Data shows marketers are investing in brand awareness, and for good reason - it's rewarded in search.

Brand awareness will be a top priority for marketers over the course of the next year, and their investment plans reflect that. According to eMarketer’s Visitor Survey, 55.9 percent of marketers say they plan to increase their budgets for brand awareness over the next 12 months. It’s a good time to put greater focus on this goal because it’s becoming more important than ever to successful SEO strategies.

We saw it coming: Brands do better in search

In a panel with Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan at SMX West 13, Matt Cutts said, “Over time, Google will care more about identity and social reputation.”

While he didn’t call that brand awareness outright, he did elaborate that Google’s search rankings encourage personal brand building and that any business, regardless of size or notoriety, can become a brand when they publish creative content and build authority in their fields.

Any business, regardless of size or notoriety, can become a brand when they publish creative content and build authority in their fields

Danny Sullivan added that “Search engines don’t favor ‘big’ brands, they favor information and authority that can stand on its own … Brands aren’t just the Cokes of the world. A site that’s iPhoneCovers.com … can become a brand if it gives users info on the newest covers or insights on the benefits of one cover versus another.”

Data proves the ‘Brand effect’ is impacting search rankings

Fast forward to 2014 and Searchmetrics’ annual Ranking Factors Study, where there is evidence that brands are ranking higher in results pages. They’re knocking out generic domains and other URLs competing for the same search terms, while also benefiting from greater SEO visibility in the top positions.

Searchmetrics brand data

Searchmetrics concluded that both large and niche brands are experiencing search benefits (as promised last year). Niche brands that have carved out expertise in a field can outrank a name brand for long-tail keywords that they’ve specifically targeted.

Adidas shoes example

On the other hand, big brands tend to outrank smaller competitors and domains for generic terms as well as long-tail keywords.

Where to invest for better brand awareness

Of course marketers know brand awareness has become critical, as more companies are online and sharing information – making for a marketplace that’s crowded and noisy.

Brands that stand out are the ones people will pay attention to, and ultimately patronize. However, the question remains: How do you become one of those standout organizations that’s making a memorable impact? There’s no surefire answer, but a well-rounded content strategy is a good place to start.

Brands are the organizations with recognizable videos, voices and graphics that convey their unique perspective on the industry, and that viewers can’t help but notice. Some formats that are good for building brand awareness are:

  • Custom infographics
  • Company overview video
  • Executive interviews
  • Trending blog posts that get you in front of people
  • Social media content

The internet has impacted the way we do business across the board, but it’s also changing the way companies think about themselves. We’re at a point where it’s not just beneficial for every business to become a brand – it’s becoming a necessity.

How good is your brand awareness? Share your best approaches in the comments section below.

Here’s an example of how an engineering company improved its brand awareness with content for search marketing.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.