What is your brand? Being able to synthesize not only what your company offers but what your company is about can have a significant impact on your customer base, sales, and online reputation.
A strong brand strategy can work to make one-time customers regulars. And for many companies, this starts with your product page. Online, potential customers often find your company’s website because your product is relevant to their search query (don’t worry, we’ll get into all that). Thus, your product pages act as your first impression to new customers.
Here, we’ll talk about how to develop an effective brand strategy, as well as how to optimize your products’ presence online, so that potential customers who find your products online will become regulars.
What is a brand?
A brand is more than your company’s name or logo – it encompasses the identity of your company, and helps customers identify a business, product, or service. How you define your company’s brand has a significant impact on audience, customer base, reputation, and overall commercial success.
Your brand is parallel to your reputation. It is the amalgamation of the image, idea, and identity that you want to convey about your products and company, as created by you.
What is brand strategy?
Brand strategy is a plan to define your brand identity and communicate that identity to your target audience. Establishing your brand strategy is vital, as it allows you to build recognition with your audience, and helps you build a foundation for other major decisions in your overall marketing and SEO strategy, such as identifying your target audience, brainstorming content and keywords, and carving out your company’s niche.
An effective brand strategy takes into consideration the different components that make up your company’s brand – personality, voice, mission, target audience, what you give your customers, etc. – and helps you set tangible short- and long-term goals to establish your brand, reach potential customers, and help your brand stand out from the competition.
How Brand Strategy Works Online
If you incorporate SEO and online elements into your brand strategy, you can increase the visibility of your company for keywords and search queries that are relevant to your business and offerings. Instead of people finding your business directly – though hopefully they do when they search for your company name – people will often find your business because what you offer is relevant to their search.
When developing the online aspects of your brand strategy, it’s important to consider:
- Visibility: or, where your website ranks in search results, is not only a major goal of online brand strategy, but can also be a valuable measure of success. If you don’t rank at least on the first page of search results, it is unlikely that you will receive much organic traffic, since at least 75% of users never go past the first page.
- Time: online, you often only have a moment to catch someone’s attention, so take full advantage. Make sure your page titles, product descriptions, and any other web presence you have is dynamic, descriptive, and gives users a clear idea of what you do and who you are.
- Setting yourself apart: it’s easy to blend in online. When developing your online brand strategy, you must prioritize not only presenting your brand well, but setting your brand apart from your competitors. Look at your competitors’ online presence, and what ranks for the keywords you want to rank for to help you determine what will make your business stand out.
- Direct access to customers: this can be one of your greatest assets or weakest points, depending on how you navigate customer communication online. Positive interactions with brands online lead to higher sales and greater customer support, as well as establishing your brand as trustworthy. Whether in reviews, on social media, or through customer service communication, remember that how you interact with customers will have a significant impact on your brand’s online reputation.
How Your Brand Affects Your Products (and Vice Versa)
An effective product SEO strategy runs parallel to an effective brand strategy. Identifying what sets your products apart from competitors and communicating that effectively to both new and return customers is key to expanding your customer base and keeping current customers.
Often, when people find your business online, it’s because they were looking for something your business offers, as opposed to your business directly. Your product SEO works in tandem with your brand strategy – product SEO can bring customers in, and your brand strategy can determine whether or not they stick with your company, or if that initial click leads to a purchase.
Product SEO: How to Improve How Your Products Perform Online
While prominence in search results is vital for receiving organic traffic to your website, there is little value in visitors who immediately click away or do not purchase your products. Product pages that are well-optimized can not only drive more traffic to your website, but can also convert users into customers.
Here, we’ll dive into some of the basics of presenting your products in the best way possible to not only catch people’s attention, but to keep them around.
Developing a keyword strategy is vital for optimizing your product pages. The keywords you decide to target will impact your titles, descriptions, and URLs, as well as other on-site content, as well as what queries your products rank for in search results. Conducting keyword research is foundational to an effective SEO strategy, though it looks a bit different when doing so for product pages.
When conducting keyword research and developing your keyword strategy for products, the first question you should ask yourself is: what will send users to your product page?
In order to have your products show up in search results, you will need to consider the queries that potential customers use to find your product. These queries are the searches and questions that consumers put into Google to find what they are looking for.
To do this, think like a customer. Brainstorm the search terms and questions that would bring a real person to your website. If you were looking for new running shoes, what would you search? Perhaps “cast iron pan,” which would show you results like this:
But customers on the lookout for new running shoes may also enter queries such as “best cast iron pan” or “best value cast iron.” These queries may show different results:
Considering several different queries that could bring customers to your page will not only allow you to reach a wider audience, but will give you a better chance of ranking for keywords that are less competitive. While “running shoes for men” is a high volume, difficult keyword to rank for, more specific queries may be a bit less competitive, helping you achieve a more prominent ranking in results.
Once you have determined the queries that could lead users to your page, ask yourself: what will convert these users into customers? Or – will customers who found our product through this search want to buy it?
Showing up in results, while a significant goal of keyword strategy, is only part of it. If your product struggles to stand out against the competition, or will not help users with their problem, it is unlikely that they will become a customer, even if they do click on your product page. Make sure that you are targeting keywords and queries that you truly believe you will be able to help your customers with. It doesn’t matter how many people visit your page if they leave without exploring the rest of your site, or without purchasing your product.
Optimize Product Pages
Once you have conducted your initial keyword research and developed your strategy – I say initial because keyword research should be an ongoing process – it’s time to optimize your product pages.
