A non-branded visitor is someone that finds your site by searching for a general keyword in the search engines, as opposed to searching for your brand or products by name. Depending on your industry and niche, someone that finds your site via a non-branded keyword might not be ready to convert the moment they land on your site. Especially in the B2B world, it’s hard to build that consumer confidence from one interaction with a potential customer. However, just because it might take a while to turn that visitor into a lead and then into a paying customer, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to drive more non-branded traffic to your website!
I was recently pulling together an annual SEO visitor report for one of my e-commerce SEO clients. Having a year’s worth of data really gives me the opportunity to look for emerging trends and have a better idea of where opportunities for their ongoing SEO campaign might be. I noticed that there had been a steady uptick of visitors throughout the year, even if some months showed slight dips (part of the seasonality of the business.) But what I was really glad to see was that the amount of non-branded visitors coming to their site was through the roof compared to last year. This is a fairly established brand offline, but online they hadn’t been competing well for important keywords against their top competitors. Branded searches had always been strong, but non-branded was where the real opportunity for growth was and I was pleased to see our SEO campaign had capitalized on that.
Why should increasing non-branded visitors be so important for SEO and your online marketing efforts in general? First and foremost, when non-branded searches go up, it’s a good sign that your SEO is working incredibly well; your site is ranking well for your top keywords AND is attracting the right audience! It also means that your online brand presence is increasing. People are finding your website in more and more places, even when they aren’t actively searching for your company. This could mean a social networking profile, blog post or video or internal page is showing up in the SERPs for a related search and is driving targeted visitors through to your site. You want to attract people to your site that have never engaged with your brand before! Even if they don’t convert right then and there you have established the first touch point in their buying cycle.
Of course branded visitors (the ones that search for your company by name) are valuable. In my experience, someone that searches for a company by name is nearing the end of their buying cycle and is looking to convert. That is why I like to focus my PPC efforts on branded keywords as opposed to non-branded keywords. I’d rather pay for someone that I’m fairly confident is going to become a lead. I’ll leave the driving of non-branded visitors to my organic SEO.