What are Brand Keywords?

Brand keywords are trademark type words belonging to a brand, such as a company’s brand name. Brand keywords can also include words found in slogans and other branded wording.

For example:

  • In the search term ”Hilton Hotels London” – “Hilton” is the brand keyword, “Hotels” is an industry keyword and “London” is a geographic location.
  • In the search term “McDonald’s Birmingham” – “McDonald’s” is the brand keyword and “Birmingham” is a geographic location.
  • In the search term “Plumbers in London” – this example contains no brand keywords, only an industry keyword (“Plumbers”) and a geographic location (“London”).

Brand keyword traffic

Companies which have a large reputation, but poor SEO practices, get most of their organic search traffic from brand keywords. This is through people searching for them by name due to their brand’s reputation whilst not showing up for industry keywords because of their lack of SEO.

If traffic were boosted following a multi-channel marketing campaign including SEO work, TV advertisements and more, a company might struggle to determine which facet of the campaign was responsible for their boosted traffic. Checking whether the uplift in traffic comes from brand keywords or non-brand keywords is how you can tell whether improvements in your organic search performance or your wider marketing strategy is responsible for the increased traffic.

  • If non-brand keywords are driving new traffic, SEO is likely to be responsible for the boost.
  • If brand keywords are driving new traffic, non-SEO aspects of the marketing campaign (such as TV advertising) are likely responsible due to boosting the reputation of your company so people search it by name.
  • If you experience an uplift in organic search traffic for both brand and non-brand keywords, it’s likely you’ve had simultaneous success in SEO and elsewhere too.

Competitor brand keywords

You should be cautious when bidding for brand keywords on paid advertising platforms such as Google AdWords, because if you bid on a rival competitor’s brand keywords you may be liable for legal action. If you do decide to run a PPC campaign targeting a competitor’s keywords you should not include their brand name or any other of their trademarks within the content of the ad itself. Some platforms like AdWords make this clear but some do not so it’s worth bearing in mind to ensure you keep on the right side of the law.