Group circle

Uh... Hi. Today is my first time to SEOs Anonymous. I'm a little nervous, so bare with me. I'm not very good at public speaking. And I can't help but cringe at today's topic. But they say admitting you have a problem is the first step towards overcoming it. So here goes... I have an addiction. But not the normal kind. I only drink on weekends. I don't smoke. And like most SEOs I'm lucky to get laid once a month. Tiger Woods has no ally in me. No... my addiction is little more peculiar. And it makes me feel a little dirty inside. You see, I'm addicted to... branded search.

Unknown ObjectWeird huh? But I reckon everyone in this room feels the same deep down, even if you won't admit it publicly. We're all SEOs. We know the deal. I just ran a check of ten of my current clients. And guess what... On average branded search brings in around 30% of all organic traffic. Let's be frank... branded search makes us look good. And we take credit for it as the last click in the customer journey. But if we're all honest with ourselves, we've done very little to earn it. Which is why I feel so damn guilty...

For starter's, we know Google often gives favour to brands within their search results based on their signals of trust and authority. And when the query is specific to the brand itself, it's so damn easy to rank its ridiculous. If the exact match on the domain name isn't enough, years of accrued links with brand name anchor text tops it off. With my hand on my heart I can say I've done nothing to rank for branded searches for any of my clients. I just take it for granted...

To compound my internal moral dilemma, I'm not just taking credit for work I didn't do, but I'm indirectly discrediting the work of my fellow marketing brethren. Without brand awareness, a branded search simply can't exist. Someone typing a branded search already knows my brand, but rarely will that awareness be as a result of SEO. We SEOs tend to LOL when our banner advertising cohorts tout the 'branding' benefit their channel delivers. And we mock the big budgets and return of investment of television advertising campaigns. Yet without their investment (which in some cases has occurred over decades), our branded search would vanish.

Yet here I am taking all the credit for it... How is a man to live with himself?!?

Which is why I'm here today. To me, branded search like crack cocaine. I depend on it. Heck... I'm addicted to it. But I keep it all to myself. Sure... I break out branded vs non-branded search volume in my reports, but I only mention it when I'm increasing non-branded volume. And realistically, all my client really looks at (and cares about) is the total search volume.

I want to change. Really... I do. And now that Google has introduced multi-channel attribution, I'm pretty sure I will. Because one thing's for sure, my banner advertising colleagues will sure as hell be looking to increase recognition of their contribution soon enough. Which is only fair yeah...? We've had it nice for a while now as the last touch point before the final conversion. But it's time to play fair.

Who's with me...?