Should you use non-branded keywords in your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns?

There is plenty of information suggesting branded keywords have their place in PPC strategies, but what about keywords without branding?

How do you know when it’s an excellent opportunity to use non-branded keywords?

As you can see, we already have lots of questions to cover, so let’s jump right into the answers.

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Reasons to Use Non-Branded Keywords for PPC

You Want to Bring in More Traffic

While using branded keywords like “simplilearn” or “simplilearn courses” can help increase conversions for middle- to bottom-of-the-funnel buyers, they don’t capture any of the top-of-the-funnel customers–those who have the potential to become a new business.

If your brand isn’t well known yet, then there likely aren’t enough searches using your brand keywords. Instead, you can drive traffic using non-branded keywords, which often have significantly higher search volume.

For example, you can search your brand using Moz’s Keyword Explorer to check current traffic levels, like this one for the keyword “prep dish”:


Source: Moz

The branded keyword gets up to 850 searches every month. This is certainly respectable, but now look at the monthly search volume for a relevant non-branded keyword like “meal planning”:


Source: Moz

There is plenty of opportunities to drive more traffic with the non-branded search term, in this case.

Sure, non-branded keywords are more competitive and expensive than branded keywords, but they help you secure that top-of-the-funnel traffic you need to increase bottom-of-the-funnel traffic down the road.

When people can discover you through non-branded search terms, it’s more likely they will later search for you via branded terms when they are closer to conversion.

You Want to Attract New Customers

Raising brand awareness is another reason you should use non-branded keywords in PPC advertising.

Your brand may already have a loyal base of regular customers, but what about those buyers who don’t know you?

Using non-branded keywords in your PPC campaigns gets your brand in front of customers who are looking for your types of products or services but may not be aware you offer them.

Even if your ads don’t convert, they do help you increase brand awareness – and that can help you move customers through the funnel.

For example, look at the first ad that comes up for the search term “organic meat delivery”:


Source: Google

Likely, the search intent for this term is purely informational. This person may not be aware of companies that offer this kind of service, but this ad does a great job getting in front of the customer with its brand name in the headline.

The user may or may not click on the ad, but at least they are now aware of it. When they are ready to sign up for this kind of service, they are more likely to search for it because of this ad.

You Want to Capture Mid- and Bottom-Funnel Customer

We talked about using branded keywords for the middle and bottom of the funnel, but did you know non-branded keywords also work in these phases of the buyer journey?

Yes, it’s possible, as long as you match the right keywords to specific stages of the funnel, like so:




Coffee – Top of Funnel


best coffee brands

coffee reviews

Coffee – Mid Funnel

coffee discounts

coffee on sale

Coffee – Lower Funnel

buy coffee

where to buy micro-roastery coffee

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Non-branded keywords create huge opportunities for brands, large and small. You can tap into these search terms to help you bring in more traffic, increase brand awareness, and even reach users at every stage of the funnel. Paired with branded PPC campaigns, non-branded paid ads help you grow your business and reach new audiences without sacrificing your brand loyalists.

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