Greg makes my point for me at the end of his post: How Branding Will Replace SEO.
Also, since many customer conversations take place online, your inbound link profile will improve as will your traffic and conversion rate. And by the way, so will your SEO.
I’d like to start out by focusing on why I disagree with Greg, but I also want to point out why I also approve conceptually with what Greg is saying.
First it is very rare to start a business thru the customer acquisition channel of branding. To brand you generally need an audience and that means some sort of acquisition channel be it SEO, PPC, Affiliate, or Other. So saying branding is going to replace SEO is extremely implausible. Branding can become an acquisition channel once a business has an audience, usually of customers, without that audience there is no one to introduce the brand to.
It really seems to me Greg should be talking about, and in a roundabout way he does reference, how branding should become the 2nd phase of a successful SEO business and one that every SEO dependent business needs to consider, look at the examples he uses of his own business. The truth is success breeds branding, how hard a business chooses to push their brand is really up to them. But purely by building a customer base a business is building a brand.
Any online retail business that has built itself on SEO, has most likely also tried other acquisition channels and running multiple acquisition channels in parallel is just smart business. I believe the truth is some channels, like branding, have a dependency on other channels and this case branding is dependent on an audience acquisition channel. SEO has proven to be extremely valuable when it comes to audience acquisition and better yet customer acquisition as well.
I also have to take issue with some of the wide reaching statements Greg makes about the power of branding.
If you are a store that sells other brands and are currently depending on SEO, you are probably in deep trouble…If, on the other hand, you spend time branding your company, or if possible, your actual products, you are going to be immune to this trend.
If you have a business that was built on SEO and adjust the marketing focus to that of branding you will not be immune to any future decrease in the SEO business. Negative growth in a channel is still negative growth even if you can offset that negative growth in another channel.
Finally I would like to encourage everyone to review Greg’s three points on how to successfully brand a small business on a small business budget because I do believe he is spot on.