2/2 Can SEO Alone Build Brand Equity?

In part one of our brand equity series, we learnt that the Jansen et. al. study argued that the prominence of a website from a search engine result has a similar effect to the prominence of a traditional retail display. This assumption is further supported by the idea that Internet users normally expect to see more well-known brands displayed first and that their recognition of a lesser known brand will be higher when the brand is displayed before well-known brands in SERPs.

The reason for this is due to cognitive elaboration of the consumer’s thought processes. When a lesser known brand is ranked higher than one that is already established, the viewer adopts the understanding that the unknown is now, in fact, as memorable as the well-known, leading to increased awareness of the brand. This increased awareness allows for greater recall of a brand which leads to an increase in brand equity, as a consumer’s ability to recognise or recall a brand is central to purchasing decision-making. These findings suggest that through controlling the indirect effects by increasing a website’s page ranking on SERPs through organic SEO practices, the benefits of the direct effects will also increase, as the perceived quality of the site is directly relative to its page rank.

Essentially, brand equity can be improved through effective SEO practices. A well-implemented SEO campaign can build upon more than just a website’s ranking. A business’s page’s ranking can be complemented by calculated website development and increased user experience which then, in turn, improves upon the company’s image and therefore improves its brand equity. Rather than sourcing other marketing means to build brand awareness, a complete SEO campaign can develop a strong online presence that is necessary in establishing a high-quality and reputable brand-name.

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