Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords: Must Know Things

Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords: Must Know Things
When it comes to SEO, some marketers focus heavily on keywords, but in reality, it's a game of nuances, a game of knowing which keyword types to use when and enthusiastically tracking results for your strategic approach.

Today, we'll reveal an exciting aspect of this game: branded vs. non-branded keywords.

What are Branded Keywords?

Branded keywords are search terms that include a brand or company name or variations of it. These keywords are typically used by search engine users who are already aware of your brand and directly type your brand name into their search query. 

As an example, if you type “Nike running shoes” or "Tesla electric car," you are using a branded keyword in your search.

tesla electric car search on google

Branded keywords tend to have significant benefits for conversion since they often indicate a higher purchase or conversion intent. If a user includes your brand name in their search, it shows they were at least aware of your brand and could potentially be closer to buying or communicating with your company. 

These keywords are like magic words bringing qualified, motivated traffic to your website or online store.

What are Non-Branded Keywords?

Non-branded keywords, on the other hand, are search phrases that don't include a brand's name or any direct reference to a specific company. They refer more generally to the industry or products the user is interested in. 

For example, "running shoes" or "electric car" are non-branded keywords.

electric car search on google

Non-branded keywords are essential for increasing your presence among potential customers who may not yet know about you. They can help you reach a broader audience and attract new users to your website. 

Just think of them as doors to potential opportunities for attracting new leads and expanding your customer base.

The Difference Between Branded and Non-Branded Keywords

The fundamental disparity between these two types of keywords lies in the intent behind their use. Branded keywords often unfold a greater sense of purpose and closer connection to brand recognition, while non-branded keywords help businesses spread their influence more extensively across the potential user base.

Branded keywords, such as "Apple iPhone," clearly express a user's intent towards a specific brand. The user already has an interest or past experience with the brand, so the conversion chances are significantly higher. 

However, the downside is that these keywords attract narrower user traffic because they correspond to a specific brand. Hence, the audience is limited to those who are aware of the brand already.

On the contrary, non-branded keywords like "smartphone" cast a broader net. They enable businesses to pull in users who might not have been directly searching for their brands. It expands the brand visibility to users who may have never interacted with the brand. 

Yet, the challenge here is that the conversion rates may not be as high since these users may be in the initial stages of their buying journey.

  • Branded keywords are like a preferred expressway. This expressway is available only for users who are already familiar with your brand and are hence, much more likely to convert.
  • Non-branded keywords form a major connecting highway. This highway is crowded with more motorists (potential customers) who might be interested in your brand, and hence provides a greater opportunity for you to attract new users.

Hence, the primary difference between these two keyword sets revolves around the extent of the audience they cover and the likelihood of conversions.

When to Use Branded and Non-Branded Keywords

search bar and target drawing

To use branded and non-branded keywords effectively, it's crucial to understand the customer journey and align your keyword strategy with this journey. 

In the simplest terms, the customer journey spans from the awareness stage where customers first learn about you, to the consideration stage where they are weighing their options, to the decision stage when they finally decide to make a purchase.

In the awareness stage, non-branded keywords are your best bet. They serve as the bait, catching the attention of potential clients who are still browsing for options.

As customers transition to the consideration stage, a mix of branded and non-branded keywords works great. At this point, customers are familiar with your brand but are likely comparing their options, and an effective mix of these keywords can nudge them closer to conversion.

Lastly, in the decision stage, branded keywords are the most potent as these customers have a high intent to convert and are likely looking for your brand specifically.

Use Branded Keywords For:

Increasing Conversions While Spending Less

Branded keywords usually have less competition, which means a lower cost per click (CPC). Coupled with higher intent from users, this means you can increase conversions without significantly raising your marketing budget. 

Hence, using branded keywords can be an efficient tactic when budget optimization is a priority.

