What Are Branded Keywords and How to Find Them? 

Digital marketing and online competition are increasingly fierce, and users consistently use search engines to find information, products, and services. So, these search engines highlight well-equipped and relevant sites that best meet the user’s needs. Here, we come across search engines, one of the cornerstones of the digital world, and the keywords (non-branded and branded keywords) that play a big role in their functioning. Keywords are the words and phrases websites use in searches made by their target audience on Google. As main and auxiliary keywords, websites may have or target one or more keys and keywords. 

Long-tail keywords mentioned in SEO studies consist of three or more words that have less competition in search results and are selected more precisely result-oriented for direct user requests. For example, the brand name is also considered a long-tail keyword because of its specialization. 

Keyword usage is fundamental for websites to make sense when search engines analyze them. As websites are analyzed, content is matched to keywords and made meaningfully. Every search term that users perform on search engines is a potential keyword. 

What Are Branded Keywords? 

Branded keywords have brand names attached to the search query string and match when a search engine query includes a specific brand name and is exclusive to its domain. A classic example would be “Nike men’s shoes” or the “Apple iPhone 12”. 

Non-branded keywords are generic search terms entered by users who may or may not have prior knowledge about your brand. Using as an example again, “men’s shoes” or “best phones in 2023” are non-branded keywords. 

But What Is The Difference Between Those Two Keywords? 

The difference between non-branded and branded keywords is that they include the name of a specific brand variation or part of it and are unique to a domain, while non-branded keywords are not. In brief, branded keywords are basically keywords that represent your company’s name. 

Branded keywords are essential for big companies because many competitors are trying to advertise for people searching for your company. For example, if you are from Samsung, you would like to advertise for Apple, the iPhone, or the App Store because a possible Samsung customer can also be a likely Apple customer. 

So, if you are a big company, please ensure you advertise for the keyword representing your company. But when it comes to small businesses, it’s not that big of a deal because you are not as widely known. So, that means not having many people searching for your branded keywords. 

Before, we gave the example of Nike men’s shoes as the branded keyword and men’s shoes as the non-branded keyword. We can see the differences between those keywords when we search on Google

Nike men's shoes branded keyword example

As can be seen from the search results, when we search for branded keywords, it directs us directly to the brand’s site.

men's shoes non-branded search

But when we search with non-branded keywords, it directs the user to different brands that are close to its location. Even this search on Google on just one example reveals a difference between non-branded and branded keywords

Is Branded Keywords More Effective? 

Non-branded and branded keywords work better depending on many factors. These factors include your target audience, industry, competition, and marketing strategy. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both types of keywords: 

Branded Keywords Advantages: 

  • If you have a well-known brand, users are likelier to find you directly with branded keywords. (As we can see in the example.) 
  • Searches with branded keywords can often have higher conversion rates because users may search for a specific brand. 
  • Competition is likely lower because only one particular brand targets these keywords. 

Branded Keywords Disadvantages: 

  • You may be limited to branded keywords if you are a new brand or your brand is not well known. 
  • In competitive markets, branded keywords can often cost more. 

Non-Branded Keywords Advantages: 

  • You can reach a wider audience because people searching with non-branded keywords may not be limited to a specific brand. 
  • You may encounter lower competition because non-branded keywords often contain generic terms. 

Non-Branded Keywords Disadvantages: 

  • Conversion rates may be lower than branded keywords because users are doing a general search, and finding a result that fits their needs may be more challenging. 
  • You may also need to work with branded keywords to increase awareness of your brand. 

For this reason, you should consider your goals, budget, and brand strategy when deciding what keywords to use. Often, using a combination (i.e., non-branded and branded keywords simultaneously) may be the most effective strategy. While you retain your existing customer base with branded keywords, you can reach new customers with non-branded keywords. It’s also essential to evaluate which approach produces the best results for you by running A/B tests

How Will I Balance Branded and Non-branded Keywords? 

One of your SEO goals should be to increase the search volume of your branded keywords because the higher the volume of your branded keywords, the bigger your business is. This is the power of combining branded and non-branded keywords and balancing them correctly. 

