Why Brand Authority Matters | 10 Topmost Optimization Steps

Through your Brand Authority Score, you can help your website rank higher, get more traffic, increase conversions, and earn more loyal customers. Generally speaking, an SEO Competitor Analysis is a powerful research strategy to help you achieve all these goals. The magic happens when you uncover SEO opportunities you may not have otherwise seen or ever even considered!

To enumerate, SEO Competitor Analysis (sometimes called competitive analysis) involves researching your direct search competitors to understand their target keywords, content strategy, backlink profile, and more—this is for reverse engineering the most successful elements of these tactics into your content SEO audit strategy—the most suitable process to increase ranking.

Instead of guessing which keywords to target, content to create, or links to build, you can research your competitors, analyze what’s already working for them, and build upon that success. Imagine you operate a pet supply store and are one of a few competing stores in town. Your customers are happy, but you know they also visit other stores because they can’t buy everything in one place.

So, you go on a road trip to gather competitive intelligence. You visit the other stores to understand the popular items they offer. By offering these items yourself—or even superior ones—you help your customers make fewer trips, and in turn, you gain more business and, eventually, brand advocates! With that in mind, let’s learn more about SEO Competitor Analysis and Brand Authority.

Understanding What Brand Authority Entails For Creative Content Auditors

Brand Authority™ is a score (1-100) developed by Moz that measures the total strength of a brand. With Brand Authority, Moz makes the elusive but powerful idea of the brand into concrete and actionable data. You can currently find Brand Authority in the Moz Domain Overview Tool or the Moz API, for that matter. To see a snapshot of top brands, please visit the Top 500 Brands list.

We all know that brands, often fueled by billions in marketing dollars, hold significant influence over the online and offline worlds. It’s natural to assume that this influence extends to search engine results and rankings, but that relationship can be hard to disentangle. Consider a Google search for “Apple.” A searcher using that term could mean Apple, the company, or Apple, the fruit we all know.

It could also mean Apple, the 1990 studio album by Mother Love Bone, etc. Search engines have to choose, though, and Google calls that choice the dominant interpretation. The image above recreates a diagram in Google’s own Quality Rater Guidelines, illustrating why Apple, the brand is the answer most searchers expect. In this case, brand precedence over one of the most common foods.

It’s important to realize that Dr. Robert Cialdini is one of the most respected authorities on marketing and influence. His book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, discusses six principles of power and influence that can help you grow your business. The principle of authority is one of those six principles. Authority can mean many things. But, for our discussion today, it differs.

In a nutshell, Brand Authority is the influence your brand develops from its experience, knowledge, and leadership. Traditionally, according to Cialdini, Brand Authority is identifiable by three symbols that go hand in hand to bring meaning.

  1. Titles: Prestigious titles have a compelling psychological effect.  Consumers are more likely to blindly follow someone with an authoritative title like Doctor, Judge, President, or CEO.
  2. Clothes: Well-attired business professionals and people in uniform are more likely to influence others who lack such status-laden clothing.
  3. Trappings: Status symbols that imply authority – even if that authority is only perceived. Trappings include luxury cars and homes or living in exclusive, expensive locations. Cialdini notes that at stoplights, drivers are more likely to honk at economy cars that pose no authority than luxury vehicles that do.

While titles, clothes, and trappings still play a role in deciding authority in-person for brick-and-mortar store businesses, much of the brand authority needed to influence purchasing habits appears online.

In most cases, a search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and the like has to model the real world, and brands are a huge part of the real world. Searchers expect to find known brands even in cases where those websites aren’t perfectly optimized or don’t have the highest Domain Authority™ score rating. The idea is not to copy your competition but to leverage data to improve upon them.

As well as to use this knowledge to create better experiences for your visitors. Additionally, Google rewards brands in other ways, including expanded listings (like sitelinks), Knowledge Graph (entity) results, duplicate rankings on page one, and a higher likelihood of certain types of rich results. Find out how these metrics can help you assess the possibility of your website ranking.

Why Your Website Business Visibility Matters And How It Is Calculated

The Brand Authority journey started with the aim of better understanding how vital brands and brand entities are to Google to measure brand strength more accurately. When exploring the concept of measuring the power of a brand, it was necessary first to identify the elements that make up the concept of a brand: the brand name and products, and so on. This isn’t an easy task!

Consider two branded word clouds for Apple.com: Branded (or navigational) searches like “apple” and “apple store” (on the left) are relatively easy to detect, but what about search results on the right like “app store,” “iPad mini,” and “MacBook pro”? While none contain the word “apple,” they represent awareness of strongly-branded products and services. Using Moz becomes crucial!

