Brand Is Bigger Than Category

Torlando Hakes
2 min readOct 1, 2021


One thing PPC experts know that they aren’t telling you is that the top brands get more monthly average searches with the brand name as the keyword than the top keyword category.

I recently did two searches for keyword results for two different SaaS companies.

First, I searched for keywords based on the URL just to see which keywords they were popping up for and what their own search volume looked like for their brand.

The results were abysmal.

Then I took their top competitor and scraped their URL for top keyword searches.

Then I took the top keywords and went directly to Google, searched using the top keyword and found related searches at the bottom and added those to my keyword planner and forecaster.

I did this until I found the top keyword for the category.

Then I compared that to the search volume for the brand name of the category leader.

The brand as a keyword dwarfed the volume of the top category based keyword by a factor of 16X!

So what?

Well, the way most leaders want to think about Google search is that you find the keywords that people are looking for and you try to show up on top for the people who don’t know about you yet. But that isn’t always a strategy that makes sense for every category. Especially, in spaces where the problem you solve has a new solution that hasn’t existed before in the marketplace.

The fact is there just aren’t enough searches for the category happening. All of the searches are going toward the leading Brand, who’s name has become the name of the category.

Let me put it this way. People are not searching for facial tissue. They are searching for Kleenex. And if you are not Kleenex, you are an off-brand label. Even if you don’t think you are.

Brand marketing is the solution. You don’t have to catch up to them. You just have to become the name that enough people go searching for to make your business plan viable.

You will not do that by catching them in a category search. You have to get on top of their mind before they go to search.

You have to make your brand a meaningful part of the culture.

When you do that, you have the potential to eclipse the category search and be the Lyft to somebody else’s Uber. Stop trying to show up for Taxi.



Torlando Hakes

Craftsman Painter CEO | Author of Sprint | PaintED Podcast Host