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How Should You Optimize for Branded Keywords?

by Lottar

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Anyone familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) can tell you about the importance of keywords. Optimizing for a specific keyword or a specific keyword phrase will maximize your chances of ranking for search queries that include that keyword or phrase. Your company may be able to optimize web pages for a term such as “bikes for sale” or “hot dog restaurant near me.”

But what about branded keywords? Do you need to optimize for keywords and phrases directly related to and including your brand names?

What are brand keywords?

Branded keywords are just keywords associated with your brand. If you have a company called “Waffle Place” and a signature waffle called “The MegaWaff,” trademark keywords might include “Waffle Place,” “MegaWaff,” and “Waffle Place MegaWaff” along with related phrases. By extension, branded keyword phrases can include your brand name with other information or pieces of related query, such as “Waffle Place hours” or “Waffle Place submit resume.”

Why do branded keywords matter?

Your brand is your company’s identity, and it’s one of the most important pieces of your marketing puzzle. You already know that you need to take your brand seriously. This is just one more application where you need to guard your brand name closely and use it intelligently for your marketing and advertising goals.

When most people brainstorm organic searches that can lead a person to their company, they think of generic phrases. But branded query searches are also popular. Think about this in your own life; how often have you searched for a company someone else recommended to you or a product you only recently discovered?

Related: Why PPC is the Perfect Complement to Your SEO Strategy

It is important to capitalize on this traffic. You need to make sure your website is visible, accessible and authoritative in the eyes of people searching for your brand terms.

How to Optimize for Branded Keywords

So how do you optimize your website for branded keywords?

Here is the good news. You probably won’t have to do much. If you’ve spent time and effort building a website that showcases your brand and resonates with your target audience, most of the work has probably already been done for you. However, there are some important strategies and tactics that you will need to use in order to see the best possible results.

  • Include your brand name throughout your site. Be sure to include your brand name and the brand names associated with all of your products and services (if applicable) throughout your website. Include them in title tags, header tags, body content and even the alt tags of your images. This does not mean that your brand names should appear everywhere at all times, but they should be prominent.
  • Look for common associations. Google’s autocomplete feature is practically useful for most of us. When you start typing a query, Google will try to complete it based on common searches from users like you. Start typing queries related to your brand and see what Google suggests to complete those queries. This can help you understand some of the most common things people are searching for related to your brand and give you direction on how to further optimize for branded keywords.
  • Create dedicated pages. Consider creating a dedicated page for each brand query and each brand search phrase you’ve discovered through Google Autocomplete (or other keyword research). It pays to have a dedicated target page for each target keyword in your SEO campaign.
  • Embed images and videos. Google search results are no longer just about web pages. They also contain images, videos and other forms of multimedia content. If you want to continue to dominate results related to your brand name, make sure you have plenty of multimedia content available to searchers.
  • Beware of competitors. It’s entirely possible to rank for a competitor’s brand name – meaning there may already be competing brands trying to outrank you for your own brand terms. Run searches for your own brand keyword terms to see if other companies are trying to optimize for those terms. They might have content that describes your brand and why their brand is better, or they might intentionally try to rank for keyword phrases that paint you in a negative light, like “Waffle Place food poisoning” or “Waffle Place disgusting.” If you notice a competitor engaging in this type of activity, counterstrike by optimizing for the phrases they’ve chosen; because your website is built around this brand, you will have a strong competitive advantage. You can also take offense and rank for competitors’ branded keywords.
  • Consider satellite sites. If you need additional support for your brand keyword strategy, consider setting up satellite sites and independent landing pages, with different domains, to support your main site.

A note on PPC advertising

Another important note here. Branded keywords are also extremely important in the world of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Paying for ads related to keyword searches for your brand may seem redundant or unnecessary since you may already be at the top of the organic rankings. However, it can serve as a powerful defensive move, preventing one of your competitors from buying ads as a cheap way to surpass your visibility. Again, you can also get offense here by buying PPC ads for branded keywords associated with your competitors.

Related: Is SEO or PPC Better for Your Business?

Branded keywords have the potential to be a powerful addition to your strategy. Even if your website already ranks easily for its own brand name, this tactic can help you guard against aggressive competition and reach your target audience more effectively.

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