Imagine that your obgyn practice has worked with a branding agency to create a fun concept that is based on the long experience you and your partners have had, with a fun tropical theme. “You toucan have a great delivery!” is your catch phrase, and you’re working the word “toucan” into everything you do. You have a bright green and orange website built and use the same colors for your decor at your practice, as well as for your logo. You set up an Ads campaign using a variation of your tagline (the original is too long to follow the rules of the Ads system) and write snappy content for your website with “You toucan…” as the starting point for every page. You may feel excited about your new brand, but you’ve actually stumbled into one of the big problems with SEO and branding.
Nobody who is looking for an obstetrician is going to type the word “toucan” into the search box at Google.
Paying for “toucan” as a keyword for your CPC campaign would be absurd — but using “toucan” and “delivery” instead of “obgyn near me” means that you will always pay more for your ad placement than your competitors. You’ll probably still be at a lower spot on the page, too. Chances are, your click through rate down there at the bottom of the page will be poor, so your quality score will suffer.
SEO and branding can be incompatible
However cute your branding, organic search and paid search alike will ignore it. Your competitor’s page that gives a clear answer to the questions of expectant parents will always beat your page that tells how they toucan have a great delivery.
Google can’t be expected to understand that your tagline has something to do with labor and delivery. Human brains can figure it out, especially with a picture to help, but machines are terrible with wordplay.
The more clever plays on “toucan” you include in your text, the more confusing it will be for search engines. As time goes by and you get accustomed to your branding, you’ll be tempted to move on to ever more obscure options: “Toucan do it? You can!” and “Bananas about Babies!” will creep in before you know it. People searching for an obgyn near them will never get a chance to enjoy your cute branding.
Start with solid SEO.
Identify your target audience. Understand their path to purchase. Use what you learn in that process to choose the keywords your customers will use when they search for you.
Develop your SEO strategy based on those keywords and the needs of your potential customers.
Have your web team write solid, well-optimized content and highly relevant ads.
With this foundation, you can bring in your branding.
Put all the “toucan” references into graphics so search engines won’t be confused by them. Dress up the solid content with fun fripperies. Play with colors and graphics. Put your catch phrase on infant T shirts.
Just make sure your fun branding doesn’t destroy your SEO.
Great post. SEO is really about getting to the point. Not that you can’t be creative, but people are going to be searching for relevant keywords, which need to be targeted.
Exactly. It’s amazing, though, how many traditional marketers don’t get this.