Consistent branding increases click-through rate in Google

Last week, we wrote a post on headings and taglines. Following that post, I’d like to elaborate a bit on focus – but now related to your branding. In this post, I’ll tell you my point of view on how to incorporate consistent branding on your website. I’ll also show you how this can contribute to improving your click-through rate from Google.

What is this branding you are talking about?

Branding is the way you promote your brand or sometimes simply your website name (the brand of your website) to your visitors. Branding is the new link building.

Branding is the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design (Google)

A while ago, Joost wrote a post on branding and homepages as an addition to my statement that a homepage shouldn’t be used to rank a keyword. I still feel that way. I do think your homepage should – without the requirement of optimization – rank for your brand. This is quite often the result of links to your website using your brand as the anchor text for that link among other things.

Incorporate branding on your website

Our new website is an excellent example of how consistent branding will guide you through a website and will never make you feel lost. You will always, on any page and in every section of that page, know that you are visiting Without the use of a surplus of avatars, this time.

yoast redesign consistent branding

In the new design, we achieve consistent branding by adding the obvious logo on every page. But also by designing every element on the website to align with that logo. There is a style guide for headings, blockquotes, lines, widgets and boxes that goes above and beyond our already pretty consistent current site design.

Consistent branding in design

We have the luxury of Mijke being our brand managers at Yoast for years, knowing the brand from head to tail. She and our team of illustrators can translate that brand to design and illustrations. You might not have that luxury. We often find websites that are set up and maintained by the website owner himself. The ease of using content management systems like Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla! are ‘to blame’ for this. The owner might be a carpenter or dentist during the daytime, and a self-proclaimed web designer by night. But apart from the question if that is the way to go (I don’t think so, every man to his own trade), consistent branding is quite often lost in the process. A general theme is used, a logo might be added – very frequently plain text is used – but that is about it.

We often find websites that are set up and maintained by the website owner himself. The ease of using content management systems like Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla! are ‘to blame’ for this. The owner might be a carpenter or dentist during the daytime, and a self-proclaimed web designer by night. But apart from the question if that is the way to go (I don’t think so, every man to his own trade), consistent branding is quite often lost in the process. You use a general theme, add a simple logo – very frequently it is just plain text – but that is about it.

Only adding a logo is like branding a horses’  behind and figuring out what stable he belongs to by looking at his head. It just isn’t enough. Think about the use of colors, for instance. Make sure headings and background colors are in line with the logo colors. Make it consistent. If your logo is about curves and circles, for instance, use round borders for your widgets, or a curvy heading font. Make sure it all adds up.

Consistent branding in text

We used to add ‘by Yoast’ to a number of our plugin names, like WordPress SEO by Yoast. Fun fact is that our WordPress SEO plugin is now called “Yoast SEO”. Branding helps us rank for that term without any effort from our side. The community made that happen, by using “Yoast SEO” on support forums, on social media like Twitter, and in blog posts about the plugin. Thank you for that, by the way. It shows that consistent use of a term in the text, including links to your website, will help you promote your brand in words that your users use. In fact, we have found that Yoast SEO has become synonymous to WordPress SEO for Google:

Yoast SEO is synonymous to WordPress SEO

Google bolds “WordPress SEO” as the keyword used in search when you do a search for “Yoast SEO”. It’s one of the reasons we’ll actually be rebranding the plugin to “Yoast SEO” in the near future. More on that in posts to come!

Our real-time content analysis will help you to add that branding to your homepage if you’d like some assistance in that. Yes, I know. That is in a way optimizing your homepage for a keyword. Bottom line is that you need to be consistent in this. If your product is branded like Google Analytics by Yoast, use that name everywhere. It’s like writing WordPress with a lowercase P. People might take you less seriously when you are not consistent in this. It will also help Google identify your branding, of course. One of the things we often tell people to do is add the brand name at the end of the page title as well. For WordPress users, adding that branding to your titles in the Titles & Metas section of our plugin is easy as pie.

How does consistent branding help click-through rate!?

By now, you must have been going over your own website yourself. You have probably identified sections that need improvement. But you need to make consistent branding a priority, which is usually the hardest part. The reason you need to make consistent branding a priority, is that when branding is consistent in page titles, in texts and in meta descriptions, all the elements of your website that show in Google, this will (in the not so long run), trigger recognition when a Google user searches for a specific keyword.

