Should you be focusing on one, the other, or both?

Keywords and how they should play into your overall SEO goals is a long-standing debate, and a very confusing one, too. Keywords play a significant role in the way the major search engines search for, rank, and display your website to the public. However, which kind of words you employ can depend on many factors. Whether users know your organization by name or are looking for something more general, branded and non-branded keywords will affect what search results appear, and it’s important to know the difference between the two to get the SEO results you want.

Branded Keywords

Branded keywords include a specific brand or organizational name, service, or product. Let’s say you own a company called “John’s Widget World.” Examples of branded keywords might be:

  • John’s Widget World
  • John’s Widget World Online
  • John’s Widget World Product Line
  • John’s Widget World News

Searchers use branded keywords to look for something online when they are familiar with the brand, product or service offered and have reason to trust your name. If consumers are entering branded keywords into the search engine window, they are usually farther along in the buying/selling process and are more likely to “convert” to customers. It’s important to have branded keywords as part of your SEO approach to serve the search needs of those potential customers.

Branded keywords also have the added benefit of promoting your brand name online. Including them in your keyword content mix helps your brand presence gain organic traction on the web, and aids in getting your business name associated with the products and services you offer.

From a “bidding” perspective, branded keywords are often cheaper than non-branded keywords because there is less competition for them. Using the example from above, lots of companies may be selling widgets (so ranking for those words will be more expensive), but fewer people are trying to rank for “John’s Widget World”.

Non-Branded Keywords

Non-branded keywords are used in more generic searches. They are associated with an industry or a product but not to a specific brand name. Maybe a consumer is looking for an expensive “widget” to fix her leaky faucet, and she wants to do some price comparison shopping to see who offers it at the best price in your area. Non-branded keywords you might use would be:

Faucet widgets

Faucet widgets for sale near me

Faucet widget prices

Faucet widget retailers

It’s vital to include non-branded keywords in order to rank for them and so that searchers will be able to find you at the beginning of their decision-making process. Using non-branded keywords has the potential to bring in new customers to your business and expand your brand reach and awareness.

If you’re using a paid SEO strategy, non-branded keywords will be more expensive to rank for than branded keywords, because there’s more competition bidding on them. It’s important to keep this in mind and choose the best and most frequently searched for non-branded keywords in your SEO approach.

Branded vs. Non-Branded: Which is Better?

Whether you’re relying on an organic SEO game plan or adopting a paid method, both branded and non-branded keywords are useful and important to have in your content. It is important to use both to support one another. When used together and done correctly, it will help you increase your online rankings and brand visibility.