SEO Truth Revealed: Branded Keywords Are Safe for Rankings

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Google confirms that using branded keywords in content does not harm search rankings. According to Google’s Search Liaison, the quality and relevance of content to readers are more critical than keyword manipulation. In a recent Twitter exchange addressing concerns about mentioning specific brand names in articles, Jake Boly, a content creator, raised questions about his articles ranking on pages 3-4 of search results despite featuring unique content. This sparked a debate on SEO best practices and Google’s ranking algorithms.


Conflicting Advice from SEO Experts on Branded Keywords


According to Taleb Kabbara, an SEO professional, there is conflicting advice on whether mentioning branded keywords could harm rankings. He advises against using terms like “new balance” in review titles based on audits of numerous sites where he observed negative impacts on rankings.


Google’s Official Response to Branded Keywords in Reviews


In response to concerns raised by SEO professionals, Google’s Search Liaison has clarified its stance. They stated:
“No, you shouldn’t be afraid to mention the brand name of something you are reviewing. It’s literally what readers would expect you to do, and our systems are trying to reward things that are helpful to readers.”
The Google representative explained that omitting the brand name from a review would be counterintuitive, as their systems prioritize content that provides genuine value to readers, irrespective of whether branded terms are used.

Evidence Supporting Google’s Stance on Branded Keywords
In further support of their position, the Google Search Liaison presented evidence from a specific search query: “new balance minimus tr v2 review.”
They pointed out that the top result for this query was not from a major brand but from an individual reviewer. This example illustrates that Google can prioritize and rank independent content relevant and valuable to users, reinforcing their emphasis on content quality over branded keywords.


Reaffirming Best Practices on Branded Keywords


During the discussion, Mike Hardaker mentioned advice he received about no longer ranking for branded keywords. In response, Google’s Search Liaison reaffirmed their stance with a brief reply: “Yeah, don’t do that.” This underscores Google’s recommendation against avoiding branded terms in content, emphasizing adherence to best practices for SEO.


Why We Care: Google’s Stance on Branded Keywords


This exchange clarifies a misconception with direct communication from Google on its approach to ranking content containing branded keywords. It reminds publishers to prioritize writing high-quality content for readers rather than attempting to manipulate rankings by avoiding specific terms. If you need help, consider checking out our monthly SEO packages and let the experts help you.

Shilpi Mathur
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