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What is Branded Search and Non-Branded Search?

Welcome, readers! I’m excited to explore the crucial concepts of branded search and non-branded search with you all today.

Understanding these ideas can greatly impact your business’s online discoverability and success.

What is Branded and Non-branded Search?

Branded search refers to people searching for your specific business name or products. For example, someone searches “Apple iPhone” or “Microsoft Office.”

In contrast, non-branded search is when people search for general terms related to your industry, without mentioning specific companies or products. For instance, searches like “cell phone deals” or “download office software.”

The key difference lies in the searcher’s intent. Branded queries indicate that consumers already know about your brand. Non-branded searches show they are still researching or open to discovering new options.

Branded SearchNon-Branded Search
DefinitionSearches including specific brand, product, or business namesGeneral industry-related searches without particular brands mentioned
Search IntentIndicates familiarity with and active seeking of the brandSignals early research stage, comparisons between unknown options
Search Query Examples“Coca Cola soft drinks”, “iPhone 14 case”, “Microsoft Windows help”“soda on sale”, “mobile phone accessories”, “download operating system”
Marketing FocusRetention of existing aware customersAcquisition of new unfamiliar customers
Key Optimization GoalsEnsure brand references everywhere, dedicated branding pages, structured data, earn links/authority, run paid brand campaignsThorough keyword research, targeted topic-focused content, fresh evergreen updates, earned backlinks from industry sites, leverage paid to fuel organic
Branded search vs Non-Branded search

Why These Concepts Matter

Understanding branded versus non-branded search allows you to optimize your website and marketing to reach users at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Those using your branded names are often ready to purchase. Maximizing branded visibility lets you connect with both new and returning customers as they seek you out specifically.

Alternatively, non-branded searchers may not know your company yet. Ranking for these terms helps expose new audiences to your brand. It allows you to enter the consideration set for those still comparing their options.

Reaching both groups is key for acquisition and retention. A balanced approach drives recurring revenue from existing buyers, while also capturing new consumers.

Optimizing for Each Type of Search

Now that we’ve covered the definitions and importance of branded and non-branded search, let’s explore optimization strategies for each.

Boosting Branded Search Visibility

Here are 5 proven tips to improve branded search visibility:

1. Ensure your business name, products, and services are clearly referenced across your website content. Repetition reinforces relevancy to search engines.

2. Create dedicated brand-focused pages like “About Our Company,” services pages highlighting your offerings, contact pages with business info, etc.

3. Implement structured data markup like JSON-LD that neatly labels business details onsite. This helps search engines understand the content.

4. Produce consistently high-quality, informative content that earns links and engagement. This lifts domain authority for better rankings.

5. Run paid search ads on your own brand names to appear at the top of results above organic listings.

Targeting Relevant Non-Branded Keywords

Shifting focus to rank for non-branded industry terms requires slightly different tactics:

1. Perform thorough keyword research to identify relevant searcher intent queries around problems your business solves. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or Semrush can help uncover this data.

2. Craft dedicated pages targeting each of your focus keywords, interweaving the terms in a natural, helpful way. Compare industry software options, highlight product benefits per vertical, build buying guides, etc.

3. Produce fresh, evergreen content consistently. This gives search engines new quality pages to index that may outperform stale competitors over time.

4. Secure backlinks from trusted industry websites to boost relevance for non-branded topics. Haro, guest posting, resource page lists, and outreach can help here.

5. Advertise to get found quicker, then leverage paid traffic to fuel organic growth long-term. Retarget paid visitors across devices to convert.

The tactics vary, but the concepts remain the same: understand searcher intent, then craft content matched to each stage.

Leveraging Both Approaches

While I’ve outlined branded and non-branded search strategies separately, savvy businesses blend both.

You begin by ranking around commercially viable keywords to bring in new visitors. Content and links build credibility to become an authority site.

From there, you double down on visibility around your brand itself. This catches recurring customers and converts newcomers.

Integrated thoughtfully, branded, and non-branded efforts compound each other’s impact over time. done right, it puts your business in front of users across every step of their journey.

The analytics tell the story: sites leveraging both branded and non-branded search enjoy higher overall organic traffic, lower cost-per-conversion rates, and greater ROI from content.

Quiz: What Type of Search Does My Business Need?

Now it’s your turn, dear reader! See if you can determine what search strategy would benefit your business most right now:

1. Is your business a new startup or brand?

A. Yes, we just recently launched.

B. No, we’ve been around for years.

2. Do you want to increase awareness and exposure to new audiences?

A. Yes, getting our name out there is key.

B. No, our existing customers are the most important.

3. Is your website content more brand-focused or industry-focused?

A. Mostly references our products and company.

B. Covers educational industry topics beyond just us.

4. Which business objective is most pressing for you?

A. Increasing website traffic and leads.

B. Getting recurring sales from past purchasers.

5. Do you have budget for paid search campaigns?

A. Yes, we can invest in PPC ads.

B. No, we rely on organic search currently.


Mostly A’s: Optimize for non-branded search terms. Focus on content around buyer keywords, outreach, & paid ads to increase awareness.

Mostly B’s: Prioritize branded search visibility. Ensure existing customers can easily find you as repeat purchasers.

A Healthy Mix: Use both a branded & non-branded search strategy to acquire new visitors and retain existing ones!

I hope this simple quiz helped point your business toward the right search approach today. Reach out in the comments with any other questions!

Key Takeaways

To wrap up, here are the core things to remember:

  • Branded search means seeking out a specific business or product by name, signaling established awareness and intent.
  • Non-branded search refers to general product research queries, indicating early-stage discovery or comparisons.
  • Optimizing for both branded and non-branded search allows businesses to reach users at any point in the buyer’s journey.
  • Different strategies help maximize visibility for each type of search and searcher intent. But integrated thoughtfully these approaches compound results.

Thanks for reading! I hope you feel better equipped to boost your search visibility through branded, non-branded, or blended strategies. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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