When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), it’s important to be able to track branded and non-branded organic traffic. So what is branded and non-branded organic traffic, why are they important, and how do you measure them? Let’s get into it.
Simply put, branded organic traffic is any organic traffic that comes from a keyword phrase that contains a branded term.
For example, QuietKat is a well-known eBike company so they receive a lot of branded searches, but not everyone spells their brand name correctly – or spells out the full name. Some examples of the branded searches that they receive are:
- quietkat bike
- quiet cat bike
- qk electric bike
Why is tracking branded and non-branded traffic Important?
It’s important to accurately track branded and non-branded organic traffic because it gives you a sense of how well your content and technical SEO is performing and what outside factors are having an effect on it.
After all, the goal of technical seo and seo content is to help see higher search rankings and new traffic – not just to gain traction with people already looking for your brand.
There are a lot of factors that lead to an increase or decrease in organic traffic and by tracking branded and non-branded keyword movements you’ll be better able to accurately pinpoint what the cause is. Let’s look at a few scenarios:
- You just hired a PR agency a few months ago and are seeing a 30% increase in organic traffic MoM (month over month). Is this increase due to the PR agency’s efforts, your SEO content strategy, or both?
- Your brand reputation took a hit on social media. Organic traffic is steady but conversion rate is dropping. Could it be that non-branded organic traffic is still performing well but branded organic CVR (conversion rate) is decreasing?
- Your industry as a whole is growing exponentially and your company is reaping the benefits of this as organic traffic is up 60% MoM. Did your keyword rankings improve or did they stay the same but the monthly volume for those keywords has increased?
These are just a few reasons why it’s important to track everything you can about your organic traffic and keyword rankings.
How to track branded and non-branded organic traffic
So now you know why tracking organic keyword movement is important, but how do you track your keywords? There are a few different ways to do so. Let’s discuss the options.
SEMrush is probably the easiest way to track branded and non-branded organic traffic, along with other keyword movements. SEMrush is built for SEO keyword research so it’s no surprise that it’s the number one option.
With SEMrush, there is no math involved because not only do they calculate branded and non-branded traffic for you, they even plot it on a timeline so that you can see the historic performance as well.
There are a few caveats with SEMrush’s calculations and you should not completely take this at face value. I suggest taking a look at the keyword rankings and doing some quick math in your head to see if the percentage of organic traffic matches with these calculations. Sometimes SEMrush doesn’t count certain words that are misspelled or contain a space in the brand name, etc.,
By looking at the keyword rankings, you can filter the keywords by branded and non-branded keywords and focus on the Traffic % column.
Google Analytics & Google Search Console
The second way to track branded and non-branded organic traffic and sales is to use Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
One advantage of using GA & GSC is that you can view organic sales data as well as other on-page metrics that GA tracks. Another advantage of using GA is that people are generally much more familiar with GA than SEMrush and have more experience working with the data.
In order to track organic keywords in Google Analytics, you’ll need to make sure that Google Search Console is connected to Google Analytics. This takes just a minute and will be worth it in the long run. It’s important that you do this asap because Google only starts tracking data from the date when you connected to two platforms.
From here, we’re able to export this information to a spreadsheet and calculate the percentage of organic traffic from branded and non-branded keywords.
Whether you’re an agency or a brand, it’s important to understand and measure the difference in traffic, sales, and CVR between branded and non-branded traffic. If you’re running PPC campaigns alongside your organic efforts then you probably know how important it is to track branded and non-branded keywords and the different ROAS you get from each campaign.
Branded vs non-branded organic traffic and sales reports can be a game-changer when reporting on your SEO performance.
Are you tracking your branded and non-branded organic traffic? What are some trends you’ve noticed? Let us know!
Derek is a digital marketer based in Boston, Massachusetts with almost a decade of hands-on SEO experience. He finds it meaningful, challenging, and exciting to develop, test, and implement new SEO strategies. When he’s not auditing websites and optimizing content he’s usually backpacking and exploring new cultures.