Have You Run A Branded Keyword Audit? – (S)NoBoard SEO #22


Hey folks!

Welcome to my very first video post kindly brought to you in association with Dan Shure of Evolving SEO.

I’ve been a keen follower of Dan’s excellent “NoBoard SEO” series for a few months now and have always wanted to feature a video post on Stoked but just don’t have the setup required here at the moment. Thankfully Dan took a break from clearing the snow outside his house to give us some quick thoughts on keeping track of our branded keywords.

Many thanks to Dan for allowing me to hold this video hostage for a few weeks. I challenged him to give me something actionable and he definitely did that. Enjoy…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0QwEXB9yOw&w=420&h=315]

“Hey, everyone. It’s Dan, at Evolving SEO. Welcome to an episode of (S)NoBoard SEO. That’s right, today’s (S)NoBoard SEO, not NoBoard,(S)NoBoard. We have literally 4 feet of snow; I’m exaggerating, maybe 2½ feet of snow outside. I’ve literally been shovelling and snow-blowing for the past 2 days straight, so I’m getting some exercise, and that’s what’s going on out there.

What I wanted to talk about today quickly, I hope quickly, is a suggestion for keyword research and optimization, and that is, we spend a lot of time focusing on generic keywords. If you’re an e-commerce shop selling appliances, maybe you focused on refrigerators, refrigerators for sale, buy refrigerators online, refrigerators under $400. Does that exist? I don’t know, but you see what I mean.

We focus a lot on those generic keywords, but the suggestion I have today is . . . especially where there’s been a lot of talk lately about building your brand and that kind of thing, to develop trust with your website or your business online. What I want to suggest is doing kind of a brand name audit, if you will, surrounding all the keywords that has to do with your brand to see if you’re actually coming up in all of the spaces where your brand should be showing up.

By brand I don’t just mean your brand name or your domain name, this could be if you have a product that has a name that’s unlike any product, for example Vo’s Chocolate has Mo’s bacon bar; no one else has a chocolate bar named that, so that could fall under your brand. If you were to like Amazon, Jeff Bezos, who’s the CEO, or something, of Amazon, he falls under that. It’s pretty lame that I don’t know exactly what he is; founder? Co-founder? I don’t know. The name of the person that has to do with the company, that could fall into your brand. If you’re SEOmoz and you have Mozcation, all of the keywords having to do with Mozcation. If you’re Distilled and you’ve got Search Love, coming up by the way, Boston, everyone get your tickets. If you’ve got Search Love coming up, that’s a branding name.

All of those things fall under this umbrella of brand. What you need to do is not just look to see how you’re ranking and showing up for those exact searches, but go to like Ubersuggest and type in your brand name. If you’re SEOmoz, type in SEOmoz into Ubersuggest and see all the other things, some long-tail that people are typing, related to your brand; it might have been a lot of things that you wouldn’t even think of. For example, if you were a local restaurant, you may find that people are typing restaurant name hours, directions, menu, events, dress code, all of these things. Grab all of those keywords with Ubersuggest, then you can do a couple things from there.

Now you’ve got a lot, hopefully a long list of branded keywords that people are typing, then you can do things like get search volumes for them. If you’re a big enough brand, like an Amazon or something where there’s a lot of search volume, you can get that data. The key part here is to take those branded keywords and run them through Aaron Wall’s Rank Checker, or if you’ve got something that can check ranking very quickly and easily. I use AuthorityLabs for a lot of my rank tracking. Run them through there, get your ranking for those, get the landing page that’s showing up for all of those.

If you are a restaurant and you’re doing restaurant name menu, but it’s your homepage showing up, or maybe it’s a page with just photos or an about page showing up, you might want to check into trying to get your menu to actually show up for that. If people are searching restaurant name hours or restaurant name directions, make sure those exact pages, if they exist, are the ones showing up. Maybe they’re not optimized, maybe they’re not being indexed, maybe they’re not accessible by the search engines.

That’s kind of the first step. Second step is once you’ve grabbed all these branded names, if you don’t have the content to show up . . . for example, I was doing some SEO for a private school and there were a lot of searches happening having to do with private school name, and then the program; so private school hockey or private school name math or science. In this particular case, they did not have pages that were accessible by the search engines to show up to speak for each one of those departments. It might have just been their homepage showing up, the user would have to like click on the homepage and try to figure out where that particular section is on the website.

You want to make this a lot easier for your users to find the content specifically that they’re looking for on your website. We also call this sometimes  navigational searches, you’ll hear that term, these are navigational searches; people know exactly what they’re looking for, they’re just using Google as the mechanism to get to that.

Another key thing about this is we’re hearing more and more that Google is using user metrics like click-through rate, bounce right back to the search, clicking on another result, time on the site before you come back to the search. If you’re serving up the content that people are looking for specifically, you’re going to improve those user metrics, which in turn may feedback into your ranking and your visibility, so a huge win there, a huge plus.

The last thing that I suggest all of you do after you start optimizing for this is create some custom segments in analytics to track how it’s going. You create a custom segment for your brand name, your company name, for the names of people involved with the company. Hopefully what we want to see, is this bucket of content, the visits going up for that, and that does have a little to do with search volume and how many people are looking to begin with, but we just want to watch the overall trend. Is your bounce rate going down? Is your time-on-site going up? Are people landing on the exact pages that they need to get to when they’re doing these searches?

I highly recommend, no matter if you’re a local company, a big Fortune 500 or a startup, the beauty of this is this works for virtually any type of company, any type of website. You can go and get this data and make some headway, get some quick wins in a decent amount of time on this. I wanted you guys all to go out, try to do that, improve your search experience for your brand name.

Thanks for checking out (S)NoBoard SEO. Us New Englanders, we tell ourselves “There’s only a few more weeks of hopefully this potential for blizzards,” and that kind of thing. We’re almost in the clear, so hopefully, 3 or 4 weeks at the most and we can see spring right around the corner.

Anyways, have a great one and good luck out there. Stay good. Thanks.”


  1. Awesome stuff, Dan – thanks for hosting Gaz.

    I’m curious, what equipment was used for the video? Audio, Video, etc.

    • Hey Chris – thanks man, glad you liked it.

      I just use an iPhone for audio/video. I have a special clip that allows me to attach the iPhone to a microphone stand. I have a pretty nice set of video lighting I picked up for about $200 (I’m only using 2 of the 3 lamps and it seems pretty good like that).

      Then I just put into iMovie, normalize the audio and quickly trim the beginning and ends of the video.