A well-optimized site should target a variety of branded and non-branded keywords. This will help ensure that your site is targeting as many search phrases as possible, increasing the amount of targeted traffic being delivered to your site. Site owners should keep in mind that the amount of traffic they get from branded vs. non-branded searches is not going to be the same and will grow at different rates.
When the amount of branded searches goes up (people looking for your company directly), it is a good indication that your other online and offline marketing tactics are going well. You are building a strong online presence, increasing your brand recognition and developing a strong online brand and reputation.
Someone who conducts a branded search is looking for your company specifically (hopefully to do business with you!). Studies on search behavior have indicated that searchers who use branded terms are nearing the end of their buying cycle, which means you have a better chance of converting them. They are actively seeking out your company and are looking to engage with your brand in one way or another.
Personally, I’ve had a lot of success in using branded keywords in my PPC campaigns. Having that kind of SERP domination with both paid and organic listings goes a long way in establishing your credibility and trust factor. Also, PPC ads can get very expensive very quickly! I don’t mind someone clicking on a PPC ad when they were already looking for Brick Marketing because I know there is a good chance they will convert. If that same PPC ad were to show up for a “SEO company in Boston” search, it might get more clicks but I would see a smaller conversion rate. The person searching for “SEO company in Boston” isn’t ready to hire, they are just doing the research. I paid for the impression but didn’t really get anything for my money.
In my opinion, when it comes to existing sites that already generate a steady stream of visitors with branded keywords (meaning they are established and aged), they should be focusing on increasing the amount of traffic they get from non-branded searches. The more non-branded keywords your site can rank well for the more new visitors you can drive to your site, increasing your odds of eventually converting new customers. Obviously doing well with non-branded searches is going to take a lot longer than ranking first for your own company name, but that’s why SEO is built as a long term campaign.
The best SEO campaigns target a variety of related non-branded keywords. This is because you have to take user intent into account when optimizing your site. You may refer to your business as a company, but a potential customer might search for a firm, agency or organization. You don’t want to limit your site’s potential because you failed to incorporate non-branded keyword variations into your site’s content.
Keep in mind that some non-branded keywords have more competition than others. The more broad the keywords you target the harder it will be to rank well for them and the longer it will take.