As an SEO campaign moves along, it’s important to monitor the success of the campaign. It’s true that SEO is a long term strategy and that success won’t come over night, but as the campaign progresses you should be able to see small (but significant) gains along the way.
One item that should be monitored is the entrance keywords from organic search. This refers to the keyword that someone types in to a search engine, and then sees your page of content and clicks on it. An Analytics tool, like Google Analytics, allows you to pull this data for any time period that you choose.
There are essentially two types of entrance keywords. The first type of keyword is a “branded” keyword. This refers to a keyword that includes in some way or another the company name, such as “Company X”, “Company X services”, “Company X contact” and lots of other variations. A keyword could also be considered to be a branded keyword if it includes the name of anyone that works at the company or the brand name of the product that the company distributes. The second type of keyword is a “non branded” keyword. This type of keyword has no mention of the company name, product name, employee name, etc. It is simply a term that describes what the site has to offer. For example “running sneakers” is a non branded keyword since there is no company or brand affiliation.
The goal of an SEO campaign is to deliver traffic to a website from the search engines, and primarily from people that are searching using non branded keywords, people that have never heard of the company or product names before. If SEO primarily focuses on non branded keywords, what is an OK percentage of branded keywords?
There really isn’t a correct answer to this question, mostly because there is nothing wrong with branded keywords. This is something that clients often don’t quite understand. They see that a large percentage of their entrance keywords are branded and think that it means that the SEO campaign isn’t working. However, this type of comparison shouldn’t be used. A high percentage of branded entrance keywords doesn’t mean that SEO isn’t working. It means that all of your marketing efforts, both online and offline (and including SEO) ARE working. It means that you have a strong brand. People remember it and type it directly into the search box. If your site is well optimized and you have verified profiles on other sites, you will control the message that is seen.
Instead of comparing the percentage of branded keywords to the percentage of non branded keywords to determine the success of an SEO campaign, a better indicator of SEO success is to compare the number of non branded keywords to the number of non branded keywords before the campaign launched each month. Forget about percentages. Of course, the trend should move upwards but there may be occasional dips during some months, which is normal. The bottom line is that branded entrance keywords are never a bad thing. Having a lot of them just means that your brand is strong.