Branded vs Non Branded Traffic

What’s the Difference Between Non-Branded & Branded Traffic?

Your search goals could include achieving particular conversion types, increasing traffic or generating brand awareness. Whatever your aims, you’ll still be focused on particular terms and keywords to drive the traffic you want.

Interestingly, these days, good SEO tends to be more about topics and less about single or ‘top 10’ terms. This boosts your ranking for high-level generic terms, long-tail keywords plus voice search.

For all kinds of topics and terms, there are big differences between branded and non-branded versions – i.e. those which contain your brand name and those which don’t – and how they should be treated. Here, we look at some of them.

  • Targeting and focus

Your decision as to whether to go for branded terms or not will have a big impact on your targeting and there are different ideas on this. Branded terms could work if you have a very generic brand name, or if awareness of who you are is limited. Equally, if you operate in a competitive arena, you can protect your brand by advertising on it.

Carry out your keyword research specifically for volume for your branded terms – i.e. any that incorporate any branded elements from your business name, or trademarked products. It’s also worth understanding numbers of those using them in searches, so you can assess your current share of search traffic. Study SERPS for these terms manually.

At the same time, appreciate who else is advertising.

  • Brand cannibalisation and conflicts

It’s important that you’re aware of what is going on with your share of search and the origins of the traffic to your website, as well as its total volume. Should you take the decision bid on branded terms in paid search, understand how any branded paid traffic increases affect organic traffic. If both go up, that’s brilliant. However, if you see a relative decline in organic traffic, you might want to look again. For example, are your adverts attracting traffic you’d ordinarily expect to see via organic sources?

Obviously, what you don’t want to be doing is paying for identical traffic to that you’d get anyway.

  • Resellers and other partners, like distributors

Here, there are some compelling reasons for paying quite a bit of attention to branded terms. That’s particularly true of some businesses and industries.

If you sell through distribution partners as well as retailers, the relationship can be a sensitive one. Partners may not want to compete with you on branded terms, but you have control over your own products.

Decide what really matters to you and how best to invest in paid and organic efforts for branded terms, allowing you to maximise time and effort spent on generic terms.


Put the energy into ensuring your efforts have enough separation between brand and non-brand. Don’t roll all your search data into one report and later realise that you’re not sure of its brand/non-brand split.

In addition to this, bear in mind that branded searches are driven by many factors outside search marketers’ control, from brand awareness to referrals and reputation.

If you take just one thing away from this article, let it be the importance of separating branded and non-branded traffic, both in your own mind and your search efforts.

Do get in touch with us at Front Page if you would like to discuss this in more detail – we’ll be delighted to help.