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How Should You Optimize for Branded Keywords?

Should you be optimizing for keywords and phrases directly related to and including your brand names?

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Anyone familiar with (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 might optimize web pages for a term like "bicycles for sale" or "hotdog restaurant near me."

But what about branded keywords? Should you be optimizing for keywords and phrases directly related to and including your names?

What are branded 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," branded keywords might include "Waffle Place," "MegaWaff" and "Waffle Place MegaWaff," along with related phrases. By extension, branded keyword phrases might include your with other information or pieces of related queries, like "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 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 goals.

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

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

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

How to optimize for branded keywords

So how do you optimize your website for branded keywords?

Here's the good news. You probably won't have to do much. If you have spent time and effort building a website that showcases your brand and appeals to your target audience, most of the work is probably already done for you. However, there are some important strategies and tactics you'll need to utilize to see the best possible results.

  • Include your brand name throughout your site. Make sure to include your brand name and the branded names associated with all your products and services (if applicable) throughout your entire website. Include it in title tags, header tags, body content and even the alt tags of your images. That doesn't mean your brand names need to show up everywhere at all times, but they should be prominent.
  • Look for common associations. Google's Autocomplete feature is practically useful for most of us. If you start typing a query, Google will attempt to finish it based on common searches of users like you. Start typing queries related to your brand and see what Google suggests to finish those queries. This can help you understand some of the most common things people search for related to your brand and give you direction on how to optimize for branded keywords further.
  • Create dedicated pages. Consider creating a dedicated page for each brand keyword and each brand keyword phrase you discovered through Google Autocomplete (or other keyword research). It pays to have a dedicated target page for each target keyword in your SEO campaign.
  • Include images and videos. results aren't just about web pages anymore. They also feature images, videos and other forms of multimedia content. If you want to continue dominating results related to your brand name, make sure you have plenty of multimedia content available for searchers.
  • Watch out for competitors. It's entirely possible to rank for a competitor's brand name — which means there may already be competing brands attempting to outrank you for your own brand terms. Conduct searches for your own branded keyword terms to see if other companies are trying to optimize for those terms. They might have content describing your brand and why their brand is better, or they might deliberately 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, perform a counterstrike by optimizing for the phrases they chose; because your site is built around this brand, you'll have a strong competitive advantage. You can also go on the offensive and rank for competitors' branded keywords.
  • Consider satellite sites. If you need additional support for your branded keyword strategy, consider setting up satellite sites and independent landing pages, with different domains, to support your main site.

A note about PPC ads

One more important note here. Branded keywords are exceptionally important in the world of (PPC) ads as well. Paying for advertising associated with keyword searches for your brand might seem redundant or unnecessary, considering you may already be on top of the organic ranking list. However, this can serve as a powerful defensive move, preventing one of your competitors from purchasing ads as a cheap way to surpass your visibility. Again, you can also go on the offensive here, purchasing 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 is already easily ranking for its own brand name, these tactics can help you guard against aggressive competition and more effectively reach your target audience.

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