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The Impact of Branded & Unbranded Keywords for Local Search

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By: Chris Tabb

Ranking well organically for branded and unbranded keywords is important for local search performance. Why? Because potential customers use both interchangeably in their online shopping research. The last thing you want to do is create an opening for competitors to swoop in and steal a customer because you didn’t show up – or worse yet, your dealership information was incorrect in local search results.

Make sure that your SEO is optimized for maximum impact with these key best practices for mobile and desktop search engine results pages (SERPs).

Mobile Search for Local Products and Services

More than 80% of the people in the U.S. have a smartphone, and that number is growing. People use their phones for everything; especially nowadays with the convenience of local search filterability and “near me” results. The convenience created by mobile search has made it possible for consumers to search for anything they want at home and on the go. They want to find and buy what they want quickly and without a hassle.

Local searches for automotive frequently include “open now” and “near me” qualifiers. Making sure that your website and Google My Business (GMB) listings are optimized and aligned with search engines ensures that customers find you quickly every time they’re looking for service, repairs, and new or used vehicle purchases.

Google My Business: The Linchpin of Local Search Engine Alignment

Google My Business has a big impact on local search. Although the feature has only been around since 2014, it continues to evolve and take up more prime real estate on search results. The service implements Google Maps and geo-fencing, so searchers get accurate results when looking for a “specific business near me” that is “open now.”

GMB can help you improve your ranking in local search; especially if you know how to optimize your GMB listing. It will improve your chances of getting listed on Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, and organic rankings in general.

Why You Need Unbranded Keywords

These are keywords that specify the type of business vs. the brand; for example, “Ford dealers near me” instead of “Greenway Ford.” Unbranded keywords increase your visibility in SERPs and help new customers find you when they show intent to buy.

More people search using unbranded keywords when they know what they want to buy, but aren’t sure which place to buy from. For instance, if they want to get an oil change, they might search for “best deal on oil change” or “fast oil change near me.” As you know, unbranded keywords like this are competitive for organic and paid search so it’s important that you are consistently monitoring and optimizing search performance to retain top positions without slipping below competitors.

Quick Tip: Create a keyphrase strategy for local search campaigns that focuses on keywords and terms that are commonly searched for by your customers. The right unbranded keywords will signal to Google, Bing, and other search engines that your business is a relevant choice for the searcher.

Why You Need Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are those that include your brand. Customers who have heard of your brand or who have visited you before typically use this type of search. These searchers indicate specific intent to learn more about, or buy from, your business. Examples of branded keyword searches include “Greenway Ford reviews” or “Greenway Ford service hours.”

Why You Need Both Branded and Unbranded Keywords

Studies show that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers. The key to effectively growing your customer base (and by extension revenue) is to consistently bring in new customers and retain more over time. This is why it’s important to have unbranded and branded keywords working together on search engines where over 90% of people turn to first when researching a product or service.

Visit the PureCars Blog to learn more best practices for local seo and search engine alignment!

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