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What Are Branded Keywords and How to Use Them for SEO and PPC?

Julia McCoy
Sunday, 16th Jun 2024
what are branded keywords

Squeezing through the noise of online competition demands creativity and strategy. Branded keywords, which include your company or product name, offer a powerful tool for establishing a prominent online presence.

Many people assume that ranking for branded keywords is easy, but that’s not always the case. Even if you have a well-established brand, you may face challenges from competitors bidding on your branded ads or from negative reviews and content that can harm your online reputation.

By understanding what branded keywords are and how to optimize for them, you can take control of your brand’s online reputation and attract more qualified leads to your website.

Table Of Contents:

What Are Branded Keywords?

A branded keyword is any search query that includes your company name, product name, or a variation of your brand.

For example, some branded keywords for my agency, Content Hacker, might include:

  • Content Hacker
  • Content Hacker Academy
  • Julia McCoy Content Hacker
  • Content Hacker Content Transformation Course

Branded keywords are the searches people type in when they’re looking specifically for you and your offerings. These branded searches often have high intent and can lead to increased traffic and conversions.

Why Are Branded Keywords Important in SEO?

Now, you might be thinking – if someone’s searching for my brand name, I’m going to show up anyway. Why do I need to optimize for branded keywords?

Here’s the thing: branded searches have the highest conversion rates of any keywords. When someone types your brand name into Google, they’re usually pretty far along in the buyer’s journey. They’re not just browsing — they’re ready to take action.

Optimizing for branded keywords is how you make sure you’re not only showing up but also showing up with the exact content and messaging that will seal the deal.

It’s how you guide people to your highest-converting pages and offers.

How to Find Branded Keywords

Finding your branded keyphrases is crucial for understanding how people search for your business online. By identifying these keywords, you can optimize your website and content to attract more targeted traffic and improve your search engine rankings.

Here are some effective methods to uncover your brand’s top keywords:

Do a Quick Google Search

Google’s autocomplete features can help you quickly find your branded keywords.

Start by typing your brand name into Google’s search bar. Take note of the autocomplete suggestions that appear as you type. These suggestions are based on the most popular searches related to your brand.

what are branded keywords google search

Scroll Down to Related Searches

Another valuable resource for finding branded keyphrases is the “Related searches” section located at the bottom of Google’s search results page.

When you search for your brand, you’ll notice this section resembles the suggested phrases you’ve already encountered.

However, if you explore one of these suggested phrases, you’ll gain deeper insights into related search queries and potential branded keywords.

what are branded keywords related searches

Use Google’s Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner is a powerful tool that helps you discover relevant keywords for your brand. Simply enter your brand name and variations into the tool, and it will generate a list of related keywords along with their search volume and competition level.

This data can help you prioritize which branded keyphrases to target in your SEO and content marketing efforts.

Analyze Your Website’s Search Queries

Dive into your website’s analytics data to see which search queries are driving traffic to your site.

Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide valuable insights into the keywords people use to find your website.

Look for branded keyphrases that appear frequently in your queries report and consider optimizing your content around those terms.

Conduct Competitor Keyword Research

Analyzing your competitors’ keywords can also help you identify branded keyphrases you may have overlooked.

Use tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for and consider incorporating relevant branded terms into your own keyword strategy.

Dive Into Social Media

Social media platforms can be a goldmine for discovering how people talk about your brand online.

Use social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite or BrandMentions to track mentions of your brand name and related keywords across various social channels. This can help you identify common phrases and hashtags associated with your brand that you can use in your keyword targeting.

By implementing these strategies, you can uncover a wealth of branded keyphrases that will help you optimize your website, create targeted content, and improve your search engine visibility.

Remember to regularly review and update your keyword list as your brand evolves and new search trends emerge.

Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords

Of course, branded keywords are only one piece of the SEO puzzle. To really crush the search game, you need a solid mix of both branded and non-branded keywords in your strategy.

Non-branded keywords are the generic searches people do when they’re looking for a product, service, or information related to your industry — but not your brand specifically.

For example, some non-branded keywords for Content Hacker might be:

  • SEO writing course
  • Content marketing strategy
  • Freelance writing tips

The main difference is that non-branded keywords are much broader and more competitive. You’re not just competing with other companies like yours — you’re competing with everyone who has content related to that topic.

When to Use Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are most effective for bottom-of-funnel content — things like product pages, contact forms, consultation requests, etc. This is where you want to be hyper-targeted and really speak to people who are already familiar with your brand.

You should also use branded keywords for reputation management. Bidding on your own brand terms in PPC, for example, lets you control the narrative and ensure your best content shows up when people search for you directly.

When to Use Non-Branded Keywords

Non-branded keywords, on the other hand, are best for top-of-funnel content that builds awareness and trust with new audiences.

Think blog posts, guides, videos — anything that educates and engages people who might not know about you yet.

Non-branded keywords are also key for competitor analysis. Researching the generic terms your rivals are targeting can spark new content ideas and help you find keyword gaps where you can rank organically and attract more search traffic.

Let Branded Keywords Guide Your Non-Branded Keywords

Your branded keyword data can give you valuable insights into how to optimize your non-branded keyword strategy.

Look at the specific terms people are using to find you – are there any patterns or common themes?

