Mastering Branded Search: Strategies to Increase Your Branded Search Volume

Trappe Digital LLC may earn commission from product clicks and purchases. Rest assured, opinions are mine or of the article’s author.

Branded search volume is critical for any business looking to increase online visibility and drive more qualified leads. The more people searching for your brand name, the better positioned you are to capture bottom-of-funnel prospects who are further along in their buying journey and more likely to convert.

Branded search expert Jason Barnard, founder of Kalicube, joined me on Episode 643 of “The Business Storytelling Show” to discuss the topic.

Article sections

Why branded search matters

Before diving into specific tactics, it’s important to understand why increasing branded search is such a worthy goal. As Jason explains it, branded search is valuable for two main reasons:

1. It indicates interest from your target audience

Jason Barnard
Jason Barnard

“If people are searching your brand name, that’s bottom of the funnel,” says Jason. “They’re really interested in what you have to offer, whether you’re a person or a company. The more people search for your brand name or your personal name, the better you’re going to be doing business because more people ready to buy are engaged with you and searching for you.”

2. It’s a positive signal to Google about your brand’s importance

Google pays attention to branded search volume as well.

“The more Google sees your relevant audience searching your name or your personal name, the more Google understands that you are important to that cohort of its users – the group of people you can relevantly and helpfully serve,” Jason notes. “That’s a huge, huge signal to Google that you are an important member or a leading member of your market.”

Seeing people search for your brand name in combination with related keywords also helps Google connect your brand to those topics. For example, searches for “Jason Barnard Kalicube” help establish the connection between Jason’s personal brand and his company. Searches like “Jason Barnard SEO” and “Jason Barnard branded search” further link him to those specific topics in Google’s eyes.

So increasing your branded search volume accomplishes the dual goals of driving more bottom-funnel prospects and boosting your credibility and authority in the eyes of Google. With that context in mind, let’s look at Jason’s advice for how to actually make it happen.

Strategies to Increase Branded Search

According to Jason, increasing branded search requires a holistic approach rather than just one or two isolated tactics.

“It’s not a piecemeal strategy with one or two pieces that you can build incredibly well and other pieces that you can’t build well,” he says. “You need to build an overall strategy that’s aimed at getting your brand name in front of the right people at the right time.”

He breaks this overall strategy down into three key components:

1. Grab attention with your brand

The first step is making sure your brand is consistently showing up where your target audience is already looking.

“Stand where your audience is looking, making sure that your brand and your brand message is available, easily available and very visible to the people that you can hopefully serve,” advises Jason.

2. Spark curiosity

Once you have people’s attention, the next goal is sparking enough curiosity to compel them to proactively search for your brand. “If you can create curiosity around your brand, people will Google your brand,” Jason explains.

3. Directly ask people to search for your brand

While it may seem simple, Jason also recommends directly asking people to search for your brand name. “If you ask people to do something, especially if they’re your relevant audience, then they probably will,” he points out.

This is an interesting point to me actually. So instead of saying: That’s on Say: Just google “Christoph Trappe” or “Christoph Trappe’s blog.”

Importantly, you want to encourage searches for more than just your brand name in isolation. Jason suggests asking people to search for your brand plus related terms – like your products, topics you’re an expert on, or even reviews. Someone searching “Kalicube branded search,” for instance, helps strengthen Kalicube’s association with that topic.

Read next: How to build a brand identity

How memorable does a brand name need to be?

Another important factor in branded search success is having a brand name that people can easily remember and spell correctly. Some companies make the mistake of choosing a name that looks cool visually but is confusing to actually spell out.

Take the example of Kia when they redesigned their logo in a way that makes it look more like the word “KN”. As a result, many people are now mistakenly searching for “KN car” even though that’s not the company’s actual name.

While Google is generally able to figure out that the searcher means “Kia,” it still creates unnecessary complications. “It creates additional complication that needs to be sorted out both at the communication level and at Google’s understanding level,” Jason explains.

The lesson is that an original, memorable name that’s easy to spell is ideal for branded search purposes. For personal brands, we’re obviously stuck with the names we’re given – which can be an advantage if you have a more unique name, but a disadvantage if it’s commonly misspelled.

