[PPC Advertising] Branded Keywords 101
Branded keywords are a huge part of SEO. If you haven’t included them in your SEO strategy already, then you’re making a big mistake. According to Forbes, branded keywords are only 10% of users’ search queries, but their conversion rate is 100% higher than non-branded keywords.
So branded keywords don’t get searched as often, but they are much more reliable than non-branded keywords at landing you traffic. Any startup should have a clear understanding of what branded keywords are, and how to account for them in their SEO efforts.
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of branded keywords: what they are, how to identify them, and how to optimize for them.
What Are Branded Keywords?
Branded keywords are search queries that include within them a brand name or a variation of that brand name. In most cases, a branded keyword will include the name of your company. A search query with branded keywords for Aspiration Marketing could look like this:
Aspiration Marketing Recruitment Marketing
Aspiration Marketing Blog
But it can also be a variation of your main brand name. So, for example, if a user wants to look up a washing machine from General Electric, they’re probably going to search for:
GE washing machine
GE, being a variant of General Electric, would also fall under the branded keyword category.
Finally, branded keywords can also be applied to branded products or services. These can be search queries for products that are accompanied by your brand name. For example, something like:
But it can also refer to product names that refer back to your brand on their own, without the need to include your brand name in the search. These products are often very closely linked to your business, and they carry your signature in their name already. For instance:
You probably already know what brands each of those products are related to, because these products are so specific to the company that produces them that they are an extension of that company’s brand on their own.
What Are My Branded Keywords?
Knowing what branded keywords are in general doesn’t always mean that you can know all the branded keyboards associated with your business. Before getting started, it’s important to make sure you have a good understanding of your own branded keywords so that you’re not leaving anything out when you start your website optimization.
The best way to start is to simply do a quick Google search of your company. Type in your company name (and nothing else!) into the search box, and before you start the search, let Google offer suggestions to you. See what Google thinks are the most relevant queries for your company name. After discarding the irrelevant auto-suggestions, you’ll have a list of some of your top branded keyword searches.
Now, hit enter, and scroll to the bottom of the SERP. Google will suggest “Related searches” based on your query. This list will add a few more relevant branded keyword searches to the auto-suggestions you looked at before.
At this point, you should already have a few queries to work with. But if you feel like it’s not enough and you want to take it a step further, you can use Google Analytics to analyze your Queries and figure out your branded keywords through that as well. If you don’t use Google Analytics, you can use any third-party SEO software, like the one offered by Hubspot.
How Do I Optimize For My Branded Keywords?
Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to start optimizing. Here’s a quick list of things you can do to make sure your branded keyword SEO game is at its best.
1. Start with local optimization
The first thing you should do when working on branded keywords is to get all your local SEO work done first.
To do this, you should ensure that your company is listed on popular sites. Places like Yelp, Yellow pages, Google My Business, Google Maps, and other local catalogs are what you’re looking for. Once you do this, Google will start to recognize your brand in more and more places, and will treat it as more reliable and more legitimate.
Make sure that you’re doing the housework: keep your information updates local (especially on Google My Business) and, if you can, try to drive some engagement on other websites. Get reviews for your business posted on Maps or Yelp!
2. Don’t forget offsite efforts
Onsite optimizations are your SEO bread and butter, and they require a lot of time, but you shouldn’t forget about offsite SEO. By offsite, what we mean is anywhere outside of your brand’s website, on the wider web or in the real world.
Things like social media presence, guest content (blogs, podcasts, webinars, etc.), and awareness campaigns done outside of your website are a great way to drive traffic through branded keywords. If, for example, you write a guest blog for another brand’s blog, people interested in that blog will be more likely to do branded keyword searches for you.
Out of all offsite efforts, social media is definitely the most important. People spend way more time browsing social media than they do any other part of the internet. So if find yourself being to able to focus on only one thing, make sure it’s social media.
Setting up branded imagery on your social media profiles is a great way to ensure your brand name sticks with people who are exposed to your social media content. Make sure that your social media presence is contributing to the spread of your brand. Incorporate your brand name into your posts and in the media you share.
3. Optimize site links
When users do a search on Google, they will be shown up to six links under the top result. These are what are called site links.
Make sure that you’re always up to date on which pages on your website will be shown as site links under branded keyword searches. The goal is to heavily focus on optimizing your landing page, and whatever site links Google is displaying. Google’s “site links best practices” are:
- Keep page titles and headings relevant and concise.
- Ensure your pages are intuitively navigated by users.
- Use links to guide users through your website.
- Avoid repetitive content.
4. Create branded content
Creating content that includes your branded keywords is one of the best ways to optimize for them. When your content drives traffic, and that content contains branded keywords, then you’ll be increasing the relevancy and weight of your branded keyword searches. This practice is extremely important to branded keyword SEO.
The great thing about branded content is that you’re not really limited on the type of content you create. Your objective is to create quality content that people want to consume, that also includes branded keywords. It can be educational blogs, case studies, reviews on products or services, ebooks, whitepapers, FAQs, or even videos.
Comparison content, where you compare your brand to a competitor, is especially good for branded keyword optimization. What you’ll be doing is that you’ll be connecting your branded keywords with your competitors' branded keywords. If your content is good enough, search engines might show your content when users search for your competitors' branded keywords.
Make sure that no matter what you do, the content you produce is still of high quality, and is honest. If you bloat your page with branded keywords, Google will eventually flag it, and it will actually end up doing more harm to your SEO than good.
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