First things first: like any page on your website, product pages should follow SEO best practices. Make sure to utilize titles, meta descriptions, custom URLs, and alt text on images. Avoid keyword stuffing or other practices that may actually penalize your site. Additionally, ensure the load time on your product pages is quick – load time is one of the most important factors in bounce rate, and a slow page can deter users.
Common product page features:
- Product title: make sure your product title is clear, descriptive, and simple. While it is beneficial to target your keyword with your product title, avoid keyword stuffing or titles that are too convoluted.
- URL: similarly to the title, make sure your product URLs are simple, clear, and include keywords when relevant.
- Product description: as with all the content you post, you want your product descriptions to be unique, informative, and optimized for your target keywords. Make sure product descriptions are clear, and that your product is well-represented. Answer any questions that may or have come up with customers.
- Meta description: don’t forget the meta description! Meta descriptions are a great opportunity for keyword targeting and providing users – and search engines – with a quick overview of your product.
- Alt text: similarly to meta descriptions, image alt text gives you another opportunity to include target keywords and describe your product to potential customers.
Customer Testimonials and Reviews
Customer testimonials and reviews can have a significant impact on new customers’ perception of your product or service. In 2020, it was reported that over 85% of customers read online reviews to learn more about a business. What’s more, nearly 80% of consumers report trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. When it comes to product pages, the importance of reviews is undeniable: product pages that feature customer reviews convert 58% more visitors than those without.
More and more, people expect to see reviews when interacting with a new product or business online, and those without reviews tend to be a deterrent. A 2020 study by BrightLocal found that the average consumer reads 10 reviews before trusting a business, and won’t trust an average rating for a business until there are at least 40 reviews.
If your business has received reviews or client testimonials, include them on your product pages and make sure customers are able to publish new reviews.
However, if you are a newer business, or are new to reviews, this could pose a challenge. If you are in need of reviews, encourage your customers to write reviews. When asked directly, customers are more likely to leave reviews for your business.
Responding to customer reviews can also build your credibility, as you can develop a rapport with customers and reroute the conversation when it comes to negative reviews.
Make sure to monitor all reviews, not just those on your website. If your products are featured on other sites, or your business receives product reviews on websites that are not your own, it is important to implement a consistent review response strategy there as well. Product reviews or feedback on social media or forums such as Reddit can also provide valuable feedback and insight on how customers are responding to your brand and your products.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
The number of mobile users are on the rise – as is the importance of considering mobile user experience. Over 50% of website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones, and in 2021 alone, mobile devices are projected to influence more than $1.4 trillion in sales.
What’s more, since Google’s “Mobilegeddon” Update – or the Mobile-friendly Ranking Factor Update – in 2015, websites that are mobile-friendly can receive a boost in rankings. And, conversely, websites that are not well-formatted for mobile users may be penalized in search results.
Consider the mobile experience when creating and optimizing your product pages. These pages should be formatted to be easy to read and navigate for mobile users, and load quickly.
Once you have developed your pages, take a look at them yourself! Checking the loading time and formatting on your phone will help give you immediate insight on changes you may need to make to improve mobile user experience.
Popular Products Featured Snippet
Featured snippets are a newer element of Google search results. They are short snippets automatically pulled from online sources designed to quickly answer or address a searcher’s query. They don’t show up for every query, but tend to show up for queries that contain a question. There are several different types of featured snippets – definitions, tables, lists, and step-by-step instructions.
Featured snippets can give you the opportunity to rank higher in search results, or receive a “double feature” on the search results page. That said, the often-noted downside of featured snippets is the increase in “no-click” searches – searches that result in no clicks because the question or query was answered by the snippet.
For products, this is less of a concern, as more often than not a product-oriented search has the intention of a potential purchase behind it. The “Popular Products” carousel is a common featured snippet for product-related searches:
This snippet shows popular products related to a user’s search query. Roughly two thirds of the products that appear in these carousels come from websites that are ranking in the top 10 search results in Google, but don’t let this discourage you – the other third come from sites that do not rank for the query. In addition to providing your products with increased exposure and visibility online, this snippet can provide you with insight into competitors and purchasing trends.
To increase your chances of your product being featured in the Popular Products carousel, keep product listings up-to-date with accurate pricing, descriptions, and photos.
Leverage Local Results
If your business is hosted online, or has multiple locations, considering local search may not immediately come to mind; however, utilizing local SEO can help you appear in more search results and target local audiences. 97% of people look online when trying to find out more about a local business, so make sure that they can find your products when they do.
To optimize your product pages for local search, consider including location tags or mentions in product descriptions, or somewhere on your product pages and website. If products are only available at certain locations, make sure to highlight those locations.
You can also utilize your Google My Business listing to feature your products. Although this listing will show up for queries that include your company or brand name, listing your products and photos of your products will help customers understand your offerings more easily and make you more findable online.
Produce Product-Oriented Content
Your product pages are not the only place on your website where you can host information about your products and services. Creating content about your products, or about topics that are relevant to your products or company offerings, can help you increase your ranking for those topics in search results, and can help customers find your products via your content, as opposed to the product pages themselves.
To brainstorm content topics, consider the questions and pain points that your products or services can help with, or that are related to your business and create longform content (content longer than 1,000 words) about this content. Your keyword research can also guide your content topics, though remember that you are writing for your customers, not the search engine. Take care to answer the topic question in a way that is informative, unique, and thorough (yet digestible), and don’t immediately plug your product. Content that appears too promotional too quickly often deters users, and is less likely to result in attracting new customers.
To learn more about how to develop your online content strategy, read our guide here.