Google Tools To Measure Brand Popularity

Brian Bluff co-founded Site-Seeker with his brother Eddie in 2003. He received his degree in micro-electronic engineering from RIT and later served in the United States Navy.

Let’s say that you’re in the midst of a branding campaign and are wondering how effective it’s been. Below you’ll find four Google Tools you can use to get get a good idea.

BTW, This post is part of a three post series on Branding Strategy :

Measuring Brand Strength: Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool

Once your brand gets traction you’ll be able to use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool to both monitor increasing and decreasing trends in search volume and get an idea about what Google thinks your band name is about. In the screen shot below, I searched for “Site-Seeker” and Google came back with terms like “best SEO company”, “digital marketing agency’, and “website optimization company” and since these terms are related to the services we provide, I know Google understand with our brand is about and that site visitors will too.

As a side note, it’s a good idea to use this tool before selecting a brand name. This might help you avoid having to compete for traffic with folks (terms) that aren’t even related to your products or industry. Take the term caterpillar for example. If you searched for that term, Google wouldn’t know if you were looking for heavy equipment or trying to help your fourth grader do their homework. In this case the Caterpillar brand is so powerful it ranks number one, but if your brand name is new, you might be faced with unnecessary competition.

Hovering over the graph icon in the above image displays the monthly search volume for any term over the past year. I found this interesting because, for the brand name Site-Seeker, it showed higher search volumes during months that we speak more – this makes sense. My take away is that speaking is a great way to get our name out there and to increase the popularity of our brand. Although the bump in brand popularity won’t last forever, it’s a good start and by continuing to engage in content marketing, our brand will continue to get stronger.

So while you can use this tool to get an idea about the popularity of your brand, it will also validate the consistency of your messaging. Of course if your chosen brand name has other uses, maybe by other companies or in everyday language, you may find a lot of drift in the terms in this list. This may be okay, but you should think through the implications of the data.

Measuring Brand Strength: Google Trends

For bigger brands, Google Trends is a useful tool to determine increasing or decreasing trends. If you add additional terms, you’ll be able to to determine the relative popularity of the terms you selected over time.

Keep in mind that all Google Trends is normalized. So for example the highest point (at the far right in the graph above) is recorded as 100 and all lower points will between 0 and 99. It’s important to keep this in mind especially when comparing different terms.

Measuring Brand Strength: Google Webmaster Tools

Webmaster Tools shows you the estimated number of times a link to your website appears on a SERP (search engine results page) and how many times it was clicked. Recently, Google removed a block making this data more accurate.

By exporting this data, since Google only displays a rolling 90 days of data, and referring back to it. You’ll be able to determine trends over time. BTW – Search Engine Land reported that Google was extending data storage to 1 year, but I’ve not seen that yet.

Measuring Brand Strength: Google Analytics

Google Analytics used to be a much better tool for measuring Brand Strength and soon it may be of no value at all. As for data, the keywords people use to find your site, in this case your company or brand name, could historically be monitored over time and showed increasing, decreasing or seasonal trends. Increasing trends of course were an indicator that the strength of your brand was increasing. Now however (for the past several years) Google is blocking an ever increasing percentage of keyword data and instead reporting “not provided”.

Yesterday I was digging through Google Analytics on a client site and found that 80% of Google’s keyword data was blocked. Fortunately this site generates a lot of traffic, and therefore I was still able to estimate accurately how much of that traffic was branded vs. not branded. Here’s the approach I used:

Step 1: I selected the past years and found that there were 99,364 total orgainc visits. These were broken down as follows:

  • Branded (contained company/brand name or common mispellings): 14,154
  • Branded (not not contain company/brand name): 6,563
  • Not provided/Not Set: 78,647

Step 2: Of the visits with keyword data visible, calculate the percentage branded and the percentage non-branded.

  • % Branded = 14,154/(14,154+6,563) = 68%
  • % Non-Branded = 6,563/(14,154+6,563) = 32%

Step 3: Split up the Not Provided Traffic Into Branded and Non-Branded

  • Total Estimated Branded = 14,154 + 68% x 78,647 = 67,886
  • Total Estimated Non-Branded = 6,563 + 32% x 78,647 = 31,478

Step 4: To determine the trend, I would repeat steps 1 – 3 for an earlier period.

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