Branded Search: Should I Buy Traffic?

Investing in branded search terms can be a tough decision. We look at 4 considerations that will help you decide if buying branded search terms is worth it.

byJeff Cooper

“Should I buy traffic using Google paid search for my brand name?”  We get this question a lot and today we want to take you through a few checks to determine if it’s worth investing in your brand name using Google paid search.

Branded vs Non-branded Search

Before we dive in, let’s make sure we’re being clear about what we mean when we
say branded versus non-branded search. We will use Saltbox, a digital marketing
agency, as an example. With Saltbox, a branded search would be anything that
directly contains our brand name. You might refer to these as
navigational queries, where a user is trying to find us but they already know who
we are. Some examples of that might be Saltbox, Saltbox Solutions, or
somebody typing in, which by the way, is not our website.
When we talk about non-branded search, we’re talking about queries where users
don’t already know us, but we might be a relevant result. For instance, if
somebody searched for Google Ads Agency or SEO Agency, that would be a non-
branded query that is relevant to Saltbox as a business. When you’re trying to figure
out whether you should be buying clicks for your brand name, there are a few
things you might want to do.

Google your brand name

The first thing I suggest is to Google your brand name and look at the results. Let’s look at a few examples here.

In this first example, I’ve googled our brand name Saltbox. As you can see from this page, we don’t show up in the top at all, were outranked by several businesses that
are also named the same thing. This could be a great example where I might want
to invest in buying my brand name to make sure I show up at the very top of this
type of query.

In this second example, we’ve googled Wix. Here you can see the
first result is an ad for GoDaddy. In this case, Wix has competitive pressure
where some of their competitors are bidding and buying directly on their brand
name. In this case, it might be a good idea for Wix to do the same in order to box
out their competition.

User experience considerations

Other reason you might want to consider investing in buying traffic for your brand name is if you have special user experience considerations such as a situation where you couldn’t work directly with your IT team or web provider to set up a great landing page for your ads.
Instead, you may have used a system like Leadpages or Unbounce to set up a
special landing page where you could advertise your offer. In this case, you may still
want to invest in branded search so you can control the user experience
and send users directly to the page that’s all about your offer.

Test the value of branded search

Another suggestion is to make sure you test branded search. You don’t want to buy clicks for your brand name if it’s not providing incremental value to you as a business.

One way to test this is to turn off branded search for a period of time and then look at your organic search data using a tool such as Google Search Console to see if you’re able to get the same amount of traffic and leads by showing up organically in the search results.


In this article, we have looked at a few ways you can determine if your company should invest in branded search.  I hope this information has been helpful and if you need help managing your paid search or SEO, contact our experts to see if we can help. And remember to always be optimizing.


Jeff Cooper

Founder & President, Saltbox Solutions

Pay-per-Click Advertising

We help clients build, manage, and optimize paid search and retargeting campaigns to enable consistent profitable lead acquisition.

Learn more →