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Search Engine Optimization Through Brand Equity and Family Branding

November 12, 2008

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of using strategy throughout the web development processes to achieve greater exposure in search engine results. In most forms of SEO there are specific keywords or keyword phrases which are targeted as destinations for higher exposure.

Throughout the course of a Search Engine Optimization effort, or campaign, the concept of “brand” has numerous forms. The primary “brand” is that of the ultimate object or objects for which the SEO campaign is being done, be it the product for sale, the company selling the product, the person running for office, et cetera. If a single product is the focus for the SEO campaign, then that product may have it’s own branded image which must be marketed accordingly. If the company producing or selling the brand would prefer their company itself be the focus of the SEO campaign, then that company’s branded image must be marketed according to it’s brand.

Inside of the SEO campaign, the term, “brand,” may also be the specific keywords or keyword phrases being targeted. This is actually more a form of branding than being an actual brand, but, in internet marketing, at least one form of Search Engine Optimization exists which uses the Brand Equity and Family Branding concepts as it’s foundation. In order to understand this relationship, and definition of keywords as brands, both brand equity and family branding should be clarified.

Brand Equity can quickly be defined as market recognition and its effects. If two products are essentially identical to the consumer, but one of the products is of a particular brand, how that brand effects the consumer’s decision as to which of the two products to purchase is a measurement of the branded product’s brand equity. For example, if there are two choices of paper to purchase, one is not branded, and the other is branded as “Crane & Co.” paper, Crane & Co.’s objective regarding their brand equity would be that just their name on a product should be enough to sway the outcome of the purchase in Crane & Co.’s favor. (There are of course further levels of branding which Crane & Co. would most likely, and in fact does employ, which may place their products in different subsets of the paper market, but that is somewhat unrelated to our current topic.)

Family Branding can most easily be explained as a product line; even though the products may not all be part of the same “line,” this still gets the concept across. Family Branding takes place when a product is part of a pre-existing brand, from which the hope is that the “new” product will enjoy more immediate market results due to the brand equity of the brand itself. For example, if Crane & Co. where to provide a notepad, a pen, or some other paper related product, then by keeping their name on the product they are using the most common form of family branding. Family branding does not have to use the company, individual, or organization’s brand directly, but may use any existing brand which has enough equity to have a significant impact on sales and how the “new” product is perceived and accepted. An example of this is Nike Air, and the Nike Air Jordan product line. Nike, the shoe company, has an entire product line called the Nike Air Jordans, which eventually became its own brand called, “Jordan.” Now, if Nike wants to push a new product to the same markets they can just add the new product to the Air or Jordan lines, and hopefully enjoy the benefits of their strong brand equity in those lines, their family brands.

What does this all have to do with search engine optimization? In at least one method of SEO, everything. Family Branding in SEO can even take different levels.

One objective of internet marketing is to create a strong brand presence online. The internet allows for very targeted marketing efforts as well as a diverse potential audience. In such market environments brand recognition generally has a strong impact on internet traffic, and ultimately sales, use, votes, or whatever the ultimate goal may be.

When dealing with search engines, of the organic type, brand equity is the name of the game.

Create at least one domain or website which has a strong brand for a specific keyword or keywords. Then, use the brand equity of this domain to point to the domain or website which you wish to promote. In this instance, the term “brand equity” is the search ranking, the site’s authority, for that keyword or keywords. The idea is to have several domains or websites with a strong search engine ranking, authority, or brand equity, from which you can springboard and promote related products, services, individuals, organizations, or whatever fits the trend.

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