As your branded keywords build brand awareness, non-branded keywords lead the way. People who use non-branded keywords to search for the products or services you sell have probably never heard of your company. For example, suppose you are a newly established decoration brand. In that case, it may be difficult to get noticed among many decoration brands, but you can reach niche markets by targeting a long-tail keyword such as “cactus pot made of natural bamboo” and thus promote your brand. 

In other words, getting to know your company and your customer potential will be beneficial before determining to what extent you will use non-branded and branded keywords. The order in which you use your keywords is non-branded keywords until you attract customers, non-branded and branded keywords after you attract customers, and branded keywords after your customer base is established and your brand value is proven. 

How Will I Choose My Keyword? 

Just as we do research even before buying a t-shirt, we visit stores and buy the one that suits us the most; we need to do research before choosing our keywords (both non-branded and branded keywords). There are some tricks to keyword research to make your content stand out. The list of words that will bring you the audience you need is essential, so this list needs to be created carefully. In this process, it is necessary to consider the target audience’s needs, the words they use to find a solution, and their query expressions. Here are the factors you should consider when doing keyword research. Although we only use “keyword,” these factors apply when doing non-branded and branded keyword research. 

search intention

Search Intention 

The user’s search intent is among the most significant factors determining the top ranking in search engines. Search engines like Google emphasize content that addresses the problem thoroughly and offers an answer rather than highlighting content containing the words users seek. What needs to be done is not to include keywords in the content as they are but to interpret them correctly and write them. 

Monthly Search Volume 

The number of monthly searches for a keyword is an essential element for prioritizing the keywords you find. Monthly Search Volume (MSV) measures how much a keyword is searched for and can help guide you when creating your content. It lets you see how much a keyword is searched for worldwide or in one city. 

As a result of keyword research, choosing the most searched words with a high MSV is not always correct. Frequently searched words also bring high competition. These words need to be interpreted and selected correctly for visitor traffic. Don’t forget to check keyword research tips and tricks!


Relevance and user intent are similar elements. The algorithm of search engines also analyses other pages that users click on for the words they are searching for and highlights content accordingly. In a way, the user’s intent is interpreted. For example, for a website query, attention is paid to details such as how the website was set up, how long it took, or which tools were used. Examining the SERP in keyword research also guides you about the details of the content you will create. 

keyword difficulty

Keyword Difficulty 

Search volume and Keyword Difficulty (KD) are key metrics to look for when doing keyword research. Keyword difficulty indicates ranking for a word in a search engine result. This value is calculated based on content quality, brand strength, and website authority. The higher the value, the more difficult it is to rank for that word. This is precisely why branded keywords of small companies have difficulty ranking at the top of search engines. In this context, words with high search volume also have a high level of difficulty. If you do not have a website with high authority, it is recommended to prioritize words with low difficulty levels to stand out in the first stage. 

How Do I Do My Keyword Research? 

We’ve touched on the points to consider when choosing my keywords, but how do I do my research when choosing these keywords? Of course, there are a few tips we should pay attention to when doing keyword research. 

Broden Your Topics 

You can start keyword research by listing essential topics for your business. Identifying a broad group of topics makes it easier for you to do keyword research in the later stages. For SEO keyword example, if you sell textbooks for the TOEFL exam, choose “TOEFL Preparation Books” and include “English Exam Preparation Books” among your keywords. If you want to create a branded keyword, if we go through this example, you can use the phrase “Barron’s TOEFL Exam Preparation Books.” Since you have specified your brand in the keyword, it is now branded. 

Think Like Your Target Audience 

Interpreting search intent correctly is a factor that brings you the audience you need. For this reason, you need to do keyword research on how you want to solve the problem by putting yourself in the target audience’s shoes. The purpose for which you use the keyword in the content is more important than the word itself. Looking at the results page or typing the keyword into the search engine and analyzing what kind of content comes up can guide you. 

For branded keywords, this can come in the form of determining which product is the best-selling product in your brand and how the product is searched. If we continue with the example we gave on Nike, Nike sells a light red colored shoe, and the color of this shoe appears as red on your site, but it may be searched as pink by users in search engines. At this point, you need to identify this situation and shape your keyword accordingly. 

