IAM SEO Expert Advice Share: Branded Search vs. Domain Authority vs. Local Search Display

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What are the chances that Branded Search Volume will dominate SEO factors such as Domain Authority and Local Search Ranking? Wouldn’t it be unfair for new businesses if Branded Search Volume becomes a factor in SEO?

Just yesterday I had an amazing conversation with one of my previous SEO colleagues, Romeo, while catching up over coffee. We discussed about (or more like, we argued on) the 3 most impressive factors in getting solid website traffic nowadays:

  • Domain Authority
  • Branded Search
  • Local Search Display

A Note on Expert Advice

Before I go into detail, any SEO studies, theories, or expert advice including this one, of course – they can easily miss the whole picture because of being closely involved.

Defining SEO Terminologies

Branded Search – is a direct search for the name of the company brand on Google. Romeo said that he often uses the words ‘Pizza Hut’ rather than ‘Order Pizza Online’ whenever he wants to get pizza delivered at his office or home.

Domain Authority – is the ‘credibility’ score of a website that was introduced by Moz as per Google Standard. A Website who has the following will have a fair Domain authority ranking:

  1. Valuable links from other websites
  2. On-site Optimization
  3. Mentions from Social Media
  4. Years in existence

Website Sources: moz.com, practicalseo.org

Local Search Display – is the local search results recommendation which you see on the topmost of search engine results. There, you can see at least 3 local business recommendations – along with their direction and website, if available – on the right, adjacent to the company name.

If you want to get good results in Local Search Display, consider the following criteria:

  1. Online Business Mentions: 12%-16%
  2. Local Listings: 11%-15%
  3. On Page Optimization: 18%-22%
  4. Link Building: 18%-22%
  5. Online Reputation: 6%-0%
  6. Social Media Engagement: 3% – 7%
  7. User Behavior: 7%-12%
  8. Personalization: 6% – 10%

Website Sources: moz.com, searchengineland.com & localseoguide.com

Romeo’s take is that Branded Search Volume should be considered as one of the SEO factors because it is part of a user’s behavior online – to search for brand names directly. In case you’re not familiar, Branded Search Volume is in no way an SEO ranking factor – not before and not now.

“Google studies the user behavior to make sure that it can easily predict what the user wants to provide the best experience online.  And since Google Search Display always comes first on search results, it should be the top factor in SEO, with Domain Authority as Second and Branded Search Volume as third,” he added.

Then I started arguing that it can be disastrous to small businesses that can’t launch a fair brand awareness campaign, or the newly established businesses. Hence, I am skeptical with Romeo’s take and so both of us tried to defend our opinions on the matter – of course in a professional way, and since were discussing in a coffee shop, we had to do it while minimizing our voice.

For me, the fact that Branded Search Volume hasn’t been considered as one of the SEO factors for almost a decade now means that it hasn’t happened because it shouldn’t happen.  But of course, I am not saying it is entirely impossible since future searches might be in voice or similar devices.

Domain Authority plays the second biggest if not the biggest factor in SEO. In the real world – would you rather choose a brand that has zero credibility over a known brand which is already proven and tested? This is how Google works and why websites who have good Domain Authority ranks higher than those with little Domain Authority in search results.

Local Search Displays can be considered as one of the best resources to get leads or customers even without a website – notice that sometimes it only displays direction and no website.

Nevertheless, Romeo and I agreed that business owners who cares about their Domain Authority and Local Search Display results, should care at least as much as their branded search volume.

Story conclusion for business owners who care about their online presence

Domain Authority and Local Search Display are crucial if you want to put your website or business on the first page of search results. While Branded Search does not matter in SEO, it can be still a good source of traffic for your website, and whatever the amount of traffic it can bring – it is still an opportunity.

Published by: Mark Lester Gebauer

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