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What Is The Best Way to Rank for Keywords? Brand vs Non-Brand Strategies 

branded keywords

A lot of small businesses want to rank top in search engines, but don’t know how to go about it. When it comes to SEO, there are a lot of factors to consider, but the most important ones are either the targeted keywords of keywords you are targeting and how you wield the use of brand vs non-brand keywords. 

In this article, we will help you solve every bugging question you seem to have about brand vs non-brand keywords. Apart from discussing how to get branded and non-branded searches, we will also teach you how to track them for a better output.

What Are Branded and Non-Branded Keywords?

If you have been trying to rank your website for a while, you must be familiar with brand vs non-brand search. 

Branded keywords are those that are specifically related to your company or product while non-branded keywords, on the other hand, are keywords that are generic and can be applied to any business in a given industry. 

For example:

  • “Apple” is a known keyword typically referred to as the electronics giant, so its non-branded keyword will be “phone”, which is not specific to one brand but is a type of product.
  • Another illustration would be the keyword, ” Nike”. Nike is a brand keyword for Nike Company while “running shoes” is an effective term for its non-branded search. 

When it comes to SEO, you not only want to use effective strategies but also consult an SEO Agency which is the fastest way to rank top as soon as possible. 

The Easiest Ways To Tell Which Keywords Are Branded or Non-Branded?

  • There isn’t any hard-and-fast rule for getting maximum results from using branded vs non-branded keywords.

The results are so versatile that sometimes a brand becomes so known that its associated keyword gains as much popularity as the non-branded keyword.

Whereas, there are times when a non-branded keyword becomes so relevant to a particular business that it performs way better than even the brand’s associated keywords.

However, you can effectively use these simple hacks:  

1. First and foremost, start by checking the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). If the brand search of a word ranks more, then the word is likely to be branded.

2. The next hack is to use a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner or SEMrush to study the monthly search volume of a certain keyword. If the results for a branded search seem to be more, then, people are more likely to search for a specific company or product than they are for a general term.

3. Lastly, you should utilize Google Search results to take a look at the organic search results for a given keyword. The keyword in the first 3 brand results that show up is likely to be branded.

What Are the Benefits And Drawbacks of Each?

A lot of businesses would rather focus on ranking their brand name so they can control the search engine result page (SERP). This is so they can help their potential customers enjoy a seamless experience that ultimately leads to them clicking through to their business website.

However, focusing on this strategy implies that you will have to rely on how much people are aware of your brand and how often they type it into the search bar. This can be a huge challenge, as people often use different alterations of a keyword (or even misspell it) when they are searching.

Non-brand keywords are essentially any other keywords related to your business that you want to rank for. Here, you don’t have to rely on people knowing your brand or typing it into the search bar correctly. All you need to do is to target any relevant and related keywords you want and still rank high on the search engine results pages. 

Although, the major drawback here is that you are likely to have more competition so you will have to put extra effort into your research and planning to ensure the right keywords are targeted.

Which Approach Is Better for SEO Ranking: Branded Keywords or Non-Branded Keywords?

Most business owners are stuck between using branded keywords and non-branded keywords. Now the question becomes, “Which approach is better for SEO ranking?” 

Nonetheless, the answer to this question isn’t all black and white. This is because having your business show up as a brand or non-brand search heavily depends on a variety of factors, such as the uniqueness of your industry and how competitive your targeted keywords are.

Although, most times, branded keywords are often more effective than non-branded keywords.

Branded keywords are specific to your company or product and are easier to rank because there is less competition. Here, you are targeting people who are already conversant with your brand, are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer and are more likely to convert into customers but you will have to be limited to the number of people looking for your company or specific product.

Non-branded keywords, on the other hand, are less targeted and less effective because there’s more competition, and they’re less likely to generate traffic because they’re not specific to your business. Besides, your ranking is more likely to be affected by consistent changes in search engine algorithms. 

What Are Some Effective Brand vs Non-Brand Keyword Strategies?

As much as you want to rank top, you must also try not to use branded words as they can be classified as spammy which will, in turn, affect your SEO ranking. Rather, try sticking to one or two brand keywords for each page and augment them with non-brand keywords.

Which Brand vs Non-Brand Keyword Strategy Is Best for Your Business?

The strategy you end up using has to be dependent on what you are trying to achieve.

– If you need to drag traffic to your website and also increase your brand awareness, then targeting brand keywords is the way to go.

– If all you need is to rank higher for specific products or services, then targeting non-brand keywords is the better strategy.

How Can You Use Both Branded and Non-Branded Keywords in Your SEO Strategy?

Now that you have a better idea of how branded and non-branded searches work, you don’t have to be in a rush, trying to fix things.

You can use both the branded and non-branded keywords in your SEO strategy so you don’t have to choose one to forego the other.

Just pay attention to using the right keywords in the right places. For a better understanding, use these simplified steps as a guide:

1. Using a branded keyword as an anchor text for your website links is the fastest way to improve your website’s SEO ranking for those specific keywords.

2. Utilize non-branded keywords as the focus of your content marketing strategy, if you intend to keep attracting new visitors who are searching for information on those specific keywords.

3. Use a mix of brand and non-brand keywords in your paid search campaigns. This will help you to reach more people who are interested in both types of products or services via brand and non-brand search. 


The most effective way to improve your SEO ranking is to use a combination of the aforementioned brand and non-brand strategies. Now that you understand the benefits and drawbacks of these strategies better, choosing the best option for your business may be more confusing. If you’re still not sure which strategy is right for you, our team of SEO experts are ready to review, analyze your data and provide solutions to help you rank top on search engines.

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.