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Branded Keywords Vs. Non-Branded Keywords SEO: What You Need to Know

Branded Keywords Vs. Non-Branded Keywords SEO What You Need to Know

When it comes to SEO and branding, there are, generally, two types of search terms – non-branded and branded keywords. Both are very important in a company’s digital marketing strategy and could help improve its visibility in search engines. As such, they both need a systematic approach and proper attention.

However, nowadays, most companies focus all their efforts on non-branded keywords and take their branded counterparts for granted. Some can even go as far as completely ignoring brand name SEO and branded search. As a result, they struggle “owning” the search terms related to their brand name and suffer losses not only in website traffic but in paying customers as well.

Why does this happen?

Mostly because of misunderstanding of the meaning and purpose of branded keywords, and what makes them different from non-branded ones.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the two, and how your company can benefit from better optimizing its website.

What Are Branded Keywords?

What Are Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are unique search terms that include your brand’s name and/or specific product names, including misspellings and variations. They are the phrases that customers key in search engines when they want to reach your website, find information about your products and services, and learn what others say about you.

For example, DevriX’s branded keywords include:

  • devrix (but also Devrix, DevriX, and the misspelled devirx)
  • devrix com
  • devrix wordpress
  • devrix pricing
  • devrix reviews
  • devrix jobs
  • devirx blog, etc.

What makes branded keywords special is that they are associated with the bottom of the sales and marketing funnel. When a customer searches your brand name, this means that they already know who you are and are interested in your products and services. This shows that they are near the end of their customer journey and may be ready to convert. At this point, it’s imperative to provide a frictionless experience and give the client everything they need to feel confident in their choice.

And that’s why taking hold of these search terms should be a top priority – thanks to them, you can be the first one your customer hears from when they research your brand.

However, it’s important to understand that, while your company is the subject of these keywords, you don’t control them as you are not the one who creates them. What you can do is optimize your website and content and make sure that you are the one who ranks for them. Otherwise, a different website may overtake the relevant SERPs and say whatever they want about you. It’s a risk you are not willing to take.

What Are Non-branded Keywords?

Non-branded or unbranded keywords are the search terms that are relevant to your business, products, and services but are not directly related to your company in particular. These are the general keywords that you want to rank for in order to help people discover your brand when they are researching their topics of interest.

For example, some of DevriX’s non-branded keywords are:

  • wordpress agency
  • wordpress retainers
  • wordpress custom development
  • wordpress for publishers
  • wordpress for enterprises
  • wordpress maintenance
  • top 10 wordpress agencies, etc.

Non-branded keyword SEO is important for businesses because it allows them to attract top-of-the-funnel leads through inbound marketing, create a digital presence, and build brand awareness. The more relevant search terms your company ranks for, the higher its authority in the SERPs becomes and the more likely customers are to learn about you.

Branded Vs. Non-Branded SEO: Which to Prioritize?

By now, you may be wondering whether to focus your efforts on branded keywords or on unbranded ones, because they both sound quite important. The fact is that you shouldn’t prioritize one over the other. They serve different purposes and each plays a role in different parts of the customer journey.

Branded Vs. Non-Branded SEO_ Which to Prioritize

To build and maintain a successful digital presence and a balanced online brand, you need to optimize your website for both types of keywords and create meaningful content to support your SEO strategy.

However, in chronological order, non-branded keywords SEO usually comes first. This goes especially for startups and small businesses that are just entering the digital marketplace.

More often than not, these brands are not popular enough to have branded keywords and enough people need to be searching their names in order to generate some. To that end, the company first has to build an audience, use push and pull marketing techniques to make their brand popular, and focus on SEO brand awareness campaigns that prompt people to key their names in search engines.

Once their non-branded search terms do the job and the company’s online visibility is on track, they can start working on their branded keywords.

Branded Keywords Strategy

The goal of creating a branded keywords strategy is to “own” the search terms related to your brand and take control over what people see when they search your name and products. When this happens, your website needs to be the first link that pops up.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that they will not look any further to double-check what you’ve said. However, it makes a bad impression if your name is somewhere down the list, instead of at the top.

Also, it gives your competitors a chance to outrank you for your own brand’s name, and, practically, steal your clients.

By building a branded keyword strategy, you will take control over the process and make sure you retain your presence in the SERPs.

1. Consider Brand Name SEO

Brand name SEO means to choose a name for your business based on SEO research and ranking potential, and find a unique idea that is memorable, easy to spell, represents your business well and has SEO value.

If you are just starting your business, considering rebranding, or have issues with ranking for your own company’s name, it’s a good idea to consider implementing brand name SEO. This preliminary work is important as it will help you achieve better branded search results in the future.

2. Conduct Branded Keyword Research

You should do keyword research to identify all the relevant branded keywords that your customers search. This will provide you with insight into what information people want to know about your brand, what concerns they have, and how they use your name.

Also, the research can, potentially, help you identify product, quality, usability, and credibility issues.

There are different ways to conduct the research, and the easiest one is to use Google Search suggestions.

Conduct Branded Keyword Research

In addition, most SEO and keyword tools also have branded keywords research settings and can provide you with more detailed information on search volume, competition, etc.


3. Create Relevant Content

Each new branded keyword you discover should have a corresponding page on your website. If the page is well optimized, and includes the keyword in the URL, headline, and content, it should be quite easy to rank in a top position.

However, if you miss this opportunity, another website can steal this keyword from you, and take the traffic it drives.

4. Bid on Your Keywords in Paid Search

Branded keywords are not yours by default. This means that other companies can rank for them as well, and can also bid on them in paid search results. This type of targeting doesn’t happen too often, especially when you are not popular enough to have a nemesis, but is not uncommon for large brands.

For example, a quick Google search for Ahrefs, the SEO tool, will show you that the first organic result may be their own website, but right above it is the paid result and it belongs to their competitor Semrush.

Bid on Your Keywords in Paid Search

If the user is not a die-hard fan of Ahrefs, they can easily end up clicking on the first option they see, and Semrush will be the one to boost their traffic, and, potentially, land a client.

That’s why it’s always good to bid on your own branded keywords and retain the customer’s attention. Even if you do, competitors may try to challenge your bid, but if you manage to hold the number one position in both paid and organic search, you should be safe.

Semrush is a good example here as well:

Bid on Your Keywords in Paid Search Second

5. Manage Your Online Reputation

Customers often use branded keywords to research a company’s online reputation by googling “[company name] reviews”. If the results are not convincing, they may consider taking their business elsewhere.

One way to address this type of branded keywords is to create a dedicated page on your website and integrate third-party platforms with validated reviews.

However, it’s important to also research your performance on these websites, and address any negative feedback that is dragging you down. This way, anyone who researches you will see that you take your business seriously and go the extra mile to satisfy the customer.

6. Update Your Google My Business Listing

Your Google My Business listing is often one of the first things that people see when they search your brand name. The tool provides a myriad of options to update your information, and allows you to address frequently asked questions such as your location, working hours, contacts, and so on.

Updating your listing often and in line with what people want to know about you will allow you to take control over the information they first see.

Bottom Line

To build a strong presence online and answer the needs of clients at all stages of the customer journey, companies need to optimize their websites for both branded and non-branded keywords.

These search terms have different purposes and, to deliver results, they should be addressed with the right strategy and proper content.

The ultimate goal is that whenever a customer searches information relevant to your business, or keys your name directly, your website needs to be the first thing they see. This will boost your brand awareness and your traffic, and help you grow your clients list.