The past week, I’ve been working a report analyzing keywords, traffic and conversions, and while researching the topic, I came across a good, straightforward piece by Will Uppington at bloomreach. He describes the differences between navigational and non-navigational traffic, or branded and non-branded.
These terms refer to visitors who come to your site using a keyword that includes your brand name or the name of one of your products, versus visitors who use non-branded keywords. Non-branded keywords might include a product category or a problem the visitor is trying to solve.
Visitors using branded keywords are awesome, because they are typically BOFU (bottom of the funnel) leads, which means they know you, they came to you specifically and are probably ready to buy. Visitors using non-branded keywords are more likely to be TOFU leads, or top of the funnel. They have an interest or need in an area that applies to you or your products, and are doing some Internet research to learn more.
While visitors who search on branded keywords are more likely to convert, when assembling your SEO or PPC campaign strategy, do you want to focus all of your efforts on this group, just for the higher conversion rate? This might not be the best strategy. A sales funnel of only BOFU leads is not sustainable, and isn’t really a funnel at all. We need to have a constant flow of leads at all stages of the sales lifecycle in order to support growth. A comprehensive SEO/PPC campaign will focus on both branded and non-branded keywords, but consider what the right ratio might be when allocating resources. Here are a few suggestions:
Of course, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to even analyze keywords – branded or not – thanks to the changes Google made to search about a year ago. To briefly rehash the story for those unaware or those who conveniently forgot, Google made SSL encryption the default on Google searches for all Google users signed into a Google account. This encryption prevents keyword data from being passed on to the destination website owner, instead appearing as “not provided.” We can still see the number of visits and leads that came from these sources in the aggregate, but the actual keywords are hidden.
Google initially estimated that this change would only impact 10 percent of search data being passed on to marketers. A year later, companies are reporting much higher numbers, including Kuno and many of our clients, where we are seeing anywhere between 15 and 50 percent.
There are several factors likely contributing to this increase:
Search experts think this trend is going to continue, which begs the question, "What do we do?" Should we be redirecting our efforts and resources elsewhere? Many argue that this further emphasizes the need for good, relevant and shareable content, but doesn’t that content need to be optimized? I’d love to hear what my fellow inbound marketers think. Leave a comment below!
photo credit: shareski
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