Are Non-Branded or Branded Searches the Most Important for Local Businesses?

If approximately 66% of your organic impressions in Google originate from non-branded searches, also known as discovery searches, it’s vital that you are visible and stand out from your competition.


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Organic Impressions and Non-Branded Searches


Before we dive deeper into these numbers, what is an organic impression and what is a non-branded search in Google?


An organic impression is simply when your website appears in a Google search. For example, when I search for “estate agent Pimlico”, these three businesses have all just got an impression:


Search Results


The screenshot is also an example of a non-branded search. This is when someone searches for a service or a product, rather than a specific brand. Here are a few other examples of a non-branded search:

  • Locksmith near me
  • Laptop repairs York
  • Supermarket Chelsea
  • Shoe repairs near me


You get the idea!



Back to the Numbers


As we mentioned, 66 out of every 100 times you appear in Google is because of a non-branded search. So, it’s key that you do something to catch the searchers eye! A great way to make sure that you get chosen before your competitors is to get stars in your website search results. You can see that our client Bradleys Estate Agents are much more likely to get the website traffic than the competition when I search for “estate agent Bovey Tracey”:


Local Search Results



Branded Searches and Reviews


So, we’ve sorted the 66% of the times that you appear in Google, but what about the other 34%? These organic impressions are made up of branded searches or direct searches. As you’d expect, a branded search is when someone searches for your brand directly. For example, we could go to Google and search for “Bradleys Estate Agents” if we already know that they exist:


Bradley's Branded Search Result


Google will not display stars against your search results when someone does a branded search like this. Instead, they’ll give searchers lots of extra links to your website because they’ve assumed that you were intending to visit this website.


However, reviews can still play a huge part in branded searches. When I search for “Bradleys Estate Agents reviews” in Google, I’m performing a branded search, and the Bradleys website appears with stars organically:


Search Result


Someone performing a branded search like this clearly wants some reassurance that you’re the right business to choose. Having your amazing reviews displaying against your website search results, like Bradleys do here, is a sure-fire way to ensure that anyone who is performing a branded search out of scepticism, is encouraged to quickly put that aside and visit your website.


It turns out then, that reviews and stars in organic search, are important for non-branded and branded searches. So, they’re important 100% of the time when people are searching in Google!



Google My Business and Non-Branded Searches


We can’t finish without mentioning Google My Business – why? It’s because 84% of searches in Google Maps are non-branded discovery searches. This means that 84 out of every 100 times that your Google My Business listing shows up, it’s because of a discovery search, not a branded search. As such, it’s so important to make sure that your Google My Business listing is properly filled in and optimised for local searches. If you’re not sure how to fill every section in, please read one of our other blogs on optimising your Google My Business listings (link to GMB blogs).


We’ll look at one key thing that you can do here though. Fill in your Services section in Google My Business and you’ll stand every chance of showing up higher when people perform a discovery search. This is because Google creates what’s called a Services Justification when someone does a discovery search. When I search for “kayaking lessons York:” you can see that Lost Earth Adventures stands more chance of getting the traffic and the business because Google has given them a blue tick. This is because they have kayaking lessons in their services section in Google My Business!


Google Maps


You can figure out which services to include by using Google’s free tools like Google Trends which we’ve also written about at length here.

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