When we typically think of SEO and Branding, we may not link the two together.  First, let’s look at what each usually accomplish. The effects of a typical SEO search are that someone out there performs a search.  A page of results may point them to your site where he can get marketed and perhaps even buy your product.  If for nothing else, you get the advantage of having the traffic on your site for ad revenue.Branding, on the other hand, is a bit different.  Some sort of creative content is trying to get out a message, and they push it out through a medium.  For example, Coke may be trying to push Coke Zero through some type of medium, either a commercial, magazine, billboard, or even a banner online.  This medium hopes to reach a lot of people, and you hope that when this person has a need for your product he remembers you.  So, only the people who have a need and recall your brand will be touched.  So, how can SEO help with Branding?  Here are a few possibilities:

  1.  Appear “all the time” – If your brand is showing up consistently in the top spots on the search engines, people will repeatedly see you and remember you.   This happens through tons of content, so that you can show up for lots and lots of tail searches.  It’s tough as a small company.  
  2. Optimizing Branded Queries – If someone performs a search for your company.  If you can own the results for your brand, some top searches, this will help you.
  3. Social Media Marketing – In something like Delicious, Digg, or Yahoo’s home page, you can reach lots of people with your message.  They may not be interested in your product, but reaching them is just like a Branding strategy.
  4. Owning High Value, Generic Searches – If you own a generic search phrase like Cincinnati Office Space and have your domain come up with all of it’s links, the search engines are saying you are equivalent to that search, and it’s extremely helpful for branding.  Check out Aaron Wall ranking for “seo book” as an example.  

When creating an overall ecommerce strategy, it’s important to think through the mixture of both SEO and Branding.  To be too far weighted one either side could put you at risk.  Developing a strategy with both included will give your company a greater chance at longevity.