Have you ever searched for your brand name on Google? If yes, what did you find? On the other hand, if you haven’t tried googling your brand name, now is the time to understand what branded search and branded keywords are. Ultimately, it is crucial to grasp how to optimize branded queries and turn them into profitable traffic.
First off, let’s commiserate with the definition of branded search. A disclaimer: a search engine optimization (SEO) company may call it differently but means the same thing (i.e., branded SEO, branded google optimization, etc.).
What is branded search?
When searching, a branded search pertains to displaying branded results as prompted by a branded keyword. A branded keyword is a query that includes the company name, brand name, or its products and services. Fundamentally, it consists of the brand name—yours or your rivals’—as part of the search string.
Branded search is the opposite of generic or non-branded search.
Where to find brand-driven search results?
Brand-driven searches appear in the following:
In SEO, there are organic and paid searches. Paid search technically refers to search engine marketing (SEM). Pay-per-click through Google Ads is the perfect example. You need to bid on your branded keywords here, which is a valuable strategy if you are an e-commerce company.
One of the advantages of investing in ads is controlling the screen real estate—the more places you appear on the search engine results page (SERP), the better. In addition, appearing in the top organic search and the ad sections discourage the users from scrolling down the bottom of the page and seeing your competitor listings.
Although appearing in the knowledge panel relies on Google’s algorithm, this is an added advantage for any brand.
To be featured in the Knowledge Graph, its official name, you need to have a Wikipedia page and verified social media profiles or pages, and implement Schema markup on your website.
During a branded search, Google usually generates sitelinks aside from displaying the official homepage. Unless your brand name is excessively generic, the search engine cannot regard it as a brand name entity but as a common term. Google may not display sitelinks and other snippets if your business shares the same name with others.
There is no exact science when it comes to snippets. But adding an HTML sitemap and structured data on your website helps trigger them.
People also ask
Another way to appear on SERP is in the People also ask section. This is a box featuring answers to common questions, including brand- or product-oriented questions.
If searchers use branded keywords, Google will generate query-based results. More similar queries will be displayed when the user clicks on one question. It means higher chances of being shown in this part of the results for branded terms. That is, if you clearly and directly answer the questions.
Related searchers refer to a list of keywords real users searched for when researching your brand or your competitors. This is also based on Google’s algorithms, so no brand can control this section.
Brands like you need to watch this section closely, which usually appears below the organic search results. The keywords listed here provide a clue on what is going on in the mind of your target consumers as they consider your brand, products, and services.
Carousels are an effective way to gain conversions. If you are struggling in this area, it helps to have an active Twitter, Instagram, and/or YouTube account where your brand name is prominently displayed or used. Of course, it also helps if you are owned visuals such as images that use your brand name as the anchor text.
Furthermore, it is crucial to prioritize your media library whether you are using social media or video-sharing platforms. Information-packed updates usually make it to the carousel, so publish as much relevant and valuable content as possible.
Why is ranking for branded keywords important?
Branded search is a clear demonstration of user intent. The drive is to know more about your brand and your product and service offerings. The users typing a branded keyword on the search field already know who you are, so they specifically look for your company. They intend to learn more about you.
That is why it is critical that your digital assets—website, Shopify store, marketplace profiles, or social pages—must be the first thing they should see on the results pages. They should go directly to your website, for instance, to find the information they are looking for. It can be dangerous to land on a website that is not yours or contains malicious information about you.
Ideally, you should be ranking #1 for your own brand name. However, being in the digital marketing industry since 2002, we have seen a brand’s digital assets nowhere near the first page of Google search results. These brands are outcompeted by marketplaces, aggregator websites, dummy sites, review websites, etc.
The question now is: how to capture top rankings for branded keywords? Here are the answers.
Ways to optimize for branded keywords
1) Do a simple branded search
To establish your brand’s current search performance, make sure you realize how you fare in the competition. You may not know how to proceed if the foundation of the branded search strategy is not established, but the SEO company you will hire does. The company will walk you through the process, manually searching what your target audience mainly uses branded keywords.
While at it, if you searched for your brand name and saw a list of related searches below the organic search results (or the top 10), know that these are the words that your target audience uses when searching about your company.
2) Organize your branded keywords
Keyword research can aid you in determining the branded keywords that you should be ranking for. If you can find long-tail keywords, the better because these signify purchase intent. Your target users already know that your business exists and intends to buy from you.
Targeting branded searches in the meantime can help in the various aspects of your business growth. For instance, you can increase the ranking and traffic on pages targeting generic or non-branded keywords. This is also considered a trigger because as your web pages are displayed for both branded and non-branded keywords, Google will algorithmically associate your non-branded keywords with your brand. As a result, your non-branded keywords will become highly relevant for your brand, despite no longer targeting the branded keywords down the line.
3) Implement local SEO
When trying to rank for branded keywords, implementing local SEO is critical. But, again, it boils down to geo-location targeting. As a matter of fact, local SEO is one of the most effective ways to drive branded traffic to a website, if not the most effective.
More importantly, about 46% of all Google search queries are driven by local intent (i.e., near me searches). A target user entering a branded query has inherent purchase intent—they are looking to know more about your products or services.
4) Bid on branded terms
Since branded keywords are buyer-intent keywords, it would be advisable to bid on these terms to push the users down the middle and bottom of the sales funnel. Clicks on Google ads are 2x more logical since users with higher intent naturally click on them. About 65% of all users search for particular items from a brand they already know of.
Bidding on your branded terms is a critical digital marketing strategy mainly because your competitors utilize the same strategy. Put simply, you are targeting the same audience. However, if you are not doing paid advertising yet, your rivals are doing this, and you risk pushing your audience to competitors’ landing pages.
5) Measure branded search traffic
Implementing branded SEO strategies is half the battle won—the other half is measuring the progress of the strategies and tactics implemented. For example, the exact percentage of branded traffic you generate from the paid search should be clear to you and how much of this traffic converts. In addition, you may use Google keyword planner to track the volumes of branded keywords and the changes throughout certain periods. You will know what works and does not and tweak the tactics accordingly.
Measuring traffic is crucial in allocating the marketing budget effectively. You need to make sure that the budget is used wisely, generating the expected returns for each investment.
6) Monitor brand mentions
Brand mentions are also vital in getting a feel of what and how the people talk about your company—the people’s sentiment, so they say. In this way, the branded SEO strategy is better targeted based on whether there is a volume of brand mentions or lack thereof. If the latter, your SEO agency may work to improve the frequency of brand mentions. Some of the tactics to employ are:
- Focus link building activities on integrating branded keywords on content and using branded anchor texts
- Improve search engine business listings to capture screen real estate on results pages, including Google Map and knowledge panel
- Diversify social content to include branded hashtags, particularly on content that is meant to be shared, such as contests and polls
- Amplify organic reviews from review aggregator websites to social media profiles
You may not see the value of brand mentions immediately. However, this is an organic way to build up your brand name. This is especially helpful for starting brands or companies.
Google frequently changes its search engine result pages, and there’s no perfect solution than to monitor the changes.
While at it, several reasons may explain why your brand may not appear on branded search. These are:
- Your website is not indexed
- Your website is not correctly optimized for branded keywords
- You have the same brand or product name as others
- You mainly use the brand name’s acronym
Optimind specializes in optimizing websites for both branded and non-branded or generic keywords. We can help you appear in branded-driven search results. Let’s discuss the SEO strategies to implement and improve your search performance. Talk to us today!