If for instance, someone searches for WordPress SEO and ‘Yoast’ pop up every time, there must be a relation between the two, right? It will link your brand to the keyword. This will increase trust and make it easier or even more ‘natural’ for that user to click the link to your website. You will become a known source for that visitor.

And that is how consistent branding will help your click-through rate in Google.

Optimizing keywords for branding

Recently, we have added an extra section to our intake form for our site reviews: keywords you want to rank for. We’ll allow you to add a limited set of keywords, so we can check your website for these. The one thing that stands out, is that these keywords almost never include a brand name. It’s always about the product, without the branding. That isn’t consistent at all. If you have a unique product, you should brand it. And you should optimize for a combination of

and [branding], like “Yoast SEO”. Keep that in mind when choosing your keywords.

Read more: Why every website needs Yoast SEO »

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11 Responses to Consistent branding increases click-through rate in Google

  1. Bob van Biezen
    Bob van Biezen  • 5 years ago

    Hi Michiel,

    Branding is definitely an topic on which a lot of businesses (including our own) could improve their effort. I mainly find them struggling with picking (or limiting) their unique selling points.

    Beside the marketing value of branding there might be some interesting developments at Google on this subject as well. In an recent Whiteboard Friday Rand Fishkin discussed an Google patent that uses branded searches to boost search results for non-branded search results. In this scenario the amount that the query “Yoast WordPress SEO” Is used could result in higher ranking for “WordPress SEO”.

    Here is the link to the Whiteboard Friday:

    I did write a review of the Whiteboard Friday in Dutch on our own website. Would that be helpful for the Dutch version of the site? Didn’t find this subject on it though.

    Best regards,


  2. Selfie Stick
    Selfie Stick  • 5 years ago

    We would definitely agree that consistent branding is the way forward. We have found this to be the case.

    SMMTIPS  • 5 years ago

    Greeting Michiel!

    Very interesting post and i totally agree with the concept of consistent branding, now we also face the difficulty of having same name with the other site. So we need to find the solution to be more distinguished.

  4. Sam See
    Sam See  • 5 years ago

    Hi Michiel,
    Even Google recommends promoting brands with desired keywords, this adds value to brand awareness. Appreciate this post, easily understood.

    Keep it up.

  5. Ritu
    Ritu  • 5 years ago

    Hi Michiel,

    Thanks for the tips, I’ll have to change a lot of things on my sites. These are simple tips but really effective.

  6. Nigel Abery
    Nigel Abery  • 5 years ago

    G’day Michiel, nice article. I agree that branding is very important and Yoast has undoubtedly been built into a well recognised brand in the SEO community.

    I am sure that the carpenters and dentists would love to have a team of web designers to help them out but sometimes they just don’t have the budget for it.
    The dentists and carpenters could probably follow your advice on title tags quite easily but do you have any advice for DIY web design branding or at least cost effective outsourcing options?

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Hi Nigel,

      Thanks for your comment :)

      I think even a logo for $5 at Fiverr could be a good starting point for this, to be honest :)

      • Evert
        Evert  • 5 years ago

        Would you hire an SEO expert on a site like fievvr? A good design (logo or otherwise) is like any other product; a professional job. While you could get away with it for a short period, I would never ever recommend it as a viable alternative. More importantly I would never recommend anyone to use a logo or branding design from fivver as a focus for branding, only as a temporary “placeholder” until you can afford a ‘real’ design. I am sure there are exceptions, but that is anacdotal.

        • Michiel Heijmans

          Let me be clear on this: I totally agree. But a $5 branding is better than none. That’s the point I made. I think a vast percentage of your earnings should go into marketing and branding. Hence “Starting point”.

  7. Bill PerouKaneas
    Bill PerouKaneas  • 5 years ago

    Hi Michiel Heijmans,

    It’s well written and easy to understand article. I also agree with your this concept.

    Bill PerouKaneas

  8. Anil Kumar
    Anil Kumar  • 5 years ago

    Hi Michiel,
    First of all thanks for sharing such a nice and informative article with us. Keep up the good work..
    I totally agree with you. Branding is very important for every website as it helps to increase visitors towards your blog. My friend has a website that gets millions of visitors per month because of just branding… Thanks for sharing..