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How Does Brand Correspond With Google Ranking?

By Meagan Simmons on March, 17 2016
Meagan Simmons

Meagan comes to Ren Scott Creative from the scorching hot desert of Arizona, but it's her cool demeanor and get-it-done attitude that keeps it all moving forward in the digital department. Speaking of moving, you may find her at your local gym teaching Zumba when she's not rockin' "the Google."

Many companies wonder whether a big-name brand gets an additional boost from Google search simply for having household-name status. In other words, does the name recognition or positive perception of a brand mean that it will feature prominently on search-engine result pages (SERPs)? Yes and no.

  • Does branding matter to Google?
  • #1 – Links
  • #2 – Social signals
  • #3 – Usage & user data
  • #4 – Click-through rates

Does branding matter to Google?

It’s a simple question that marketers often want to know: will work that is done to improve the branding of the company also help it appear higher in search rankings?

Well, no – it is not actually a ranking factor (i.e., part of Google’s algorithm to determine prominence in its results). However, it does have a major impact on search engine optimization, or SEO, efforts.

A Google ranking is not based on brand in the sense that brands are NOT specifically and directly given added google.jpgweight. For an example of this, log out of Google and search for soup. Note that Campbell’s does not come up in the first page of results – because that’s not what people want when they look up that word. They want soup recipes, as the results indicate.

Just to get a sense of the actual top ranking factors, the top three in 2015 (per Moz) were “domain level link features,” “page-level link features,” and “page-level keyword and content-based features.” We are talking about granular analysis of user activity.

Although brand is obviously not on that list, brand strength does have a significant correlation with high Google ranking. Here are several areas in which brand is influential:


#1 – Links

First of all, people have often wanted to manipulate links to improve SEO. However, those tactics no longer work, notes Rand Fishkin of Moz. “When we talk about the links that Google wants to measure, wants to count today, those are organic, editorially earned links,” he says. “They're not manipulative.” Any company can understand that and focus on the right kind of link development, but any outside links to your site will be better received by those who see them if your brand is strong – resulting in more traffic to you and a better rank.


#2 – Social signals

social-sharing.jpgThe same basic effect occurs with social sharing. Of course any company can focus on getting more activity on social media. However, people will be more likely to respond to that sharing and visit your site if they already know and trust your brand.


#3 – Usage & user data

Google actually now has a patent for its capabilities to process general usage and user data, turning that information into better search results. Whether a user is getting to WahWahPedals.com via Facebook, Google, email, or directly typing in the URL, those users are taken into account to improve the algorithm. A big brand typically has diverse sources driving people to its site.


#4 – Click-through rates

The same basic connection between branding and SEO success is seen on the Google SERPs themselves, in terms of the click-through rate to your site. People will click a Google search link – just as they do on outside sites, social, or anywhere else – in part based on recognition, explains Fishkin. “Guess what they're clicking on?” he says. “The one they have a positive association with already.”


The answer: Multi-Layered Marketing

Although brand is not a direct ranking factor, it is critical to SEO, as demonstrated above. That reality points to the importance of diversifying your marketing efforts through an integrated, comprehensive approach.

At Ren Scott Creative, our multi-layered marketing accelerates the drive to online decision making. 

Get better conversions today.

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