Protecting Your Online Reputation

Branded keywords help you control the narrative around your brand. By ensuring that you rank at the top for searches related to your brand, you get to provide the first impression to users, such as showing off positive reviews or highlighting unique selling points.

Improving Quality Score

Google's Quality Score is a metric that impacts your Ad Rank and CPC. One factor that contributes to the Quality Score is your click-through rate (CTR), and branded keywords often have higher CTRs due to brand recognition, thus improving your overall Quality Score.

Use Non-Branded Keywords For:

Raising Brand Awareness

For startups or lesser-known brands, non-branded keywords offer an incredible opportunity to level the playing field. 

By optimizing for these keywords, you can intersect consumers at a stage where they are still researching and have not yet made the final decision, and hence increase your brand visibility.

Attracting New Customers

Non-branded keywords help you cast a wide net to capture potential customers who might be interested in your industry or products but might not know of your brand yet.

Capturing Mid-to-Bottom Funnel Customers

Even among customers who are further along in their journey, some may still be using non-branded keywords to do comparative research or look for deals.

Targeting these keywords allows you to present your offerings in comparison to competitors and attract these customers.

Refining your keyword strategy over time is essential as you find out what works best for your specific business. Make sure to continually analyze and revise your SEO strategy accordingly.

🔍You may want to read: Different Types of Keywords with Real-Life Examples for SEO

Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords Optimization

In this section, we'll discover the depths of optimizing branded and non-branded keywords for our targeted goals. After all, the beauty of SEO lies in consistent and well-aligned optimization! 

So, let's jump right into the techniques and technologies that could bring your website to the pinnacle of search engine results.

5 Tactics to Increase Branded Search Traffic

Branded keywords optimization could be nailed with few primary tactics. 

Let's break them down:

1. Use Your Brand Name in the Homepage Title

The homepage of your website often ranks highest in search results for branded keywords, so it's essential to include your brand name in the title.

2. Create a Strong About Page

Many times, when people search for your brand, they are looking to know more about your company. That's where an informative, engaging, and optimised about page comes in.

3. Monitor Branded Keywords

Use tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console to monitor keywords that bring traffic to your site. This will help you understand which branded keywords are performing well and which ones need more attention.

4. Include Branded Keywords in Your Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are the previews that show up in search results. By including your brand in these descriptions, you ensure your brand is prominent in search results.

seomator search as an example to branded keyword

5. Create Brand-Specific Content

Create blog posts or articles about your brand and optimize these pages for branded keywords. This will help you control the narrative around your brand and boost your ranking for branded keywords.

Continuously track the performance of these tactics, and adjust your strategy if required. With a well-structured approach, it is possible to effectively amplify your branded search reach!

5 Methods to Ramp Up Non-Branded Search Scores

The importance of non-branded search optimization cannot be overemphasized, as it brings potential audiences to your funnel. It helps to tap those users who aren't aware of your brand but are interested in the products or services you offer.

Here are some strategies to improve your non-branded search scores:

1. Find Non-Branded Keywords that Matter

Use keyword research tools, such as SEOmator’s Free Keyword Research Tool or Google Keyword Planner, to identify non-branded keywords related to your products or services.

non-branded keyword search on SEOmator's keyword research tool

2. Create Quality Content Around Non-Branded Keywords

Think in terms of how-to articles, buying guides, blog posts, or product reviews. High-quality content that properly utilizes these non-branded keywords can rank well and draw in potential customers.

3. Optimize Your Meta Descriptions with Non-Branded Keywords

This will ensure when someone is searching for the products or services you provide, your website is likely to pop up in their search results.

4. Use Non-Branded Keywords in Your URLs

When possible, it's helpful to include non-branded keywords in your URLs as this can provide a slight SEO boost.

5. Monitor Your Performance

Just as with branded searches, keep an eye on your performance in non-branded searches. Use analytics to refine your strategy continuously.

It's important to note that while branded and non-branded keywords have their unique benefits and usage, it's the balancing act between these two that helps in achieving the optimal SEO impact. 

