When most website owners or marketers think about SEO, one of the first things that may come to mind is keyword research.

They ask themselves, "Which are the most searched keywords in my niche?" and then proceed to create content around those keywords.

While building content based on keyword research can be part of a complete SEO strategy, if that's your main go-to strategy, you might lose out in the long-term.

Here's why:

Content marketing as a inbound traffic strategy is bound to get more and more expensive over time.

When only a few marketers are optimising their content for SEO, you can get to the first page of Google for the keywords you want cheaply.

But what happens when the space on top gets more crowded?

What if instead of competing with 2 or 3 other brands, you're competing with 10, 20 or even 100 other brands?

You'll need to pour in more resources to keep your spot at the top.

In the long term, the marketing costs will continue to rise, eating into your profit margins. 

What are you gonna do when that happens?

When most website owners or marketers think about SEO, one of the first things that may come to mind is keyword research.

They ask themselves, "Which are the most searched keywords in my niche?" and then proceed to create content around those keywords.

While building content based on keyword research can be part of a complete SEO strategy, if that's your main go-to strategy, you might lose out in the long-term.

Here's why:

Content marketing as a strategy is bound to get more and more expensive over time (source link).

When only a few marketers are optimising their content for SEO, you can get to the first page of Google for the keywords you want cheaply.

But what happens when the space on top gets more crowded?

The truth is that more and more content go online every single day.

What if instead of competing with 2 or 3 other brands, you're competing with 10, 20 or even 100 other brands?

You'll need to pour in more resources to keep your spot at the top.

In the long term, the marketing costs will continue to rise, eating into your profit margins. 

So, what are you gonna do when that happens?

Brands that don't prepare for the inevitable day will have just one option left: put up with it and pay more for marketing.

The good news is, you don't have to be like them. You can do things differently. So even if you lose most of the competitive keywords, you'll still have traffic pouring to your site every day. 

How can you achieve it?

What I'm about to say may surprise you, but the one strategy is none other than... branding.

Yes, good old branding. 

'What's branding got to do with SEO?' some of you might ask.

A lot, apparently.

The top searched keywords for these big sites in Malaysia

Paultan.org, the #1 site for car related news in Malaysia, receives around 2.5 million sessions a month.

Guess what keywords make up at least 10% of its search traffic?

If you guessed car related in Malaysia, you're half right.

A good portion of Paultan.org's 2.5 million sessions come from none other than 'Paultan' related keywords. In fact, the keyword 'Paultan' gets a nice 110,000 searches a month:

Branded keywords like 'paultan', 'paul tan', 'paultan proton' combined make up at least 10% (or, over 250,000) of Paultan.org's overall traffic.

So even if a new car new site pops up and starts ranking for every single car related keyword overnight, Paultan.org will still have six figures of traffic. This is what branding can do for your site.

Other than Paultan.org, another site that receives a high brand name search volume is Fashionvalet.com. The term 'fashion valet' gets searched over 100,000 times a month:

With almost 440,000 sessions a month, this represents a quarter of the total traffic to FashionValet.com. For Fashion Valet, having a strong brand is probably one of its biggest assets.

All this is just to say that, if your current content marketing strategy doesn't yet have branding baked in, 2019 is probably the year to get started.

As Google continues to make changes to its algorithm and your competitors become more aggressive, your brand will be your best chance.

Brand First, Keywords Second

Now that you know how important branding is when it comes to SEO, make sure you dedicate a good portion of your SEO strategy with branding.

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