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Keywords play a huge role in making sure your website reaches the right people. Whether you’re an organic SEO enthusiast or a PPC advertiser, understanding the difference between branded and non-branded keywords is crucial for unlocking the full potential of your SEO efforts. In this blog, we’ll talk you through everything to do with branded and non-branded keywords and help you choose the best route.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are the foundation of search engine optimisation (SEO). They are essentially the words and phrases that users search for when looking for specific information, products, or servicesonline.

Branded and non-branded keywords hold different roles in SEO. Branded keywords include the name of your company or products (e.g. ‘Nike trainers’), while non-branded keywords are more generic and relate to your specific industry or niche (e.g. ‘running trainers’).

In organic SEO, it’s important to strategically place keywords in your website to become more visible to potential customers which eventually will boost the traffic to your website.

Keywords in PPC

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is another way of using keywords to be seen on search engines,however, this method involves bidding on keywords in an auction-style system.If you win the bid, your ads are displayed above the organic search results.

In PPC, branded keywords are usually used to target users who are already familiar with your brand, which increases the chance of conversion. Non-branded keywords are great to target those who aren’t aware of your brand yet but are interested in what you have to offer.

Branded V Non-Branded Keywords

Branded and non-branded keywords are different based on what users have in mind when they go to use them. Branded keywords are used by those who are already familiar with the brand, while non-branded keywords are used by those who are still researching what they want.

When someone searches a branded keyword, they’re already interested in your brand, and therefore further down the sales funnel than those who aren’t. These keywords, therefore, get more clicks and conversions.On the other hand, non-branded keywords may not lead to as many conversions,but they’re valuable for increasing brand awareness and reaching whole new potential customers.

How Branded and Non-Branded Keywords Work Together

Rather than posing branded and non-branded keywords together as rivals, it makes good sense to combine their powers to help target users who are at different stages of the sales funnel. Branded keywords are the easiest to rank for – especially if you have an unusual brand name! if you do a Google search for your brand and you’re not at the top of the rankings, you should optimise your homepage for your brand name and other company pages on your website.

Once you’ve optimised your website for your brand, you should focus your efforts more on non-branded keywords.

Increasing your organic rankings for more generic searchterms can help boost your online visibility. It’s a lot harder than PPC, butthe long-term gains you see from organic SEO are a much better investment of your time and you can continue seeing traffic to your site for years to come.

If you are running PPC ads for your business, you should create separate campaigns for both branded and non-branded keywords.

When to Use Branded and Non-Branded Keywords

Whether you decide to use branded or non-branded keywords depends on what you’re trying to achieve so you can optimise your campaigns efficiently.

You should use branded keywords when:

- You’re trying to retain existing customers and encourage repeat business

- You’re launching specific promotions or events tied to your brand

- You’re bidding competitively and protecting your brand from competitors’ ads

You should use non-branded keywords when:

- You’re trying to reach new audiences and expand your customer base

- Users are in the early stages of the buying process

- You’re trying to target users searching for generic products or services

Filtering by Keyword Type in Google Ads

Google Ads offers tools to help you target and filter keywords effectively. By organising your branded and non-branded keywords into separate ad groups, you can tailor your ad messaging and budget. Branded keywords attract engaged audiences and higher conversion rates, whereas non-branded keywords help to build brand awareness and reach potential new customers. By taking advantage of this Google Ads feature, you can achieve great success in your digital marketing efforts.


Both branded and non-branded keywords play a vital role in your search marketing strategy. By making the most of both of their strengths,you can boost your online presence, drive traffic, and increase engagement for a more successful business.

If you want more information on how keywords can help your business thrive, or you want help from professionals to increase your brand’s visibility on Google, we’re here to chat.

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About Chris Simmons

Chris is our onpage SEO Specialist at 427 Marketing, having joined the team in early 2023. He works with our content team to cover the 4 pillars of SEO; content, onpage SEO, technical SEO and offpage SEO. Prior to joining the 427 Marketing team, Chris spent almost 10 years applying his SEO and content skills across several different industries in marketing agency and inhouse roles including tool hire, auctioneering, health care within the NHS and high end luxury retail in both B2B and B2C capacities. His passion for writing, content, UX, technical and on page SEO has expanded our content offerings, helping provide reliable advice about all things SEO to 427 Marketing.

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