Look at the statistics for web usage and you soon discover that the most popular web sites in the world are those which are focused on specific brands. Search terms also tell a tale or two about the importance of brand. For instance, the latest figures on search popularity show that in the IT area, FIVE of the Top Ten search terms were for PayPal. In the Internet sector, Facebook and YouTube dominated the searches.
This is, of course, no surprise – but it does show us something interesting. People are using search engines to find brands, such as Facebook or PayPal, when all they need to do is type the brand name into the address bar to be automatically taken to the brand without conducting a search. In other words, even if you are some of the most well known products and services on the planet, people still search for you.
This tells us something very useful. It suggests that getting search engine traffic depends significantly upon brand recognition. And where did the likes of PayPal, Facebook and YouTube create their brands? In the OFFLINE world, using a great deal of PR and media work. The same is true for all the other highly searched for organisations – like Starbucks or Holiday Inn.
The data about search behaviour is consistent – and the latest results are nothing special. The most searched for things are those we already know about from some other means outside the Internet. It is yet more evidence that if you wish to win the search engine wars against your competition, the best thing you can do is to create an OFFLINE brand.