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There have been plenty of cases in the SEO industry about websites picking up some penalty from google.

From a marketing viewpoint, the absence of key marketing theory can partly explain why ‘SEO cheating’ is no longer viable, and we all know that SEO is the practice of improving and promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines.

And as branding concerned best definition of it is this one:

Branding goes way beyond just a logo or graphic element. When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience…everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, the way you answer the phone, to the way your customers experience your staff. When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand. In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you.

I've done a numerous pages without any branding when I was a beginner in this field, and I didn't noticed any oscillation in reach and visits if I compare that pages with pages that have tip-top branding.

SEO on every site had same approach. Results are similar and expected.

So, basically, my question here is this:

Is branding in its core really that important for SEO?

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Branding in SEO, certainly can contain traditional marketing methods, but really speaks to marketing the site rather than the product or service. These are two separate efforts.

For this, there are several things you can do.

I created a quick list of steps someone can take to brand a website in this answer: google excluding site for queries for it's exact name

This answer mentions using schema.org mark-up, Google+ for business, and business listings: Why is the string "- Ruby Shoo" appearing in the page title of a lot of our google search results?

This answer lists 11 common branding signals/steps a site can do: Local TLD vs. .com and .com/nl vs .nl

While there are more things that can be done, for example listing key company officers and linking to LinkedIn accounts, having articles written about your brand and product in reputable places such as newspapers and magazines, being linked to/mentioned in trade shows, being mentioned in contract awards, being mentioned as a brand/product used in scholarly articles, etc., much of what branding in SEO is about is being recognized as a brand in search by the search engines and having your brand name included into the ontology (a semantic dictionary/thesaurus) that search engines use to recognize known terms, brands, in auto suggest etc. A major part of this is branded searches where the brand name is used specifically in the search query and the CTR (click-through rates) for your brand as a result in branded SERP links. It also helps to have an entry in the knowledge-graph/vault which can be achieved at least by creating an entry in Wikipedia and other places.

  • So it's all about connecting. But, branding requires much more money than for example SEO. I'll leave this open for a while, maybe someone provides a different approach (maybe even start a bounty), because I'd like to hear more about this. But thanks for answering this question so detailed. :) – Josip Ivic Dec 3 '15 at 16:06

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