For example, if a lot of your branded traffic is coming from searches like “Content Hacker SEO course reviews”, that’s a clue that you should be targeting more non-branded keywords around SEO courses and creating more bottom-funnel content like case studies and testimonials.

Keep Branded and Non-Branded Keywords Separate

Make sure to keep your branded and non-branded keywords separate when it comes to tracking and reporting. They have different goals and KPIs, so lumping them together can muddy your data and make it harder to spot opportunities.

I recommend setting up separate campaigns or tracking tags for each type of keyword. That way you can clearly see how your branded vs. non-branded efforts are contributing to your overall SEO success and make data-driven decisions to optimize your content marketing strategy.

The bottom line? Branded and non-branded keywords are like peanut butter and jelly — they’re great on their own, but they’re even better together.

By understanding the role each type of keyword plays in your SEO strategy, you can create content that drives real results at every stage of the funnel and build a strong, recognizable brand that stands out in the crowded digital marketing landscape.

Key Takeaway: Optimize your branded keywords to seal the deal with high-intent searches, ensuring you’re showing up with the exact content and messaging that drives conversions and guides users to your highest-converting pages and offers.

Measuring Brand Awareness with Branded Keywords

A useful indicator of your brand awareness efforts is tracking the searches for your branded keywords. It lets you gauge the impact of your marketing so you can make the necessary adjustments.

When you see an increase in branded traffic, it’s a good sign that more people are becoming aware of your brand.

Website Traffic Metrics

One of the best ways to measure brand awareness is by looking at your website traffic metrics. Specifically, you want to track the volume of organic search traffic coming from branded keywords.

An increase in branded search volume over time indicates that your brand awareness is growing. Tools like Google Analytics make it easy to see how much traffic is coming from branded vs. non-branded keywords.

Social Media Metrics

Brands that truly understand their online presence monitor their social media metrics closely. This includes tracking brand mentions, looking at hashtag usage, and keeping an eye on shares and engagement.

When your brand gains more recognition, you’ll typically see a boost in social media metrics. Utilize tools like Sprout Social and Mention to monitor brand mentions across various social media sites.

Media Coverage Metrics

The power of earned media coverage is immense. Land interviews, get praised in press mentions, and thrill readers with reviews — all potent ways to boost brand awareness and show the world what you’re made of.

As the mentions pile up, it’s a surefire sign that your brand’s visibility is on the rise. The key is to track these branded keyword metrics consistently over time. That’s the only way to know if your brand awareness efforts are truly paying off.

What are branded keywords if not a direct reflection of how well-known your company is becoming?

Optimizing Your SEO and PPC Campaigns with Branded Keywords

Now that you know how to measure brand awareness, let’s talk about how to actually optimize your SEO and PPC campaigns using branded keywords.

A lot of marketers make the mistake of only focusing on non-branded keywords. But branded keywords are also an important part of a holistic digital marketing strategy.

Improving Quality Score

For PPC campaigns, bidding on your own branded keywords can actually help improve your Quality Scores.

Since branded keywords are highly relevant to your business, they tend to have high click-through rates and conversion rates.

Google takes this into account when calculating Quality Scores. So by targeting branded terms, you can give your PPC campaigns a boost and get more bang for your buck.

Protecting Online Reputation

Branded keywords play an important role in online reputation management as well. By bidding on your own brand terms, you can better control the message searchers see.

Otherwise, you risk competitors or negative press showing up when people search for your brand.

Securing the top search ads spots for your branded keywords ensures that searchers see the content you want them to see.

Increasing Conversions and Reducing Costs

The great thing about branded keywords is that they tend to convert at a very high rate. Think about it – if someone is searching for your brand name, they’re likely already pretty far down the funnel.

So by targeting branded keywords in your SEO and PPC efforts, you can drive more high-converting traffic at a relatively low cost. Branded keywords often have lower competition and costs than non-branded terms.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should ignore non-branded keywords altogether. The key is to find the right balance and allocate your budget effectively across both branded and non-branded terms.

Unlock the power of branded keywords and take your search engine ranking, reputation, and conversions to the next level. Simply by incorporating these keywords into your SEO strategy, you’ll be generating more leads and beating the competition to the punch.

FAQs: What Are Branded Keywords?

What are brand keywords for SEO?

Think of brand keywords as a personalized signature that identifies your brand online. They’re specific words and phrases that people type into search engines to find your business, product, or service, such as “Apple iPhone cases” or ” Nike Air Force 1 shoes”.

These keywords help search engines understand your brand’s identity and improve your visibility in search results.

What are branded vs non-branded keywords?

Branded keywords mention your brand name whereas non-branded keywords are generic phrases that describe your product or business.

For example, “Samsung TV reviews” is a branded keyword, while “best 4K TVs under $1000” is a non-branded keyword.

Both types are essential for a balanced SEO strategy.

How do I find my brand keywords?

Uncover your brand keywords by digging into your website’s Google Analytics, social media insights, and customer reviews. Look for patterns in what people are searching for when they find your brand online.

You can also use SEO tools like Google Search Console to identify branded search queries and spot trends. This will help you find the sweet spot where your brand and customers intersect.


Branded keywords are a powerful tool in SEO that leverages the recognition and trust associated with a company’s name or products.

By strategically incorporating them into your content and PPC campaigns, you can enhance visibility, drive targeted traffic, and strengthen your brand presence online.

Written by Julia McCoy

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