With its deep expertise in SERPs and search intent, we identify various brand searches and their popularity. Although these are not the only factors considered when calculating the complex Brand Authority metric, they are critical. Ultimately, understanding a brand’s salience online has to heavily consider how users and search engines identify it, along with demand and popularity.

Resource Reference: How Brand Storytelling Helps To Engage Users & Build Loyalty

For your information, this results in a 1-100 score. Like Domain Authority, this score is non-linear—a difference of 10 points near the top of the scale (80-90, for example) represents a much more significant gap than a difference of 10 points toward the bottom (10-20). Please note that Brand Authority is currently focused on the United States and is driven by the United States data.

When your brand’s image depends so much on how you portray it, you cannot afford to throw words around carelessly. One of the best examples is when a brand name becomes so culturally significant and well-known that it becomes the word used to refer to the product. This phenomenon, known as a “generic trademark,” is one of the ultimate examples of brand authority.

When marketers traditionally talk about “brands,” we intuitively know what we mean, but we tend to do a lot of hand-waving. Once we can measure the [previously] unmeasurable, it opens up new opportunities (including many we probably haven’t thought of yet). With that in mind, below are just a few essential ideas and strategies for putting Brand Authority to work for your business.

1. A Broad Target Audience Outreach

As mentioned, Brand Authority is the trust level an audience member, client, or customer has with your brand. It’s the reputation you earn from your audience and those within your niche, like others. Most often, Brand Authority is relative to your target niche. Instead of guessing which keywords to target, content to create, or links to build, you can research your competitors and find out what’s already working for them. Remember, you don’t need to be an aspiring Fortune 500 company to take on a market segment.

2. Brand Strength And Gap Analysis

Brand Authority can help you better assess your brand strength and identify improvement opportunities. Super-optimizing your website could result in diminishing returns (and poor ROI) if no one knows who you are. On the other hand, if you’re a more well-known brand but are lagging online, investing in your SEO and content efforts might be money much better spent than more offline advertising. You can also identify keyword and content gaps to evaluate top opportunities and the best-performing content timely.

3. Assessing Brand Value And Potential

From sales prospects to mergers & acquisitions (M&A) targets to reputation management clients, Brand Authority allows you to measure a brand’s broader strength and influence and helps to determine if they’re a good opportunity for you. Solid brands might build many underperforming sites with ample room for growth. In contrast, some seemingly strong sites could be built around virtually unknown companies, creating challenges to broader marketing efforts. Having the right plan and a team would be best.

4. Build Reputation Awareness And Trust

A powerful Brand Identity can be a game-changer for small businesses, startups, and marketers eager to leave their mark and grow their businesses faster. Ultimately, Brand Authority comes down to faith. Trust is critical to acquiring and keeping customers, mainly if you sell higher-priced goods or services. As a rule of thumb, if your business is trusted, customers feel confident that you know what you’re doing and that they’re spending their money wisely when they buy your company’s products or services.

5. Creates A Robust First Customer Impression

On the one hand, a well-crafted brand identity instantly communicates your business’s values and personality, making a powerful first impression on potential customers. For example, Apple’s sleek and minimalist logo and design aesthetic make customers look like a high-quality, innovative technology company. On the other hand, brand authority helps to increase customer recognition. Distinctive brand identity makes your business easily recognizable, helping customers remember and identify your brand. For example, McDonald’s golden arches and red-and-yellow color schemes are instantly identifiable, even from a distance.

6. Differentiates Loyalty From Competitors 

In this case, a unique brand identity sets your business apart from competitors and helps you stand out in a crowded market. Similarly, this also enables you to create brand loyalty. For example, Tesla’s sleek electric cars and innovative branding have helped it differentiate itself from traditional automakers. Still, a strong brand identity fosters a connection with customers, encouraging them to become loyal, repeat customers. For example, loyal fans of Nike’s athletic wear appreciate the company’s commitment to innovation, quality, and performance.

7. Simplifies Decision-Making For Customers

A clear and consistent brand identity helps customers understand what your business stands for and makes it easier for them to choose your products or services. For example, Patagonia’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident in its brand-building process, making it a go-to choice for eco-conscious consumers. Each reason is essential but will vary depending on your business and industry. Be sure to prioritize those that are most relevant to your unique business.

8. Attracts Valuable Like-Minded Employees 

A well-defined brand identity can help you attract employees who share your company’s values and are passionate about your mission. For example, Google’s playful and innovative brand identity attracts top talent in technology. A strong brand identity can increase the perceived value of your products or services, allowing you to charge a premium. For example, Apple’s premium pricing strategy is supported by its carefully cultivated brand identity, emphasizing quality, innovation, and design.