How to Balance Branded and Non-Branded Keywords 

The first critical aspect to understand here is that while branded and non-branded keywords serve different purposes, they are two sides of the same SEO coin. They complement each other beautifully and create the pillars of a robust SEO strategy when used together.

Using branded keywords allows you to garner traffic from users who are already aware of and interested in your brand. On the other hand, non-branded keywords give you the opportunity to draw in new visitors who might be intrigued by the products or services you offer, even if they aren't familiar with your brand yet.

An insightful strategy includes a balanced mix of these keyword types depending upon the stage of your business, traffic goals, and brand awareness.

Knowing When to Start Using Branded Keywords

Let's start with when to incorporate branded keywords into your strategy. Usually, it's advantageous to start using branded keywords when:

🌟Your brand starts becoming recognized and searched for online.

🌟You notice competitors have started bidding on your branded keywords.

🌟You brainstorm and find additional branded keyword variations that users are searching for.

Applying these simple steps would ensure that you utilize your brand recognition effectively and block competitors from leveraging your brand name.

Using Branded Keyword Data to Adjust Non-Branded Keywords

Next, branded keywords could also act as an insightful data source to refine your non-branded keywords. Here's how:

💡Analyze what subjects or products are driving people to search for your brand.

💡Identify the branded keywords that have the highest conversion rates.

💡Use this information to refine your non-branded keyword strategy.

Iterating your non-branded keyword strategy based on branded keyword data can help you bring more efficiency and targeted refinement into your strategy.

Knowing When to Keep Branded and Non-Branded Keywords Separate

Lastly, while it's fruitful to use branded and non-branded keywords together, there are situations where it's better to keep them separate:

📌When tracking the performance of your SEO strategy, keep branded and non-branded keyword performance separate. This will help you better understand how each type of keyword is adding value to your strategy.

📌In certain paid advertising campaigns, you may want to separate ad groups based on branded and non-branded keywords. This will allow for more efficient budget allocation and messaging customization.

When it comes to integrating branded and non-branded keywords, balance and strategic alignment are your best friends. Combining them intelligently can put you on the royal road to towering SEO milestones.

Now, another exciting angle we should explore is how our competitors play into our branded and non-branded keyword strategies

Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords and Your Competitors

In the world of SEO, knowing what your competitors are doing isn't just about playing a sneaky spy game. On the contrary, it is an essential part of developing a well-strategized, successful SEO plan. It equips you with vital data and insights, which can empower your decision-making process. 

Here is how you can do it:

Identifying Competitors' Branded Keywords

Your competitors' branded keywords can hold valuable insights. Identifying them through tools such as SEOmator or Google Keyword Planner allows you to stay informed about the potential challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Google Ads keyword planner tool

Analyzing Non-Branded Keywords Used by Competitors

In this expanding digital universe, coming across a unique, untapped keyword might be as rare as discovering a new star in the vast cosmos! Hence, understanding the non-branded keywords your competition is ranking for not only helps you identify new keyword opportunities but also helps you streamline your own non-branded keyword strategy.

Continuous Competitor Analysis

The world of SEO is ever-changing and so are the strategies of your competitors. Regular and vigilant competitor analysis ensures you're never caught off-guard. Remember the famous adage, "The only thing constant in life is change,”? Well, it applies perfectly to SEO!

Strategically React to Your Competitors

Once you start generating rich data about your competitors' keyword strategies, it's vital not to be reactionary but rather make agile and strategic responses.

If you find a competitor bidding on your branded keywords, don't panic. Instead, focus on strategic responses that could include outbidding them or focusing on strengthening your non-branded keyword strategy to compensate for it.

By mastering these competencies, you are setting up a robust mechanism that aids your performance by leveraging the activity in your competitive landscape. Embrace this technique as an integral part of your SEO journey!

