Marketing has changed, which means branding needs to follow suit and these days, both are also closely tied into search. You can’t talk about what you do and why you do it (which is where marketing and branding come in) without also taking into account the impact all this has on search.
The transition of marketing has been one from the traditional 4Ps of Product, Place, Price and Promotion to the modern 4Es of Experience, Everywhere, Exchange and Evangelism. A lot of the things I write about are based on a mixture of observation, data and original research and frequently my own site becomes the guinea pig I use to test theories and practices.
In a classic example of how semantic search allows you to dominate specific subject areas that are within your expertise consider the search query: “the impact of brand on semantic search”. Now, I have never consciously optimized my website for anything like this, though I frequently discuss the subject because it directly impacts upon it.
The end result of that is the search results you see below where the first five places on Google’s search results page are occupied by mentions of my work, my website, my books, my quotes and a Hangout On Air I had with Ray Hiltz.
Holistic Activity and Semantic Search
The point is that all of this was not done based on any traditional marketing techniques. It is more important to me, for instance, to provide clear answers and examples than use the traditional “I talk about this on page xx of my book” hook. The answers as well as the examples drive the conversation way more than any traditional marketing and advertising would have done which then feeds into reputation.
This leads to more discussions, more exposure, more citations, all in a holistic, authentic manner which allows just the kind of search dominance I have demonstrated here.
Semantic Search and Impact on Products
In my case my products are my books. SEO Help a practical, hand-on guide to achieving success through semantic search and Google Semantic Search the first book written on the subject, made the best-seller charts without my having to engage in any traditional marketing techniques at all which I detailed in a couple of articles on the subject where I explained how I dominated search.
They did so based on three principles that are evident only on hindsight:
- Visibility in search (my work and my books surface in most search queries regarding semantic search)
- Domain authority (this is often discussed in the PYB Academy led by Martin Shervington, where the establishment of demonstrable expertise within a particular subject leads to greater exposure and a direct impact on business goals)
- Usefulness to the reader (in my posts, interviews, Hangouts on Air and writing I try to deliver real value and actionable insights as opposed to a “buy my books” message).
In the hyper-connected, transparent world we are in now, branding requires real connection and the establishment of authenticity that allows brand values to surface. In writing the writer is the brand, the books are the products, but the concept works equally well with any other type of business.
Unless your brand is clearly understood, its intent, values and expertise experienced then it is unlikely to be able to do anything more than struggle for the necessary mindshare of your audience required to make a sale.
In the new marketing age the segregation of branding, marketing and search engine optimization no longer exist. Being yourself, clichéd as it might sound has become the ultimate point of differentiation.