Nike shoes tail search example

Follow the Search Engine’s Trail 

Keep a list of terms that come up as suggestions when you type a keyword into the search engine. At the bottom of the suggested websites is a list of related terms that contain your keyword. The words listed here can give you ideas. If you need more ideas, you can search for associated terms you find and include suggestions for those terms in your list, or you can type the words you are looking for, leave a space between those words on Google, click on that space, and create new keywords with the suggestions Google gives you. 

Weigh Your Keyword Options 

While doing keyword research, you must also analyze the strength of the words you find. You can use paid tools for this and free tools (which we will discuss in detail later in our article), such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Google Keyword Planner. You should also pay attention to whether the keyword matches the exact search term, whether the search volume is high, how high the competition is, and whether there are other related keywords you may have missed. 

At this point, branded keywords provide you with convenience. Especially if you are a large company, the keywords you choose will not be exposed to too much competition, and the search volume will already be high. 

Spy On Your Competitors 

See what keywords your competitors are using to rank high in search results. When you find a website that ranks high and is similar to your product or service, you can analyze which keywords attract users. You can also use a competitive research tool to get a list of related terms on a broader scale. The trick is to do this research for as many competitors as possible. 

11 Free Tools You Can Use

No matter how much you follow many tips, do competitor analysis, or search on Google to create non-branded or branded keywords for your website, these alone are not enough. It would be best to use the right SEO tools to find words that are not used by competitors but are valuable and have the potential to attract high traffic. The working principle of these tools for doing keyword research is similar. It brings up a series of relevant ideas for the keyword you entered. 

  • Ahrefs
  • Semrush
  • Google Keyword Planner 
  • Moz Keyword Explorer 
  • Soovle 
  • Ubersuggest 
  • AnswerThePublic 
  • WordTracker 
  • QuestionDB 
  • Long Tail Pro 
  • Dopinger
Ahrefs tool


Ahrefs, like many others, is a platform known as an SEO tool. It offers a set of tools used to monitor the performance of websites, conduct keyword research, conduct competitor analysis, and develop SEO improvement strategies. This tool allows users to do keyword research, opportunities such as competition analysis for targeted keywords, and a keyword difficulty checker. Although the tool is not entirely free, you can sign up for Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to get free limited access to Site Explorer and Site Inspector. 


Semrush is an SEO tool that analyses the domain and keywords and offers suggestions. This tool is a high-level analysis and tracking tool that brings you all the actions of your website. Whether it belongs to you or not, in detail, while at the same time, you can follow the competitor sites step by step in every aspect, on the other hand, it is a high-level analysis and tracking tool that provides detailed data for your digital marketing activities. Although Semrush has a paid plan, it attracts attention and can be considered free, thanks to free trial versions. 

Google Keyword Planner 

Google Keyword Planner provides detailed information about search results on Google. Designed to help you plan and find the right keywords, Google Keyword Planner reports search volumes, click costs, etc. One of the best advantages is that it’s free forever, even if you don’t use Google Ads. If you use Google Ads, it has helpful budgeting prediction features and keyword suggestions tailored to your website. The downside is that it’s not good enough for organic word research. 

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Explorer 

As we can understand from the name, Moz Keyword Explorer’s primary mission is to discover and report on keywords consistently. It enables websites to be associated with keywords and provides essential data to optimize content strategies. It is an effective research tool to increase organic traffic and website visibility by helping users understand the search habits and needs of the target audience. The Moz Keyword Explorer tool is free, but you can use MOZ Pro for more SEO options. 


Soovle, a completely free tool, allows you to input a keyword and view the search density and word analysis for that word or phrase on platforms like Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Answers, Yahoo, and Wikipedia. After entering your keyword, you can examine the results and save your suggestions by dragging them to the book icon in the left corner. 


Ubersuggest is a free, user-friendly keyword analysis tool by Neil Patel that produces many results within seconds by searching for the keyword you specify in your chosen language. 

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Upon entering the site, choose the language and input your desired word into the search box. Ubersuggest records SEO and click values, along with the search frequency of the entered word, presenting the data through graphs. As you scroll down, the tool generates numerous keyword suggestions. Additionally, Ubersuggest offers content ideas and boasts a more comprehensive feature set than its competitors. 

