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SEO and PPC Make Great Branding Bedfellows

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 10 December 2007 15:38

I was reading some research this morning from the folks over at Enquiro Research from a document entitled the Brand Lift of Search. It deals with the associations people have with a brand over a variety of Search Engine Result Page (or SERP) situations.

The target brand in this case was ‘Honda’ and the when Searcher entered an ‘unbranded query’ (generalized query) and was shown one of 5 types of SERP pages;

  1. Control (no Honda in search results)
  2. Sponsored Ad listing (Honda only in side panel ads)
  3. Top Organic ( Honda listed in top SERP position)
  4. Top Sponsored Ad (Top Ad space only)
  5. Top Sponsored Ad and Top Organic

 Two additional Groups entered ‘branded queries’ (Honda specific) and where shown;

  1. Top Organic ( Honda listed in top SERP position)
  2. Top Sponsored Ad and Top Organic (Honda in both)

The results were done in both Survey and Eye tracking formats.


Why PPC and SEO can work together for Branding

When the respondents that used the unbranded query (ie; ‘fuel efficient cars’) were asked what came to mind (Honda, Other, None) a full 16% said Honda over other brands when shown the SERP with Honda ranked in both the organic and paid listings.

Survey Results 1

When asked which brand they remembered seeing in the search results, once more the mix of top organic and paid listings crushed the competition;

Survey Results 2

The research goes onto show that;

  • When a brand is in the Top Organic and Paid listings, purchase consideration increases 8%
  • Consumers are up to 16% less likely to purchase a brand that doesn’t appear in the SERPs at all (first page)
  • Presence in Top Ad and Top Organic boost purchase intent 7% over Top Organic alone.


And what were they looking at?

Looking at some of the eye tracking data they observed that Brand fixations occurred in the URL and TITLE of the listing NOT the description (Snippet).

If your developing or leveraging a brand it is advised to put it in the Title and as close to the beginning of the description as possible.



As always, take all research with a grain of salt and always cross reference findings before making serious considerations.

This is some interesting research however, and does back up what many know, which is to OWN the market. If it is Organic considerations by owning every possible SERP you can, or where and when to mix your SEO and PPC together. Utilizing PPC and SEO in harmony is a good practice that can enable branding opportunities and further entrench the brand awareness. Just because you own a Top SERP doesn't necesarily mean it is time to kill the AdWords program.


  1. Your investment in brand advertising increases with search
  2. Advertise on unbranded and branded keywords
  3. Tailor your ad to prospects, those with no established  brand affinity

… I just felt this study was interesting enough to post about… To get a copy head on over to Enquiro




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