However, while keeping an eye on your competitors' keyword strategies can help to keep your game sharp, never lose sight of your primary focus - providing incomparable value to your target audience through your distinguished and original content.

Your competitors' strategies should only serve as ripples that help steer your boat; they should never become the storm undermining your course!

Case Studies

There's no better way to strengthen and validate our learning than by seeing real organizations successfully leveraging these concepts. It's time to turn theory into practice!

Let's see specific examples of successful use of these keywords, from a famous e-commerce giant to a respected personal care brand.


As an e-commerce behemoth, Amazon's strategy is an impressive blend of branded and non-branded keywords. The canny use of branded keywords like "Amazon Echo" or "Amazon Prime" ensures that any search containing "Amazon" directs traffic to their site. They have also smartly turned certain product categories into their branded keywords. Search for "Kindle", and Amazon is right there owning the SERPs.

amazon echo as an example to non-branded keyword

But Amazon hasn’t stopped at branded keywords alone. They employ a vast array of non-branded keywords ranging from "online shopping" to specific product searches like "men's running shoes".

This strategy helps them to pull in the broad audience base surfing the net for online shopping needs, thus maximizing their brand visibility and reach.


Renowned personal and skincare brand Dove has also proven adept at using branded and non-branded keywords. Branded keywords such as "Dove soap" or "Dove shampoo" help endorse their products effectively.

In addition, they strategically employ non-branded keywords like "skincare products", "nourishing shampoo", or "moisturizing soap", capturing a broad audience interested in these products, even if they aren't specifically searching for Dove.

skindcare product search on google as an example to non-branded keyword

These examples show us how powerful the blend of branded and non-branded keywords can prove to be, irrespective of the size of a business. They show us that effective SEO strategies can help multinational corporations and personal care brands to achieve their unique business goals.

Each brand we studied today has its unique keyword journey, and so do you. So, take these insights, shape them, twist them, and turn them into your unique SEO masterpiece.

In the next section, we'll be wrapping up our discussion with the gripping finale to our exploration of branded vs. non branded keywords. We'll tie it all up together by understanding the comparative impact of branded and non-branded keywords and discussing the delicate balance between them. 

So, hold on to your curiosity and enthusiasm as we prepare to set sail towards the conclusion of our enchanting SEO voyage!

🔍You may want to read: How to Monitor Competitor Prices? Best Tips & Practices


As we've navigated this journey, we've discovered that the "better" keyword type depends on your unique business context, your customers, and what stage of growth your company is at.

For a well-established business with a strong brand reputation, branded keywords may produce better results as they capture high-intent users searching for their brand. These users often have a higher conversion rate, improving your Return on Investment (ROI).

Conversely, for startups or lesser-known brands, non-branded keywords may pack a larger punch. They provide an opportunity to appear in front of potential customers who aren't aware of your specific brand yet but are interested in what you have to offer.

Hence, the crux of the matter is that both branded and non-branded keywords are important elements of your SEO strategy, and striking the right balance between them significantly impacts your success.

Shift your strategy between these keyword types fluidly, based on:

🎯Marketing Goals: If your goal is to increase sales or conversions, branded keywords could take the lead. For raising awareness or increasing website traffic, non-branded keywords may be your hero.

🎯Stage of Business Growth: Newly launched businesses should focus more on non-branded keywords to capture a wider audience base. Established businesses can leverage branded keywords to capitalize on their brand reputation.

🎯Campaign Performance: Keep a pulse on your campaign metrics. Seeing higher success with one keyword type over another could indicate where to focus your efforts.

Don’t forget that SEO isn't static. It's essential to remain agile and consistently revisit your strategy to adapt to ever-evolving search engine algorithms, market trends, and consumer behavior.

To continuous learning, continuous growth, and continuous SEO success!

Related Articles

How to Add Keywords to Google My Business

Understanding Nofollow Links vs. Dofollow Links

Content Outline: Steps, Benefits, and Guide to Boost Your SEO Strategy