Digital Marketing

Jan 25, 2017

Attention SEO Rock Stars! All Keywords are BRANDED Keywords

For the past few days, SEOs and PPC marketers alike have been segmenting brand campaigns and content from more generic search terms.

However, while branded keywords tend to be unicorns in PPC, which generate ridiculously high CTRs (click-through rates) (40, 50 or 60 percent) and Quality Scores (9 or 10); and the branded keywords in SEO rank at the top of the SERP. Meanwhile, non-branded keywords perform like donkeys in other words, i.e. just average at best.

While branded vs. non-branded is an interesting differentiation, it’s an incomplete one as well. Even non-branded keywords can perform like brand terms when brand affinity exists. This is the reason why we have performed re-examination of our assumptions about branded vs. non-branded keywords in both paid and organic search marketing.

Search doesn’t grow demand
Normally, in search marketing, the primary goal is to connect with people, who are searching for our products & services. If we able to reach them with perfect Search Engine strategies at the right micro-moment, then we can turn these searchers into leads and sales for our business as well.

However, the greatest strength of paid search marketing and organic is also its greatest weakness. Search doesn’t grow new demand as the search harvests existing market demand. In terms of commercial queries, searchers should know what they are looking for in order to make the search marketing to be successful.

But, the main thing we should consider is, which ads they click on and from whom to buy? Where does that come from? Well, certainly, it isn’t based on whether the keyword is branded or non-branded. Right?

Brand affinity makes or breaks your search
The tendency to click on paid or organic search listings is often based on pre-existing brand affinity.
Put simply: searchers are more likely to click on knowing your particular brand. This means, people are searching for all the queries for the branded terms. However, when people search for these branded terms, they may express their penchant for brands they know and love!

So if our non-branded keywords aren’t performing as well as branded terms, then that means that these keywords may perform great for other firms. Well, on the whole, Search is a zero sum game.

Are we creating as much value as we think?
As a Search Marketers, we should position ourselves at the very bottom of the funnel and we should know the existing demand and brand preferences that established.

If you have really a very good performance on non-branded keywords, then we want to take all the credit a lot of times. However, it could just mean you’re working for ourselves with strong brand affinity.

If we find our branded keywords performing like non-branded keywords with low CTRs and conversion rates, it means that we have a lot of work to do. Always remember, people don’t just randomly click on paid search listings. Moreover, listings don’t really have a simple one in seven chance of getting clicked on or a one in 10 chance on the organic side.

What does it all mean?
If we observe big difference between branded and non-branded keywords, it means we need to focus on building brand affinity even more. Go after users before they ever search for your stuff! The success of campaigns that include queries without brand trademarks is largely based on the brand awareness and brand affinity of the products and services we’re promoting.

Stop thinking in terms of branded vs. unbranded. There are just queries and also we need some awareness to create. It’s not the presence of a certain brand term in the query. If brand affinity exists, we’ll see the CTR and conversion rates for non-brand queries start behaving like brand queries.

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