When it comes to ranking on search engines like Google, your keywords fall into two major categories: branded keywords and non-branded keywords. But what is the difference, and why does it matter? In this article, we’ll explore branded and non-branded keywords and what they mean for your brand and search visibility.

What are branded keywords?

Branded keywords are searches that directly match your brand name, variations of your brand name, or your product’s branded name. For example, “Adidas,” “Adizero,” and “Ultraboost” are all brand-related keywords for Adidas. Similarly, if you sell golf clubs like Stix, your branded keywords might include “Stix,” “Stix golf clubs,” or “Stix driver.”

The advantages of strong brand awareness for keyword ranking

Having a strong brand awareness can help increase your branded traffic. When someone searches for your brand, they are more likely to have an affinity for your products already and are, therefore a warm lead for your business. For example, Adidas receives approximately 4 million monthly organic searches for the brand query “Adidas.” However, for a brand like Stix, monthly brand searches are going to be lower.

The disadvantages of only ranking for branded keywords

If you’re a lesser-known brand, relying solely on branded keywords can cap your organic traffic and visibility. For example, Stix golf clubs generate an average of 18,100 searches per month. While this is not necessarily bad, focusing only on branded keywords means you are missing out on the opportunity to acquire new traffic unfamiliar to your brand.

What are non-branded keywords?

Non-branded keywords are broader keywords related to your business. They can include the products or services you offer or content that addresses your audience’s specific pain points. For example, if you sell golf clubs, “golf clubs for beginners” would be a non-branded keyword outside of your brand term.

Ranking for non-branded keywords creates a huge opportunity for your business, as it increases the likelihood that you’ll acquire new traffic. By optimizing your site for these keywords, you can reach users who are not yet familiar with your brand. For Stix, if they were to rank highly for the broad term “golf clubs,” the search volume would be 10 times greater than that of their brand name – meaning a lot more traffic.

Types of Non-Branded Keywords

When it comes to non-branded keywords, there are generally four main types that you should be aware of: informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial intent keywords. Let’s take a closer look at each type:

  1. Informational Intent Keywords: These types of keywords are used when people are looking for information on a particular topic. They might be searching for answers to specific questions or researching a particular subject. For example, someone might search for “best ways to lose weight” or “how to make homemade pizza.” Informational intent keywords often include phrases like “how to”, “what is”, “tips for”, “guide to”, and so on.
  2. Navigational Keywords: Navigational keywords are used when people are trying to find a specific website or web page. For example, someone might search for “Facebook login page” or “Wikipedia homepage”. These types of keywords often include the name of the website or brand that the user is trying to find.
  3. Transactional Keywords: Transactional keywords are used when people are ready to make a purchase or take some other kind of action. They might be searching for a specific product or service, or looking for a particular website where they can make a purchase. Examples of transactional keywords include “buy”, “order”, “discount”, “coupon”, and so on.
  4. Commercial Intent Keywords: These types of keywords are used by people who are interested in buying a product or service, but aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase yet. They might be doing research on different options or trying to compare prices. Examples of commercial intent keywords include “best”, “top”, “reviews”, “compare”, and so on.

Understanding the different types of non-branded keywords can help you create content that targets specific user intent and matches your target audience’s search behavior. By using the right types of keywords, you can increase your chances of ranking higher in search results and reaching your target audience effectively.

Why ranking for non-branded keywords is important?

Ranking for non-branded keywords is crucial for driving more traffic to your website. While relying solely on your brand name may limit your reach, optimizing for non-brand keywords with commercial and informational intent allows you to target a wider audience at various stages of their customer journey.

Successful online brands understand their potential customers’ search behavior and create optimized pages and content that cater to their needs. By providing value to users during the research phase, these brands establish trust with prospective customers and increase their chances of converting them into paying customers during the commerce phase. Adopting this approach can benefit your brand too and help you stay ahead of the competition.

How to know what keywords your site ranks for

Knowing what keywords your website ranks for is crucial for developing an effective SEO strategy. Luckily, there are several tools and methods you can use to gather this data. Here are some of the best options:

  • Google Search Console: This free tool from Google is a must-have for any website owner. If you haven’t already set up your site on Google Search Console (GSC), you should do so as soon as possible. GSC will show you the keywords or queries that users are searching for when they find your site. If your report shows mostly brand keywords, you may want to focus on optimizing for non-branded keywords to expand your reach.
  • Paid SEO Tools: Platforms such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Moz provide powerful insights into how users are finding your site and the keywords they’re using. These tools offer features like keyword research, competitor analysis, and backlink tracking, making them valuable assets for any SEO strategy.
  • Professional SEO Audit: Sometimes, it’s best to call in an expert. While Google Search Console and paid SEO tools can provide a wealth of data, understanding how to translate these insights into actionable strategies requires experience. A professional SEO audit can identify areas of improvement for your website and provide specific recommendations for optimization.

By using these tools and methods to track your website’s keyword rankings, you can stay ahead of the competition and reach your target audience more effectively.

Looking to boost your non-branded traffic? Tiptop has a proven track record of helping eCommerce businesses drive millions of additional website visits with tailored content strategies. Let’s connect and see how we can help you achieve your growth goals!

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