9. Enhances Marketing Efforts And Referrals

A cohesive brand identity provides a strong foundation for marketing campaigns, ensuring your messaging is consistent and resonates with your target audience. For example, Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign leveraged its iconic logo and typography to create personalized bottles, making it a global success. Still, a solid brand authority also encourages customer referrals. Whereby customers who feel strongly connected to your brand are more likely to recommend your products or services to others.

10. Helps Measure The Digital Media PR Impact

While everyone hopes to get authority-passing links from their digital PR efforts, a big part of the PR game is the viral power of the mentions. Brand Authority provides PR agencies with a quick and easy way to illustrate the broader impact of PR campaigns by measuring the actual word-of-mouth influence of the brands that pick up your stories. By making the concept of brand concrete, we hope that Brand Authority opens up new opportunities for marketers, even beyond SEO. We look forward to seeing how you put Brand Authority to work as the metrics and tools evolve.

What About Domain Authority And How Does It Impact Ratings

According to MOZ, Domain Authority (DA) Score in measuring digital online presence awareness is still a powerful tool for assessing a website’s online strength and potential ranking power. By adding Brand Authority to the mix, we’ve created an even more powerful duo that reflects a wide range of real-world authority signals and the evolving reality of search engine marketing.

To see how Brand Authority and Domain Authority work together, consider the two-by-two matrix below and the cases where one score is high. Still, the other is low: For instance, an online-only or eCommerce brand might have high Domain Authority but lower Brand Authority. That brand pulls in search traffic but might not drive new search engine traffic through word-of-mouth tactics.

Conversely, a strong brick-and-mortar brand might be well-recognized, but its online presence could be weak, limiting its full potential. Brand Authority and Domain Authority can help you understand your gaps and guide higher-ROI marketing efforts. This duo can also better equip you to understand your ability to compete or gauge the strength of a prospect or target company.

As mentioned, a consistent and professional brand identity helps build customer trust, making them more likely to choose your business over your competitors. For example, Starbucks has built a reputation for quality and consistency, leading customers to trust their brand no matter where they are. That said, let’s look at a few simple steps that will help improve your brand authority.

What A “Good” Brand Authority Score Entails And How To Increase It

We can’t all be Google or Amazon, right? On that note, a “good” Brand Authority score depends significantly on your niche and aspirations. Generally speaking, your own Brand Authority score isn’t worth obsessing over. Focus on using Brand Authority to benchmark yourself against your competitors, assess your strengths, and determine where to put your marketing efforts.

So, how can you increase your Brand Authority Score as a beginner? The short answer is painfully obvious—get more people talking about your brand. Of course, if you’re annoyed right now (like many), we get it, but sometimes as search marketers, we must remember that marketing isn’t just about intercepting traffic. It’s about driving interest in who you are and what you do.

That’s not just good marketing; it’s good SEO. Building your brand ultimately means driving new search terms and search volume that didn’t previously exist. Remember that your brand goes far beyond your company name; even a niche brand can be impactful. Take Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), for example—the company is pretty well known; they’ve also done a tremendous job.

In particular, they’ve done a tremendous job of branding their processors (Radeon, Ryzen, Epyc, etc.) to the point that many people ask for those processors by name. Or what about Emerson Electric? Even if you’ve never heard of them, most homeowners in the US have listened to their InSinkerator line of garbage disposals. Even a niche brand can set you apart from the competition.

The Simple Steps To Put Your Brand Authority To Work For Your Business

By all means, if you run a business, you likely believe deeply in your product. This is no doubt important. After all, who could better advocate for you than…well, you? Sadly, thinking about your offer is not enough; you must also compel consumers to believe it. And to score believers, you must capture their attention in the first place. How? By building brand authority, as you’ll learn below:

In this respect, brand authority is similar to brand identity. For instance, social media following, expert seals of approval, and celebrities play potent roles in establishing authority in your field. Importantly, you can’t develop brand authority by conferring that status on yourself. Brand Authority is a status that others ascribe to your business–assuming they trust and respect it.

Before we delve more deeply into the principles of brand authority, also understand that even making a lot of sales is only half the battle. It would help if you kept your business alive with your words and actions. Ultimately, Brand Authority is a tool for understanding how you’re perceived in the real world, where your marketing gaps are, and, hopefully, a path to a better bottom line.

A company owes a notable 45% of its reputation to how its owner represents it! Is your message as innovative, optimistic, and welcoming as you would like? In that case, there are so many reasons for wanting to increase brand authority.

Competitor analysis helps:
  • First, who are my actual SEO competitors?
  • Secondly, what keywords should I target?
  • Thirdly, what does the competitive landscape look like?
  • Fourthly, what topics should I cover?
  • Lastly, where can I find valuable links?

