The broader power of search

Search engine optimization (SEO) is often thought of as having a singular purpose – driving traffic to a Web site – but in the modern...

Search engine optimization (SEO) is often thought of as having a singular purpose – driving traffic to a Web site – but in the modern communications landscape, SEO goes far beyond traffic building.

Enquiro, a research firm commissioned by Google to study the brand effect of search, produced a report that shows just how influential search can be. Also, consider a Nielsen study released in April 2009 on how trustworthy various forms of advertising or marketing were. "Recommendations from people known" and "consumer opinions posted online" ranked as No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. No. 4 was "editorial content posted online.” Ouch.

It turns out that sometimes the best search results for a brand might not be that brand's Web site at all. And even if a brand Web site is ranking well, having lots of other touchpoints out there doesn’t hurt, and can help you defend the valuable first-page results against off-message content. Ensuring that your brand is well-placed in the search ecosystem is mission critical. The goal is for your brand to be easily discoverable, whether that is through your Web site, positive press, blog, or social media content.

Andy Getsey, cofounder, Atomic PR

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