Keywords are right smack in the center of online marketing campaigns. For specific content to appear in the search results, it’s imperative one includes a specific set of search engine-friendly keywords within the body. That said, it’s necessary to understand what types of keywords target audiences typically use in their power searches and how Google perceives them.

Branded VS Non-branded Keywords

There are two types of keywords that warrant attention: Branded and Non-branded.

Branded keywords refer to the search words or phrases that include the brand name or some variation of it. So for “Company XYZ”, for instance, examples of branded keywords include Company X, CompanyX, and CompanyX.com, and long tail keywords such as Company X information, Company X testimonials, and Company X careers.

Non-branded keywords, on the other hand, don’t reference the target website’s brand name or any variation of it. What they often contain are terms that refer to what your business offers, such as “online video tutorials” or “SEO services.”

Who uses the former in their searches? People looking specifically for your business. And the latter? People who are looking for any business that provides a solution to the problem they’re trying to solve.

While the primary goal of an SEO campaign is to boost traffic from an audience that has not yet heard of your brand, it’s still important to add branded keywords to the mix. Why? Let me tell you.

Branded Keywords = Authority

Clients often ask if having top entrance keywords that are all branded means SEO isn’t working – and I often answer with a big no. In fact, for many businesses, the top keywords delivering traffic are branded ones. Is this a bad thing? Again, no. It only means they have a strong brand and people are specifically looking for them. Does Google prefer them? It’s not so much that they do, but there’s no denying that branded keywords are authoritative because they:

Provide quick information and good user experience. Searchers are always eager to find information as quickly as possible. By optimising internal company pages (e.g. about, contact, testimonials, case studies) with branded keywords, you’re not just eliminating steps, you’re also improving the user experience, as searchers will be directed to the specific page that suits their needs.

Keep anchor text linking natural. Continuous usage of the same non-branded keywords as anchor text links might appear to the search engines as some tactic for ‘gaming’ search results for that term. That said, you’re going to want to keep things natural – and one of the best ways to do it is to link to the brand, as that’s probably how someone with minimal SEO knowledge would link back to your website.

Manage online reputation. The web is brimming with user-generated content and reviews; however, if you create content that’s optimised for branded search, you control the message that’s being picked up about your brand. You want your own content to be the first thing people see and read when doing branded search, and without branded keywords, you might just leave your brand more vulnerable to searchers hitting upon content that you never created or approved.

Any good optimisation campaign should boost traffic generated from non-branded terms, sure, but this doesn’t make branded keywords any less important. In fact, Google sees branded search terms as authoritative – in that they help make businesses provide relevant results, which is always ace in Google’s book. On top of that, branded keywords imply that your business is being marketed well in other ways – it could be an ad or a direct email that sent people to your website, and that’s always a good thing.

If you’re looking to know more about keywords or learn SEO in general, then click here for more helpful tips!

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