A few days removed from its launch, it’s fair to say that Google Instant has created a huge buzz both inside and outside of the search engine marketing industry. And while Instant undoubtedly has an impact on how efficient end user search becomes, it does not appear to have had much impact on the ranking algorithm itself. In other words, those valuable keywords – the ones that drive leads and/or revenue to your partners/clients – should not see a dramatic change in where they were ranking before the launch of Instant.
One of Google’s other recent changes, and one that doesn’t seem to be getting as much attention as Instant, is Brand Stacking.
In case you need a crash course on Brand Stacking, it is essentially a change in Google’s algorithm in which branded search queries display multiple page one listings from the same domain. Historically, a site would be lucky to have 2 or 3 page one results for branded searches. With the implementation of Brand Stacking, that number has been as high six or even eight of the top search results.
As you can see, this has huge search marketing implications:
- Online reputation: Do you work with a brand that is constantly fighting negative reviews on page one of the search results? Brand stacking may end up working to your partner/client’s advantage because the brand’s domain may be able to push those negative reviews below the fold or to the second page.
- Traffic: At Fathom, we make sure to verify that our partner/client sites are ranking in the top spot for branded queries. Why? First, it means that a client’s brand is being protected and is maintaining a visible branded status online. Second, and simply stated: having the top spot drives more traffic. Imagine if your partner/client website had six or eight of the top spots on the first page. Branded traffic to the site would most definitely increase.
- Brand and Domain Awareness: Brand stacking allows the opportunity to take advantage of the “frequency effect.” The more an end user sees the domain on the page, the more likely it is that he or she will be able to recall the domain in the future without having to use a serch engine. The benefit here? Not only are you going to have an increase in direct traffic, but the partner’s brand presence will be stronger, which can result in more leads, sales, conversions, etc.
So, now that we’ve covered some of the potential benefits of Brand Stacking, how exactly can we help our partners/clients take full advantage of the opportunity?
- Think links!: Work on obtaining links to the homepage AND important internal pages. It helps establish credibility. More credible domains are more likely to experience the benefits of Brand Stacking.
- Think link quality: It goes without saying that link quantity isn’t everything. Get links from relevant sources to the homepage and your important internal pages.
- Think link variety: Getting links from a variety of quality, relevant sites is better than getting a bunch of links from just one quality domain.
- Title Tags – Think about adding the brand name to the end of the title tag on all your site pages. The repetition establishes the brand name from the perspective of the engines.
- Content Opportunities: Incorporate the brand into other onsite elements such as footers, headers, and regular copy blocks. This can also influence search permuations that include a brand name and keywords.
- Content is king: Keep in mind that the more content and pages the engines have to index, the more chance that site will have of seeing Brand Stacking results. In other words, dont’ be shy to create additional branding pages (and pages that will support strategic keywords, for that matter).
A lot can change very quickly in this industry, and one the best services search marketers can provide is guidance that enables our partners/clients to navigate the changing waters. And while some of these changes can and have caused headaches, Google Brand Stacking is most definitely a change that shows lots of potential for search engine marketers.