Whether you have a unique or very common name, Jason says “your personal branding, brand name searches are always going to be problematic.” But there are still ways to work around it, which we’ll get to shortly.

What’s the right balance between branded and non-branded SEO?

Increasing branded search is important – but it also can’t be the only aspect of SEO that marketers and business owners focus on. Non-branded, topically relevant keywords are still critical for reaching people earlier in their journey.

So, what’s the right balance between branded and non-branded SEO efforts? As with many things in marketing, Jason ultimately says, “It depends.”

“The answer will be different for each individual company,” he elaborates. “Each individual market depends on the market itself, the audience, what your strategy is as a brand.”

That said, Jason has found that using branded search as the foundation and building topic clusters related to the brand tends to be a winning approach.


Maximizing branded search

“We realized that if we boil the whole strategy that we have developed using the Kalicube process into let’s just go out looking for branded search, how can we maximize the volume of branded search both the brand name and branded terms, we can build the entire strategy around purely the brand,” Jason explains.

“The reason that’s so powerful is because by doing that you’re building from the bottom of the funnel to the top all of the content that you need to communicate with your audience, which means you’re focusing on the bottom of funnel – the people most important, the most likely to convert – and building upwards in the funnel to the people that you’re now bringing in from the curiosity stage,” he continues. “All of it is based on brand.”

With this approach, topical relevance gets baked into your branded content rather than being something you try to attach to your brand after the fact retroactively. You’re building credibility on key topics while building awareness of and affinity for your brand.

“You’re building the brand, and topicality is baked in, and that’s hugely powerful because then you don’t need even to ask how to balance brand vs. non-brand priorities,” Jason points out.

Striking the right tone with branded content

Of course, building topical authority with branded content is easier said than done. One of the challenges is striking the right balance between being informative/helpful and weaving in brand mentions without coming across as overly promotional or salesy.

“I think what we all tend to do is to think well, I need to say it all at once. In fact, the effect of brand, the boost in branded search that you get, is cumulative from mentioning the brand time and time and time again – but not all in a row in the same place. It’s about mentioning your brand in every touchpoint that your audience is going to be.”

So rather than rattling off repeated brand mentions within a single piece of content, the key is consistently but organically working your brand into all the different places your audience encounters you – whether that’s articles, social media profiles, podcast appearances or anything else.


“It’s not so much a question of say your brand, say your brand, say your brand, say your brand, say your brand,” Jason clarifies. “It’s be consistent about making sure that your brand name is visible, and if possible audible, every time your audience comes across you. Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip – you’ll get that branded search volume increase.”

Read next: Audio Branding: Creating a Unique Sonic Identity for Your Business

This “drip” approach can be frustrating for teams who are under pressure to deliver results quickly. Building branded search volume is really a long game, much like any other kind of lasting, meaningful brand affinity.

“It’s very easy to say [drip, drip, drip], and I know how unhelpful that is when people are looking for short-term results,” Jason acknowledges. “That is part of the entire problem for me of digital marketing – it’s often seen as the simple, quick, easy, huge win, especially SEO. And it’s just like business offline. It’s building and building and building your audience, your customer, your client base on a brand message that’s incredibly clear on marketing materials that make sense to your audience. And feeding that over a period of time.”

In other words, there is no way around putting in the time if you want to build a brand that has lasting power and commands attention in your industry. Shortcuts and hacks may move the needle temporarily, but the only path to sustainable branded search growth is the patient, steady approach.

“At the end of the day, there isn’t a choice,” says Jason. “But what you can remember is each time you mention your brand without being heavy-handed, that will build into the huge, wonderful, strong mansion.”

Final thoughts

Ultimately, there’s no secret hack to quickly inflating branded search. Like anything worthwhile in marketing, it takes a lot of intentional, coordinated and patient effort. But as Jason says, every little brand mention is another brick in the mansion you’re trying to build.

Stay focused on showing up where it counts, sparking curiosity, and making that simple, direct ask for people to search for your brand and related topics. The branded search volume will follow if you keep reinforcing it over time while avoiding confusing missteps like hard-to-spell names or sluggish rebrands. And with it will come more qualified leads, better rankings, and a stronger overall brand affinity that will power your business for the long haul.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Listen to my podcast