Brand SEO mistakes are surprisingly common. A shocking number of companies miss a critical opportunity to communicate in search engine results–and thus with customers. If they can’t find your brand, it may as well not exist. What you say in Google, Bing and Yahoo! impacts traffic to your site and your brand image. Yet, too many companies let programmers write this marketing copy. Here are the five most common search engine results copy writing mistakes:
1) Providing no information at all. No title. No description. No reason to visit. No idea of what the company does.
2) Leaving the placeholder text from the software used to build the Web site in place. Surely the government of Massachusetts has more to say than promote Joomla! Web content management software.
3) Allowing random content to populate search engine results. Here is one “huh?” example from Elan Corporation, a pharmaceutical company:
Here is another example of random content from Healthnet:
Instead of offering directions for finding a subscriber number, Healthnet could have used the search results to talk about the “Healthnet: A better decision” brand positioning or they could have offered their company description: “Health Net, Inc. is among the nation’s largest publicly traded managed health care companies. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable.”
4) Just listing what you sell, packing in as many search terms as possible, runs afoul of Google search algorithms (your site gets penalized), but offers potential visitors no real compelling reason to visit the site. You lose twice.
5) Allowing your description to exceed the allotted space or simply not using the space you have efficiently. In general, you have 55 characters to use for your title and 115 for your page description. Take this example from Corning:
The title is short and generic. Instead of being just “Corning Incorporated | Home”, the title could have included branding: “Corning: The world leader in specialty glass and ceramics”. That would have left plenty of room for a succinct and compelling description: “Corning has 150 years of materials science expertise and process engineering knowledge. We turn possibilities into breakthrough realities.”
Getting traffic to your site requires that you effectively communicate who you are and why someone should visit. Brand communicators need to get actively involved in how their company appears in search engine results pages. Don’t make simple to prevent brand SEO mistakes. Make sure meta copy is “on brand”, rich in keywords, and invites people to click and visit. This communication is too important to be left by default to Web page programmers.