we’ve got PSW and a bunch of others. I’m going to compare the number one result with the number nine result and I’ve gone into SEMrush and incidentally, I was speaking to SEMrush last week and they were saying that they’re integrating Majestic backlink data as well, which will make it pretty awesome for backlinks.

But what I’m looking at here is domain analytics and we’re looking at the backlinks and I’ve popped in here Lowes, I’ve popped in here Made for School and also PSW, which is the number two result for that phrase. What you can see here is that the number one result has only got 112 backlinks whereas the number nine result has over 2,000 backlinks and you know, 233. It’s got over another 200 referring domains above the number one result and it’s still number nine.

brand beats backlinks
Brand beats backlinks

And look at all the IP addresses. Same thing. It should be … that would normally look like a very diverse backlink profile and yet, we’re getting beaten by something that hasn’t even got 20% of the same sort of backlink profile. Why is this happening? Well, let me go and have a look at Screaming Frog and we put this first, Lowes School Wear through Screaming Frog. It sucks and this is the number one result for school uniforms, right?
It really sucks. We’ve got 150 pages with duplicate title and look at some of these pages that are getting … And look at the URL structure. This is the URL structure we’ve got. In Lowes School Wear, we’ve got these horrible long URLs that are completely useless for the user. When the user sees this in mobile, you know, online products, they’re not gonna know whether to click or not because this is going to be … That URL is gonna be chopped off, you’re not gonna be able to see what you’re actually clicking on.
There’s that. There’s the fact that it’s got all these duplicate page titles and these duplicate page titles like redirecting, what the hell is that? You’ve got to have a look at that. I’ll just open that one up and see what we see and this is the page that’s getting indexed and these pages are getting indexed in … I don’t even think they’re 301 and then they get redirected to a horrible URL with a URL parameter. This site is number one!

Rubbish SEO, But Still Number One

So you would say, normally, and looking at this site, the technical SEO is actually rubbish and we have a look at … Let’s have a look. No heading tags. H5s, H5s. All H4s down here, so we’re not using heading tags in the way that they’re intended. We’ve probably got a bunch of duplicate titles. Let me see if I can find an actual … Anyway, so you might be looking at this for a while and going, “Oh my God, well maybe it’s the type of backlinks they’ve got. Maybe it’s the extent of backlinks they’ve got, or maybe it’s something else.”

Well, it is actually something else and it’s basically what we’re talking about at Pubcon, and it is actually brand, which is why it ranks. The reason I know it’s brand is because when I type in ‘school uniforms’ into Google trends and say just show me the last 12 months and just show me results from Australia, then I get school uniforms, related queries, and then we get number three related queries to school uniforms in Australia is Lowes School Uniforms.

We’ve also got Big W there but that wasn’t there this morning when I checked. What was there though was PSW, for sure, they were there. You can see we’ve got Beleza there as well. We can see here that we’ve got … Where did I see Beleza before? There it is, number seven. Haven’t checked these other couple, but there’s our Lowes School Wear and PSW. The two sites … Well, the one site we could say at least, with the most related brand to the search phrase ranks number one and we see this time and time again, regardless of how bad the site is.

Now, SEMrush, their ranking report, ranking factors report, came out earlier this year. It said on page 26, “Brand is just as important as doing your SEO.” I would say building your brand is probably something you want to do from the outset and the title of the paper I’m giving at Pubcon is “Build Your Brand and Forget About Google” because that’s what it amounts to. If you can build a strong brand long term.
You look at Skinnymixers who we’ve talked about before, Skinnymixers, she’s got 140,000 … Probably nearly 150,000 people in a Facebook group, so that’s 140,000 or 150,000 people talking about her all the time and her brand and the recipes that she makes, right? That’s one of the reasons why she’s doing so well because she built this huge community. If you build your network, more people are going to talk about you.

You’re going to get more brand related search, therefore, with more brand related search, you’re going to get a higher click-through rate because people are searching for your brand with a higher click-through rate. We know that is a ranking factor. We’ve seen that before, so that adds to it as well. In addition to that, you’re going to keep coming up in custom search as well if you build your brand because it’s personalised search and people have been to your site before who are familiar with the brand. Therefore, you’re getting more traffic that way as well.

Whatever way you look at it, building the brand is far more important than focusing on things like building backlinks. Now, if you build your brand and you’re still not ranking and you’ve got a pretty strong brand, then probably you’re not doing your technical SEO. Lowes on the other hand, isn’t doing their technical SEO and they are actually ranking number one for school uniforms. Maybe they need to do some work on their places because they’re not coming up in Google My Business, but it’s just another example of why you need to build your brand.
If you’re building a brand … And guess what? If I’m wrong, it doesn’t matter, because guess what? You’ve built your brand, so you can still forget about Google. Building a brand, your conversion rates are going to go through the roof from people coming in from the brand. We regularly see conversion rates of five to ten percent for brand related search phrases or brand related topics. We see a much higher conversion rate and that’s pretty standard across the industry.
Build your brand and forget about Google, and hey, if you’re coming to Vegas for Pubcon next month, come say hi. If you’ve got anything out of this show at all, please share it with your friends and please hit the subscribe button on YouTube and we’ll see you next week. Thanks very much everyone. Bye.

Jim’s been here for a while, you know who he is.

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