Strategy and branding

Strategy and branding

Today, 21 november 2013, was the Digital Marketing in 1 Day Forum in Bussum, The Netherlands, where I watched a presentation by Joris Merks Benjaminsen, a Google House strategist.

Online Strategy

During the symposium I noticed Google Joris conflating strategy and branding. And this makes such good sense!

The object of a long term online strategy must always be branding. A internet driven company should always aim to strengthen its brand. The stronger the brand, the more the public knows a brand, the more the audience identifies a given market with your company, the better your company will be able to drive traffic to your branded website and the easier or cheaper it will be to sell your product or service.

Let’s analyse that.

The question is: how do branding and an Online Strategy connect?

Both we and our competitor have a budget. We spend out budget on marketing to reach our audience paying CPC for search and CPM for display, banners on websites. Both have a branding effect. The more the audience clicks on our ads and sees our offerings the more the audience becomes aware of us. As the audience becomes aware of us they will use our brand name more. The more our brand name is used by the audience the more cost effective our search campaigns will be. Yes our competitor can also bid on our brand name. But Google Adwords will give our ad more prominence for the same CPC because we our website more relevant for a searcher looking for our brand.

This way having the stronger brand gives us an impregnable fortress in search. 

There is more. Conversion is a matter of trust. Someone looking to purchase a product will buy only if he is sure that the webshop he visits will deliver his purchase. If the visitor knows our brand, knows its good reputation, he will be willing to buy our product because the visitor is sure we will give him what he has paid for.

This way having the stronger brand gives us an impregnable fortress in conversion.

Therefore branding should always be the centerpiece of a online strategy. A stronger brand means a larger cash flow. And the larger cash flow means we will be able to outbid the competition. That way our company will win.

International Online Strategy

It works like that in our home market. And it works like that in our export market. Therefore this is a international online strategy.

The difficult thing is how to brand. Branding is about focus. Focus on values, what our company is really about. We will consider this in a next post.

Black Hat SEO destroyed by Google

Black Hats and White Hats

It has been Google’s stated goal to make their index about relevant information for searches. However for years optimization of websites was done with the intent to deceive Google into listing bad websites highly. Driving searches to websites with low usability. SEO professionals were divided into two groups. On one hand the professionals who worked within the limits of Google Webmaster Guidelines. They were called White Hat, because they were the good guys. And on the other hand the rogues who went their own way into gaining as many visitors to the websites they worked for. The latter were called Black Hat. And their techniques were called Black Hat Techniques (BHT). The Black Hatters congegrated on websites like Black Hat World.

Panda and more updates

The Black Hatters have their own argot. They make claims like: “first page in 24 hrs”.

In the past three years Google has made several major updates to their search algoritm. Names of the updates were Panda and Penguin. These updates differed from previous updates and many websites with poor content fell in the Google Index. An example are many price comparison websites. They were not using unique content. Instead they used the e.g. product descriptions of the webshops they were indexing. Price comparison websites fell in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Panda was aimed at Black Hatters using non-unique content and other spammy SEO techniques. But was Google succesful at defeating the Black Hatters. And I say Google WAS succesful.

The proof is in the text of mailings send out by Black Hatters. Read the following sentence lifted out of a Black Hat sales mail:

Black Hat SEO-Quote

Black Hat Quote

The process begins like any successful high PR link campaign with the creation of high quality information, regular blog posts, featured blog posts and quality articles make up this content.

This quote show that Black Hatters have begun using what are in fact White Hat techniques. They have lost their confidence that they can manipulate Google and are trying to create high quality reliable content as a way to reach an audience. That is just what Google wants.

Conclusion

Google has achieved its goal of destroying Black Hat.