AnswerThePublic tool


AnswerThePublic is a visual, free keyword research tool that extracts queries from Google and Bing and presents them in a categorized keyword cloud. It is not possible to see the search volumes and competition for words in Answer the Public. 


WordTracker offers you up-to-date search figures by sorting your searches by competition, search volumes, country, and search engine. However, this application only shows you a limited amount of information in the free version. It provides you with up-to-date and fast information from many search engines. It allows you to discover new keywords with related keyword ideas. 


QuestionDB collects questions related to specific keywords or topics by analyzing frequently asked questions by internet users. The main purpose of QuestionDB is to inspire content creators by reflecting users’ actual needs and questions and to help them adapt their content to these needs. 

That’s why QuestionDB is very useful when doing keyword research. Showing the most asked questions about a particular topic helps you understand which keywords are most important to your target audience. In addition to its limited free version, it also has monthly and annual pricing for those who want it. 

Long Tail Pro 

Long Tail Pro is a tool designed for those who want to optimize their content and SEO strategies, specifically targeting long-tail keywords. This tool allows users to find keywords with lower competition but higher conversion rates in specific niches. 

Unfortunately, there is no free version of Long Tail Pro. However, it gives three months of free usage in return for annual payments. Considering the importance of long-tail keywords and the fact that there are not many tools mainly targeting long-tail keywords in the industry, it can be given a chance. 

Dopinger's keyword rank checker


As Dopinger, we provide free SEO tools you can use to check on your website daily. You can use our Keyword Rank Checker tool to discover the keywords and position of your site on Google and other search engines. Also, with the Rank Tracker tool, you can monitor your positions and track your keywords on search engines. Boost your SEO strategies with our free tools right now!

Why Is Keyword Optimization Important? 

Keyword optimization refers to finding the best search words related to your website and using those words to make you stand out on the search engine. The search engine expects you to provide meaningful results for the relevant word. You will come first in search results if you do the proper keyword optimization. The more relevant keywords you include in your pages, posts, and URLs, the easier it is for search engines to understand what your website is about. 

The Art Of Finding Keywords 

Our article focused on determining the importance of branded and non-branded keywords influencing digital marketing strategies. Identifying the right keywords to gain online visibility and competitive advantage is the foundation of any digital marketing effort. Branded keywords establish a unique connection, reflecting a business’s identity and values. Accurate target audience analysis and competition evaluation are crucial to identifying these keywords. On the other hand, non-branded keywords play a vital role in SEO strategies, driving organic traffic to a business’s products or services. 

There are some tips we can consider in identifying non-branded and branded keywords. Also some tools we can get help with, including artificial intelligence. Research and analysis using these tips and tools allow businesses to optimize their digital strategies and strengthen their online presence. Then, let’s leave you alone on your journey with keywords. 

Frequently Asked Questions About

Identify competitors using your branded keywords by searching on Google, Google Ads Keyword Planner, or other keyword-finding tools. After identifying them, negotiate the use of your branded keyword for mutual benefit or file a trademark infringement complaint with Google. 

Keywords are the most critical SEO element for every search engine. It is the name given to the words with which search engines match the query with the pages. Choosing the right keywords is the first and most important step for SEO.

Mistakes such as excessive use of branded keywords, insufficient research, using irrelevant keywords, allocating too much budget, and ignoring the user perspective can reduce the effectiveness of the keyword strategy.

Ayşenur Tekin

Posts: 97

After graduating from Istanbul Aydin University, English Translation, and Interpreting department, Ayşenur Tekin is interested in writing and editing articles. She started her master's degree in New Media (at IAU) and started to gain knowledge in the fields of digital marketing and SEO. She is cur... Read More

2 Comments on What Are Branded Keywords and How to Find Them? 

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  1. Marco L.
    Marco L.

    Fascinating read! I learned a lot about the distinction between branded and non-branded keywords. Understanding how branded keywords can directly associate with your brand, products, or services is interesting. Thank you for the great share!

  2. Talia S.
    Talia S.

    Great article! The concept of branded keywords was something I was vaguely familiar with, but this post really clarified things for me. I never realized just how critical these keywords could be in driving specific information-seeking traffic to a brand’s online presence. Looking forward to more insights like this!