Owning your brand
One of the things you will probably notice when looking at your analytics is the number of people who find your website after searching for your company name in Google.
Such is the popularity of search engine toolbars and the address bar search, it seems nobody has the time to type "www" or ".com.au" anymore.
It's much easier, even when you know where you're going, just to type the brand name, hit return and trust Google's algorithm to bring you the homepage you're looking for.
Now, ranking for your own name is unlikely to be top of the list when you're looking for keywords to target in an organic search campaign. You should and probably do already rank for your brand thanks to your domain, content, inbound links etc.
But you'll want to make sure that you don't just get returned first for brand searches. You want to dominate the first page with results you own or at least approve.
There are, of course, exceptions. If you're a manufacturer, you'd probably be quite happy for the search results for your brand name to feature your homepage alongside various retailers that sell your products. Your own online real estate doesn't need to outrank these partner sites and, if you don't sell direct through your own site, you probably wouldn't want it to.
The same applies if you're a government-funded tourism authority. When people search your name, you'll probably be the first result, but if the other nine are commercial websites that also promote the same area, you'll probably be quite happy.
However, there are a lot of reasons why you would want to control what people see when they search for your company name.
A lack of your own pages that can rank for your brand leave you open to a single bad review finding its way on to page one. You also make yourself an easy target for Google bombing, where a competitor specifically targets your brand or product as part of its own organic campaign.
If you don't like the look of the results when you Google yourself, here are some ideas for planting a few more flags on the natural search landscape:
More quality content
Investing in an ongoing content strategy to help build out your site with relevant and original material will have a number of benefits. In this context, you'll increase the chances of deeper pages within your site getting returned along with your homepage when someone searches for you.
Active social media profiles will tend to rank quickly. Even if social media isn't a top priority for your organisation, claim the real estate. If nothing else it will help to fill that first page of results with content you control.
Submitting to directories can be a real minefield. Some are useful, others are anything but. Pick your submissions carefully and avoid multiple submission deals. Quality directories will pass you link juice and your profile page will rank for brand searches.