In layman’s language, brand authority marketing refers to using your experience and knowledge to establish yourself as a trusted source–an expert–in your field. Once you achieve authority status, you can expand on the messages you are trying to deliver, attract a larger audience, and convert that audience into customers or clients. Suppose you want to be more systematic.

Or rather, you want a comprehensive approach to learning SEO—or train your entire team! Markedly, you can check out the Moz Academy SEO Competitive Analysis Certification to gather more information. They’ve consolidated all the resources you need to confidently implement a competitive brand authority analysis plan with unique learning strategies.

They’ve also got task lessons and quizzes to evaluate your knowledge. To top it off, you can even validate your expertise with a Linkedin Moz SEO Competitive Analysis Certification badge! In other words, even a niche brand can set you apart from the competition and drive traffic to your door. There are many ways to analyze your competitors to know how your brand performs.

The process helps you:
  • Identify your potential business competitors,
  • Make a copy of the spreadsheet as per your business,
  • Follow the instructions to gather performance data,
  • Replace the sample performance data with your own,
  • Sort, filter, and customize to your data analytics results needs,
  • Analyze what’s working for your competition (keywords, content, links, etc.),
  • Leverage this intelligence to improve your SEO efforts and more…

Moving forward, it’s worth mentioning that if you’re serious about beating your competition, we recommend reading this brand authority competitor analysis guide front-to-back. We’ve tried to make it as concise and easy to understand as possible, and learning the SEO basics is a vital first step in achieving your online business goals. You can also utilize some of these strategies.

1. Define your brand’s purpose and values

Start by determining your brand’s core purpose and values, which will guide your brand identity and help you connect with your target audience. For example, TOMS Shoes emphasizes its commitment to social responsibility with its “One for One” giving model, while Ben & Jerry’s showcases its environmental and social activism through its branding and product names. For example, BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine” highlights the brand’s focus on performance and luxury, while L’Oréal’s “Because You’re Worth It” empowers consumers and conveys a sense of self-worth.

2. Know your potential target audience

Understand your ideal customer’s needs, preferences, and pain points to create a brand identity that resonates with your target audience. For instance, to help cater to its target audience, Glossier’s minimalist and inclusive branding appeals to the modern beauty enthusiast. Realistically, our professional Web Tech Experts create a brand identity that appeals to its target audience by understanding our client’s needs for affordable, high-quality design services.

3. Define core values and personality

Your brand identity should reflect your brand’s personality and core values. Defining these elements will guide your design choices and help you create a consistent brand image. For example, Patagonia, an outdoor clothing and gear company, is committed to environmental and social responsibility. Their brand identity, featuring earthy colors and rugged imagery, reflects these values and appeals to their environmentally-conscious audience.

4. Integrate SWOT Data Analysis

SWOT Analysis Process can help you develop a higher-level understanding of your business and the context in which it operates. A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning framework used to take a big-picture look at your brand and business’s internal and external factors. “SWOT” stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. By examining your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you may find a path to new growth. As part of your SWOT analysis, remember to ask questions that can help you to define your brand identity.

5. Develop a unique visual identity

Create a distinctive visual identity, including a memorable logo, color palette, typography, and imagery that reflects your brand’s personality and values. For example, Spotify uses bold colors, custom typography, and dynamic visuals to represent its brand as an innovative and energetic music streaming service. In contrast, Airbnb’s simple and friendly logo and visuals emphasize the home-sharing platform’s welcoming and community-driven nature.

6. Develop a business brand style guide

brand style guide is a document that outlines the rules and guidelines for using your brand’s visual elements. It ensures consistency across all touchpoints, strengthening your brand identity. For example, in custom logo design projects, our logo designers typically provide clients with a style guide that includes their unique logo, color palette, typography, and other visual elements, ensuring consistency in their brand identity.

7. Tell a creative and compelling brand story

Share your brand story to create an emotional connection with your audience. For example, SoulCycle tells the story of its founders’ quest for a unique fitness experience that was more than just a workout. Honest Tea shares its journey to create a healthier, more sustainable beverage option. Equally important, Old Spice rebranded itself with humorous and unconventional advertising campaigns to attract a younger demographic. Burberry revitalized its brand by modernizing its design aesthetic and embracing digital marketing.

8. A consistent voice with a memorable tagline

Your brand voice should reflect your brand’s personality and values and remain consistent across all channels and touchpoints. For example, Mailchimp’s friendly and approachable brand voice makes email marketing accessible to small businesses, while Dollar Shave Club’s witty and irreverent tone stands out in the crowded grooming market. A catchy and meaningful business tagline can help communicate your brand’s essence and make it more memorable.

