Lorie Weiman wrote a nice post recently for Search Engine Land where she offers some tips on using search engine marketing for branding. As she points out in her post, branding is not something you think of when you consider search.

Mostly it’s used to drive traffic and conversion. However, she makes some excellent points on how you can use search for product branding. This post is based on Lorie’s and I added some tips. And, by the way, EVERYTHING you do as a business has an impact on your brand reputation and perception. But back to search engine marketing and Lorie’s post.
Marketers use search to target very specific key words which are directly related to their products, but what about those words which are indirectly related? Think about what people are doing when they might be using your product and consider jumping on those keywords they might be searching for. Is your product food related? Have you thought of bidding on words which may not seem obvious, but are cooking related?

Adjectives and emotions

Branding can also be about grabbing those keywords which you think emphasize unique traits of your brand. Think about all those marvelous adjectives you use in your ad copy and then think about how much value they may have for search. Make a list of those potential words then see who (if anyone) is using them. From “stainless” to “remarkable shine” there are some golden opportunities out there.

And why not think about the emotions your brand stands for?

Video content on your site isn’t going to do much promotion if people can’t find it. You can promote your videos through YouTube sponsored search and via Facebook advertising.

However, depending on the content, you might also consider including summaries of the videos. By itself, the video has no real search value — to provide that, you need to include a keyword rich text summary of about 300 words or so.

Respect the power of your meta tags too. Meta tags are powerful for organic search and can be used for branding as well. Often the descriptions you see in organic search results are pulled from the meta tags and with a little creativity you can leverage them for branding.

And of course, own that brand! As Lorie points out, you need to own those brand names, slogans, product names and even the typos too. She also suggests including brand phrases – keywords that contain your brand.

The landing page consistency must

Make sure your landing pages are consistent too. It’s something I often emphasize in conversion marketing in general. If you are driving traffic based on a search for “never iron slacks” then don’t send them to a landing page where the primary message is about saving on shoes. OK, that was an easy example but don’t forget that many brands still use their homepage as landing page. Deliver what the person searched for and then offer them some real value that makes them feel good you haven’t wasted their time. Make sure your message is consistent across all channels including search. Consistency is crucial in both brand perception and conversion.

So, try to strive towards a natural and user-friendly flow from call-to-action to landing page and beyond. Obviously you also can use your landing page for branding goals. Don’t let the natural impulse to put too much on one page seduce you though. Keep it relevant and don’t forget your primary goal is conversion.

But you may not be trying to close that sale right there and then. Perhaps you want to build that branding message and provide resources to visitors which are related to your product and add value to their day.

There’s nothing wrong with that and if you do offer them real value, they’ll be back when they are ready to buy and in the meantime will hopefully share their new find with friends.