Branded And Unbranded Keywords: Not Equal SEO Value
This is a short discussion on keywords. If you have read previous articles here you already know that I consider On Page SEO one of the least important factors in ranking yet one of the most obsessed over among the masses.
In On Page SEO Just Doesn’t Rank Keywords like Backlinks and How To Rank Your Site On Google…Forget the Keywords I give my rationale on the most popular way to rank a site in 1995…keywords.
Of course though it’s popular and people search it, and that’s what this article is all about, seeking keywords that people actually search. There are two main divisions of keywords:
Branded And Unbranded Keywords
Its every new clients dream realized when they see they are ranking number one for their brand name. Almost immediately after that face of joy, I’ve learned to prepare, for the face of shock, followed by determination and then by reason. I am quick to burst that bubble of happiness and tell them … who cares? Of course you should rank high for your own name or brand, guess who should rank highest for any name? The one who uses it. But what about the unbranded keywords?
In Political SEO terms it would be their candidates name. These are just as relevant if not more so, as the candidate is your brand.
See the issue is that named or as it’s referred to more officially “branded” keywords are what a searcher entered into Google to find you. If the number one way people find you is branded keywords, it means that you have to already know you, to find you. If they already know you, they’ve likely already made a decision in an election or in a product choice so their search isn’t necessarily a conversionary. It may be support related or complaints … either way they’ve already become acquainted with you.
What ever function or need that you are the answer for … THAT needa to be your goal to rank on Google. I want this article to rank for Branded Keywords and Neil Patel .. but more on him later.
Imagine you are running for City Council District 3. It would be best if your top keywords were something like “Who’s running for city council” or “City Council Candidates” rather than “Your Name”. See what I mean? If I Google “Sell a house in Denver” and you’re a real estate agent in Denver … then thats what you need to go for, Unbranded Keywords.
Finding Unbranded Keywords
One of my better keywords ideas was on a campaign site in 2018. I placed a local voters guide listing every race on the ballot, who was running and in many cases a discussion of the office and what the candidates had said about their candidacy. Why put in the effort to do other people’s races? Because now every office on the ballot is a keyword as well as every person running for any office.
Those are a lot of keywords, they are unbranded but extremely high in relevancy. If someone is Googling the Mayor’s race its awesome to rank well for that if you’re running for City Council. It also demonstrates that your candidate does what’s helpful to voters and positions him as an authority.
That election site’s top keywords were “voter guide” “where do I vote” and “candidate’s name.” That’s SEO magic for an election. It works the same for businesses as well.
At this time the highest ranking keywords for this site are:
Ultimate SEO Keywords
This keyword is currently the leading keyword for organic traffic on Google for Ultimate SEO.
Pauline Mayer Shelter Address
? no clue there (Actually this is worth another post on Security)
Private Blog Networks are searched heavily but little is done regarding content for these due to its negative conotation in the industry.
I am a keyword for Ultimate SEO, reportedly searched 170 times a month. (All me). Incidentally there are 3 other Matthew Lefflers, a lawyer, a tennis player and the black sheep of our quad club the sex offender. I’m of course the SEO so inherently I feel more pressure to rank over them all. The sex offender appears to be one of the toughest to surpass … infamy is hard to beat online.
Notice Ultimate SEO isn’t my big push for keywords. If you already know this site you probably can figure out how to get back without Google.
Branded keywords also tend to find themselves home on their own. You’ll say your brand name enough without trying to say it. Saying your brand anymore than normal is obnoxious and people notice it and don’t like it. You’re wasting my time is usually what goes through my head as I read the sites brand name over and over.
Branded keywords will happen on their own I swear it just go after those ones that wont.
Unbranded Keywords – SEO And Jeopardy
If you think like the game Jeopardy works you would know that the answer is a question. You want to rank on Google and pull in relevant traffic. While Ultimate SEO is the answer, that I want folks to learn about, I need to consider what is their question? Blogs On Technical SEO is what I want to rank well for or Custom SEO Site Audits is another example.
What are some “Custom SEO Site Audits in Louisville” is a good question…it’s also great for me to rank for probably. It’ll likely also become the keywords Custom SEO Site Audits and SEO Site Audits with a local preference in Louisville. That’s going to generate much better traffic than if I sought to rank the brand “Ultimate SEO.” And that’s why I say it’s all about Jeopardy.
So whats the search volume on those?
Well Custom SEO Site Audits has pretty much no volume. So lets dial it back a notch and
SEO Site Audits – Volume 390
Technical SEO – Volume 720
What Is Technical SEO – Volume 170
Technical SEO Checklist – Volume 110
How to conduct a technical seo site audit – Volume 90
Versus my branded Ultimate SEO – Volume 50
Competitors Branded Keywords
Mentioning your competitors can be beneficial and can help you earn a little share of their search traffic. I’m willing to argue that my branded keywords are not your branded keywords, so his branded keywords are my unbranded keywords. Make sense?
Neil Patel, I’m not competition … he’s much more trusted, quoted in SEO and successful … where I am lucky to be his shadows silhouette. But
Almost 10,000 people search Google per month for Neil Patel. As you might recall I’m at 170, with the help of 3 other guys.
But by naming him and speaking of him well (doesn’t have to be mean) I’ve just tied him and his SEO relevant searches into this article.
How did I hopefully grab onto his coat strings?
I placed his name as an H3 header. H2 would have been better but H3 is good. I included an image with his name in the alt tag, the image title and a caption. Then within the body of this content which is about his field … SEO … I used his name first, way up at the beginning of this post, then to start off the body of content under his header and then said it again but not a lot more. In fact only one more time will I invoke his name.
That ends this keyword discussion on Branded, NonBranded Keywords And Competitor Keywords that included Neil Patel. If you got to this post by searching for the competitor keyword leave a comment.
Incidentally, to really capture a keyword include it in your url or slug. If you compare the keywords a page ranks for through sites like SEMRush you’ll see an unmistakeable correlation.