9. Trademark and be consistent across all channels

The first thing is to register your brand’s trademarkscopyrights, and domain names to protect your brand identity and prevent competitors from copying your unique elements. For example, Google and Amazon have invested in protecting their intellectual property to maintain their strong brand identities and market positions. Afterward, ensure that your brand identity is consistent across all marketing channels, both online and offline, to create a cohesive brand experience. For example, Casper’s clean and minimalist branding is evident on its website, social media, and physical stores. Warby Parker’s hip and socially conscious brand identity extend from its website to a brick-and-mortar store and eCommerce business location.

10. Track, monitor, and refine your brand identity

Before you monitor and refine your brand identity, ensure that you encourage employee buy-in. Ensure that your employees understand and embody your brand’s identity and values, as they are often the face of your brand to customers. For example, Zappos empowers its employees to provide exceptional customer service, while Southwest Airlines encourages its staff to showcase their friendly and fun personalities. Regularly evaluate your brand’s performance and make adjustments to ensure it remains relevant and resonates with your audience.

Summary Notes:

From infancy, humans are trained to follow the instruction or recommendations of those in authority. Often, perception determines an element such as brand authority more than any concrete trait, knowledge, or ability. But the instinct to follow experts (perceived or otherwise) doesn’t go away. We cannot know everything. And most of us don’t have the time to try.

Instead, we rely on industry experts and people of influence to guide us through their particular areas of expertise. In short, when we say that a company has strong brand authority, we mean that people generally see its value within its industry and thus respect it as a leading name. The tricky thing about brand authority is that it is intangible, meaning you cannot reduce anything.

Let’s say your brand’s image to numbers or dissect it cleanly on a chart. Otherwise, you can examine statistics indicating a solid reputation, yes! Be that as it may, go through at the pace that suits you best, and take note of resources we link to throughout the chapters—they’re also worthy of your attention. As a result, you’ll increase brand authority, reputation, and awareness.

Learn more about how to:
  1. Do A Competitor SERP Analysis
  2. Find Your True SEO Competitors
  3. Analyze Your Competitors’ Content
  4. Conduct Competitor Keyword Analysis
  5. Perform A Competitor Backlink Analysis

Following the best practices above, you can create a powerful and enduring brand identity that helps your business stand out, connect with your target audience, and drive long-term success. Consider things like exceptional sales numbers or frequent web page views, but, in the long run, these figures tell only part of the story. As you might imagine, brand authority is not gained overnight.

It is also not something that you can manufacture or buy. Instead, you must start with a sturdy foundation and build upon it gradually. Remember, together with our partner (Crowdspring)—a custom design and naming platform—there is so much we can do for your brand identity. Usually, we target small business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs from various industries.

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do brand identity and authority mean?

On the one side, Identity embodies your overall business’s visual and emotional representation. It comprises elements like your logo, color palette, typography, imagery, and messaging, which convey your brand’s values, personality, and promise. On the other side, Authority refers to the legal and formal right to give commands and make decisions—for example, a manager tracking employees.

2. What does it mean to increase brand authority?

By definition, Brand Authority refers to how likely customers view a company as a trustworthy source of information or an expert opinion in its field. A company with a high level of brand authority might enjoy customer trust, a respectable reputation, and a high level of influence within its industry. Therefore, we must focus on the simple steps above to increase brand authority.

3. Why is authority necessary in business marketing?

One thing is for sure; having brand authority means becoming so well known as an expert in your target market that people will search for your brand proactively–even if similar products or services could also solve their problem. Though Moz doesn’t say it explicitly, the brand authority metric measures the strength of the brand being discussed. As such, its prominence in broader conversations online using a scale of zero to 100. It measures popularity, so theoretically, the most hated brand will score well.

4. Who creates identity, and what gives a brand power?

At all costs, having a solid brand identity is all about consistent and recognizable company expressions, offering products and services and meaning. A strong brand is the nucleus of a company’s success and results from an effective brand strategy. Brand power can be defined as a brand’s ability to influence consumer behavior and create a solid emotional connection with its target audience. It measures a brand’s market strength and reputation—its factors are meaningfulness, difference, and salience.

5. What is a SWOT analysis process in market research?

As mentioned, SWOT analysis is a strategic planning framework used to take a big-picture look at the internal and external factors impacting your brand and business. “SWOT” stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The first half of SWOT (strengths and weaknesses) addresses the internal factors within your business or brand working for and against you. Opportunities and threats (the second half of SWOT) are the positive and negative external factors your brand must navigate through.

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