New SEO Feature Alert: Google Branded Search Results - Michaels Wilder

New SEO Feature Alert: Google Branded Search Results

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If you go online to search for a specific brand, like Converse or Applebee’s, you’ll notice that Google will return with a long list of results that include not only the brand you actually searched for, but also brands and companies that are related to it. So, if you search Converse, for example, you’ll also see results for Foot Locker and DSW since they often carry that brand.

Similarly, people often find local businesses by performing a branded search for related products or services. But here’s the catch: As a local business owner, it was never possible to tell if someone found your restaurant by performing a branded search for another business. So, if you were, for example, the owner of “Tacos Unlimited,” you’d be left wondering if someone only found you online by Googling “Taco Bell.”

That is, until now.

Google is introducing a new “Branded Search” metric for Google My Business (GMB) owners. With this data, you’ll learn more about how your customers are finding you online, and that can be a huge game-changer when it comes to improving your SEO strategy.

New Data-Points

With this update to search result insights, businesses can now see the percentage of visitors who were led to their site by branded searches. To view this data, simply log in to your GMB account and navigate to the “Insights” section. Here, you see a pie chart with three important data points: Direct, Discovery, and Branded.

  1. Direct: This refers to customers who find your listing by searching for your business name or address directly.
  2. Discover: The percentage of customers who find your listing by searching a category, product, or service show up here.
  3. Branded: Now, you can see the percentage of customers who find your listing after searching for a competitor or other “brand” related to your business.

Note that this option is currently being rolled out only to verified GMB listings, so if you don’t see it yet, either you don’t have the option or not enough traffic is coming from branded searches.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Branded Search Metrics

You may be asking, “So what? How does this help me with my business?”

Anyone who knows anything about SEO understands it’s more than just ranking on page one for your business name, but, as a local business, you need to know exactly how your customers are finding your website. This data is what allows you to make informed and purposeful decisions about your SEO strategy. These strategic decisions are about more than just having a lot of data. It’s about having the right data.

How to Translate Your Search Insight Data

Obviously, you want customers to find you any way they can, not just through direct searches for your own business name (although that’s definitely important as well). This new metric will show you all the ways your customers are finding you online—even when they aren’t initially searching with your specific business in mind. That information, combined with other search insights, can bring you the clarity you need to tweak your SEO strategy.

Using this data to find out how your customers are discovering your business, you can target specific branded search terms. Not only that, but you can also compare your branded search percentage with your other search metrics. For example, if more people are finding you through branded search than through discovery, you know that you’ll need to work on your category, product, or service ranking. And, if your direct or discovery numbers are much lower, that may indicate a larger SEO issue like poor reviews.

What Do I Do Now?

Local listings management takes patience, expertise, and an ability to follow through with the results. The more data you have to work with, the better. The addition of the Branded Search feature to GMB insights means you now have the data to find out where your customers are coming from and how your strategy adjustments are making an impact.

However, if this kind of fine-tuning and data gathering feels out of your scope, you’re not alone. We’ve been doing local listings management since Yellow Pages was the new black. It’s rooted deeply in our company, and we bring that experience to each and every client we work with.

See for yourself how Michaels Wilder can take your local listing management to the next level.


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