Branded organic traffic comes from your branded keywords. These keywords are queries that contain your company or product names. For example, DJI (a company primarily known for their camera drones) could have branded keywords that include DJI drones, Mavic 3 (a particular model of drone), and OcuSync (a technology created by DJI solely for their drones). By using terms that include products unique to DJI, they become branded keywords.

Branded keywords are great at attracting users that are already aware of your brand. These users already have built some trust around your product, meaning they are more likely to convert on your site.

Identifying false branded keywords

A caveat to be aware of is that some keywords that initially seem like they should be branded may not be. There are a few situations which may cause this.

Multiple domains might target a keyword and use it semantically. An example is the keyword “amazon discount”. Because there are many discount code and coupon websites that target that keyword, it isn’t currently considered a branded keyword for Amazon. Amazon could, however, develop a content strategy to change “amazon discount” into a branded keyword, which would involve creating or optimising a page with all of their discounted products for that specific keyword.

Another reason a branded keyword can become unbranded is when the keyword has multiple meanings or there are multiple brands with the same name. For example, if there are two authoritative businesses called ABC Healthcare and ABC Travel, the query “ABC” becomes  a non-branded term since both businesses both have authority for its use.

What is non-branded organic traffic?

Non-branded organic traffic comes from non-branded keywords. These are keywords about your brand or products but don’t include company or brand names.

For a company like Sony, non-branded keywords could include “wireless earphones” or “mirrorless camera”. These are keywords that describe the products Sony sells but don’t mention Sony or specific product names.

Non branded keywords are useful for reaching a wider range of users that aren’t looking for a specific brand and are in the discovery phase. The drawback of this is that it may be harder to convert these users as they likely haven’t established trust in your brand.

Is branded or non-branded traffic more important?

Both branded and non-branded keywords have their purposes, and your strategy might involve both to varying extents depending on your objectives.

Larger, more established businesses might focus more on branded keywords, but still often use a combination of the two. For smaller businesses, focusing primarily on non-branded keywords can be a great strategy for reaching a wider audience and establishing authority.

How to integrate branded and non-branded keywords into your SEO strategy

Regardless of whether you’re focusing on branded or non-branded keywords, the first step is to separate your organic traffic into branded and non-branded organic keywords. It’s useful to begin monitoring these separated keywords at the beginning of your strategy. Doing this not only helps you see how your content is performing, but also allows you to see potential impacts down the line as you implement changes. For example, if Sony wanted to target the keyword “mirrorless camera”, they could implement on-page optimisations. After making these changes, they could determine the impact they’ve seen based on their tracked data.

How to find your branded & non-branded organic traffic

There are several paid tools that can make finding your branded and non-branded keywords quick and easy.

As far as free tools go, Google Search Console (GSC) is one of the easier to use for gathering your keyword data but requires a bit more effort to separate between branded and non-branded.

To gather your branded keywords data, go into your Google Search Console profile and go to the Performance > Search Results tab. Within this tab, select your desired date range and click the + to add a new query. This query should contain one of your branded terms. You can then export these queries which include your clicks and impressions. You then need to repeat this for your remaining branded terms.

Gathering your non-branded keywords data is a similar process. When you choose your new query, you simply choose “does not contain” and one of your main branded terms. You can then export this list of queries, but you may need to search through it to ensure no branded terms have slipped through, such as misspellings of brand names.

Once you’ve determined your branded and non-branded keywords, you can monitor them throughout your strategy to help determine if the changes you make have potentially impacted your website’s clicks or impressions. You can also track your rankings for these keywords through third-party tools to see whether your site pages’ change ranking positions throughout your campaign.

How to improve branded traffic

The primary way you can improve your branded traffic is through building up variations of your branded keywords. This helps you diversify your branded keywords and draw in a wider range of traffic. A business like Airbnb could create a blog post about the “Best Airbnbs in Barcelona” to help widen their reach as well as rank for a branded term.

There are some instances where you may choose to focus more extensively on branded keywords, such as if you’re going through a website rebrand. If your business is keeping its brand name during a rebrand, maintaining branded traffic is especially important. If you’re changing your brand name, it may not be as much of a worry.

How to improve non-branded traffic

There are several ways to improve non-branded traffic, the first being to build authority and expertise on a topic.

Authoritativeness is a part of Google’s E-A-T – expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. Google uses E-A-T as a signal for how much it can trust your brand and website. We have previously further expanded on E-A-T, which explains that part of the authoritativeness factor is based on the reputation of your website. Expertise, on the other hand, involves the on-page content within your site. By pairing topical relevancy techniques with good E-A-T practices, you can create part of a well-rounded SEO strategy.

You can improve topical relevance through creating new content for your site. This can include creating anything from blogs and content hubs to resources and whitepapers. When creating these new pieces of content, focusing on a product and using relevant non-branded keywords is a great way to improve your brand’s relevance on the topic.

You can also optimise existing on-page content to help with topical relevance. This includes things like headers, titles, and body text. From there, you can monitor your non-branded keywords for ranking improvements, as well as clicks and impressions.

Both branded and non-branded keywords are important for improving your overall organic traffic. While your brand’s split of branded vs non-branded keyword focus may differ from others depending on your unique business needs, they can form an integrated, informed SEO plan to help you reach your goals.