The one and SEOnly: Brand genericide and SEO

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When I first started writing this blog post, I had to research brand genericide: I Googled it. Once I was fully informed, I collated my notes: I used a Post-It note. After writing, I ensured the document was backed-up: I used a memory stick.

Notice anything strange about this introduction? If you did, hats off. If you didn’t, quite frankly you’re not to blame. The truth is the first paragraph is a brand genericide minefield. Did I really use Google or did I use a similar search engine? Were my sticky notes really manufactured by Post-It? It’s hard to tell in today’s society, where individual products have become synonymous with the manufacturer’s brand name.

We come into contact with brand genericide on a daily basis yet rarely do we acknowledge it. In fact, it can be something of a challenge to untangle a product’s real name from its associated brand.

Becoming a household name is a goal for many brands, however, it can pose difficulties for stockists in terms of content optimisation. The table below sheds more light on the matter. As you can see, there is a significant difference between the number of searches for brand and product name.

Brand Name Product Name Brand Search Volume Product Search Volume
Sellotape Sticky tape 12,100 480
Hoover Vacuum cleaner 27,100 12,100
Dictaphone Dictation machine 8,100 320
Post-It Notes Sticky notes 5,400 3,600
Vaseline Petroleum jelly 8,100 2,900
Frisbee Flying disc 5,400 170
Tippex Correction fluid 1,600 170


So, how would a flying disc retailer craft their content to capitalise on the 5,400 people searching for Frisbee? Would they let this lucrative market pass them by and settle with the measly traffic of 170 visits per month? Of course they wouldn’t! Rather, they’d get smart with their content.

There are a few rules that should be followed in order to maximise search visibility while avoiding copyright infringement, as this post will discuss.

Don’t mislead users

This first rule is potentially the most essential: don’t mislead your users. With such stark differences between search volumes, it can be tempting to name-drop your way through your content, littering it with brand mentions. However, the rule is simple: if you don’t stock it, don’t mention it.

Imagine yourself as a customer. After laboriously searching online for a particular range of Post-It notes, you’re delighted to find a retailer that appears to meet your needs. As the web page loads, you’re horrified to find that the ruthless retailer has merely mentioned Post-It notes in order to boost the brand’s search visibility. In disgust, you leave the website and continue on your quest to find the specific products you require.

Despite the dramatic embellishment, this tale happens online all too often. A website has only a short time to impress a user: you may have the fanciest alternative sticky notes in the world, but if you don’t stock what you say you do, users will quickly lose trust and interest. Bounce rates rise and your sales drop — it’s a lose-lose situation that could easily be avoided. All you have to do is honestly craft your content, only mentioning the brands you do stock.

Link back

If you do stock brands that have impressive search visibility, it’s simple to capitalise on the influx of users you receive. For example, while it may be technically incorrect, it is much more common for people to refer to a flying disc as a Frisbee. This means that people who aren’t necessarily looking for a particular brand of flying disc are arriving at the Frisbee brand page of your website.

Redirecting your users from this page to your main flying disc category will help to drive the sales of similar items from alternative brands, allowing you to provide a more comprehensive range of products.

Title it right

We all know that page titles are a crucial ranking factor for websites. In terms of brand genericide, category pages can be difficult to name, especially if more than one brand features.

However, there is a way around this that allows you to capitalise on the product’s official name, as well as the various brands you stock. Take vacuum cleaners for example. A title like ‘Vacuum Cleaners: Hoover, Dyson & More’ would be an appropriate way to significantly increase search visibility, while also adding more information for the user.


As always, the most important thing to remember when it comes to creating content is the user. The primary aim of your copy is to enhance the user experience, with improving search visibility ranking a close second. Following these simple rules can help you achieve both, without facing a copyright infringement penalty!

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