This post first appeared in Anthony Bullick’s Daily Post column.

Trust is often talked about as being crucial for business success, but did you know having a strong brand has been shown to influence not just where you rank in search results, but whether someone clicks on your website?

A study that tracked the eye movements of 400 web users found that more than 80 per cent of the time, people will go straight to the first brand they are familiar with regardless of where the site sits in the search results.

When asked why, the top three reasons given were: users have been either a current or previous customer, the brand was trusted, and they were merely aware of them.

This shows that making sure your brand is strong, memorable, and trustworthy is just as, if not more, important to getting good traffic to your website than the ‘holy grail’ of search engine optimisation (SEO) which is being on the first page of the right Google search result.

To help improve your brand, enhance it with a PR and marketing communications strategy to ensure key messages are frequently drip-fed across multiple channels to target a variety of audiences.

Create a regular e-newsletter with relevant information to your email database, for example company news, industry insights or how-to content, to help build relationships.

Make sure your social media accounts are consistent with your branding and tone of voice, and ensure the content is engaging and adds value to your followers.

Integrate thought leadership and expert commentary articles into your blog section and push these out across email and social media.

Share positive customer stories and reviews and maximise this even further by encouraging your clients to publish these on their own platforms as well.

Media is another useful tactic to gain familiarity and trust: earning editorial coverage adds huge credibility to your organisation. Target a range of media including local, regional, national, and industry-specific.

Go beyond the run-of-the-mill two sentence testimonial with an in-depth case study to tell the story of your partnership and help a reader resonate with the outcome.

Draft the case study in a journalistic style for another avenue for securing coverage in the media.

Consider paid social media activity to place your brand and key messages in front of target audiences, for example repurposing previous activity such as news stories or e-books.

Review all possible tactics and content: for example, would a podcast or print newsletter help to cut through the noise and provide the perfect platform for your target audiences?