Branded and Non-Branded Keywords

Keywords can be a bit confusing at first glance, but they play a large role in the way Google and other search engines display your website while people are searching for it.

Before we go any further, let’s define keywords. Keywords are the words and phrases that Internet users type into the search box of a search engine, such as Google, to find websites that match what they are looking for. Whether users know your organization by name or are looking for something new, branded & non-branded keywords impact what search results appear.

Branded vs Non-Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are any set of keywords that include your brand’s name in them. We’ll use Mario’s Italian Eatery in Fakeville, Michigan, a fake Italian restaurant, as an example. Here are some branded keywords that could apply to their brand:

“marios italian”
“marios eatery”
“marios fakeville, michigan”
“marios directions”

Since the name “mario” is right in the user’s search terms, they’ll usually be the first organic search result on the page. This means when someone types “marios eatery” into a search engine, Mario’s Italian Eatery shows up at the top (but still underneath any ads). Since they have their unique brand name right in the keyword, they aren’t competing with other pizzarias or Italian restaurants for those top page positions.

Non-branded keywords are any words or phrases that pertain to your work or industry but don’t include your brand name. Using the Italian Eatery as the example again, here are some non-branded keywords that apply to Mario’s brand:

“italian food”
“italian restaurant”
“italian food near me”
“italian food in fakeville”

Non-branded keywords tend to be more competitive because they can apply to more than one business. That means that any businesses in those industries could appear in search results. Ranking high on a non-branded keyword shows you how your website’s value is growing. By strategically using non-branded keywords, you can establish yourself as an industry leader and thought leader.

So the difference between branded and non-branded keywords is all making sense, but now what? What do you do with these magical keywords? How do you know what keywords your organization is ranking for already or where you can improve?

What Branded Keywords Should I Target?

Target branded keywords throughout your content. This is especially true for pages that have limited content, such as the Contact Us and About Us pages. Branded keywords are less about SEO, and more about online recognition and reputation. It’s recommended to use branded keywords beyond your website and into external sources, such as social media profiles. You want to focus on branded keywords to build up Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) for your non-branded keywords.

What Non-Branded, Traditional Keywords Should I Target?

Targeting traditional keywords all depends on the website, company, industry, and overall goals. For example, let’s say you are a business that wants to sell cookies online, globally. You don’t want to just spam your content with references of “cookies,” but strategically structure pages around extended content. Some of the most competitive keywords related to cookies would include “chocolate chip cookies,” “peanut butter cookies,” or “recipe for cookies.” Use variations of non-branded keywords with extended pages, such as articles or forums. In order to improve SEO, we recommend using internally linked keywords among various pages.

Always Room for Improvement

Ranking highly for keywords such as “chocolate chip cookies” may be less beneficial in perspective with ranking for “same day delivery cookie.” With this type of industry, you would want to strategically build social media and external content around very specific keywords that commonly produce high conversions. It’s all about the type of industry and overall goals. If your goal is to sell cookies online, then you will want to build seasonal content, such as “valentines cookies.” Continue to build internal and external content around these keywords, topics and categories.

There are several organic and paid methods of using branded and non-branded keywords to increase your website traffic. If you want to learn more about what keywords your organization is ranking for and ways to improve your rankings, give us a call at 248-687-7888. Our Search Engine Optimization team can help you optimize your website and advertising to make it more effective.