Branded vs non-branded keywords

July 10, 2023

Discover the difference between keywords in organic SEO and PPC campaigns

Keywords are a vital part of your digital content and should always be carefully considered. In this article we explain the difference between branded and non-branded keywords, when they should be used within your content, and how both sets of keywords can complement each other.

What are keywords?

First things first – what actually are keywords? Well, keywords are words that are ‘key’ to highlighting what you want to talk about; be it content about your business, the products and services you offer, or topical information relating to your brand. 

Keywords don’t just have to be one word either – they can be phrases too and are often referred to as ‘search terms’. This is because keywords relate to what people search for on the likes of Google, so these are also known as ‘search queries’.  

For any business with a digital presence, keywords are very important in aligning your brand with what people are searching for online. As such, to really make an impact on Google, you’ll want to establish a clear keyword strategy to stand the best chance of ranking in a crowded marketplace. 

Keyword research is an essential part of your website’s content and will provide a good starting point if you are keen to introduce SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and paid advertising to your marketing plans. If you’re writing blogs, keywords are what connects that content with readers. 

Types of keywords

Keywords fall into one of two categories:

  1. Short keywords – these are restricted to just one or two words (terms), for example ‘car’ or ‘electric car’
  2. Long-tail keywords – these will typically contain three words (terms) or more so appear structured like a sentence or phrase, for example ‘family friendly car with seven seats’

Using keywords in organic SEO

Organic keywords are those implemented through SEO and their purpose is to attract users to a website without having to pay for advertising. When keywords are used properly in organic SEO, they can effectively engage people looking for similar services or solutions. Known as ‘free traffic’ this sets the bar for what can be achieved organically. 

A great way to generate keywords through organic SEO is by writing blogs and articles, updating copy on website pages and refining metadata (these are the title tags and descriptions on each of your web pages).   

Using keywords in PPC

At the other end of the spectrum are keywords that are implemented via PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns which is a form of paid advertising. Unique keywords relating to your brand are identified in a bid to rank for those search terms, in order to increase online visibility and drive traffic to your website. As with an auction, keywords can be ‘bid’ upon for the opportunity to outrank competitors in the marketplace and thus appear on top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). 

This is where branded and non-branded keywords come into play, as these are the two main types of PPC-based keywords. We explain more about this, below…   

What is the difference between branded and non-branded keywords?

PPC advertising is a preferred choice for businesses keen to generate traffic immediately, be it for capturing enquiries or as a direct way of selling online. It can be considered as quick-win for businesses that have a high turnover of products or stock. Here we explain the difference between branded and non-branded keywords:

What are branded keywords?

Branded keywords are terms that include your business (brand) name within the word or phrase. These are ideal for attracting customers who are already familiar with your business or the products you offer. For example, the branded keywords we could use would be ‘67 Degrees websites’.  

What are non-branded keywords?

Non-branded keywords are – you’ve guessed it – terms that don’t include the name of your business (brand). Instead, these are used to engage with potential customers who do not currently know what you offer or aren’t familiar with the services you provide. For example, the non-branded keyword we could use would be ‘websites for car dealers’.  

How branded and non-branded keywords work together

Don’t be fooled into thinking that these have to be used separately. In fact, branded and non-branded keywords can complement each other as part of a wider keyword strategy or bespoke PPC campaign. It’s all about striking a balance. 

A good starting point is to establish the best branded keywords for your business, as these can prove easier to rank for organically. Once this strategy is off the ground and you are seeing results, it’s time to introduce an SEO plan that incorporates non-branded keywords while maintaining your branded keyword efforts too. 

Together, branded and non-branded keywords play their part at various stages of the sales process – right from research to purchase. Below we dig a bit deeper into how to do this… 

When to use branded and non-branded keywords

So you’ve established the right type of branded and non-branded keywords and now the hard work can really begin!  

When to use branded keywords

Branded keywords are an ideal solution within PPC advertising when you want to achieve the following:

  • To increase brand awareness and establish an online reputation 
  • To increase online conversions without blowing the budget
  • To improve your overall Quality Score on Google   

When to use non-branded keywords

Non-branded keywords in PPC advertising are the way to go if you hope to make gains in these areas: 

  • To drive more traffic to your website
  • To attract new customers 
  • To highlight offers or discounts 

Strengthen your keyword strategy

At 67 Degrees, we don’t just create great-looking websites for businesses in the motor industry, but also offer a range of automotive marketing services to enhance your online presence. Our SEO experts are skilled at building a keyword strategy to suit your dealership. 

In addition to this, our marketing team can develop targeted PPC campaigns as part of paid media solutions, and our creative content team is able to complement the organic keyword strategy through blogs and on-page changes. Whatever your needs, we’ve got you covered; get in touch with us today and let’s discuss how we can accelerate your business.

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