LocalU Faculty
Jul 18, 2012
Hey Guys!

Great news - I met with the team at Google yesterday and we talked a lot about Insights and I finally got clarification on branded searches in GMB Insights. Up to this point, every explanation I've read online is incorrect so it's important to pay attention here. I ran several scenarios by Google and got the answer that makes sense and matches all the data I've seen in my GMB listings.

Basically branded searches are searches for brands that you sell (even if it's a part of your business name) that returns a list of results.
Direct searches are searches for your specific location that return a Knowledge Panel.

Here are some examples:

"State Farm" returns a 3-pack for several locations for State Farm. This is a branded search.
state farm   Google Search.png

"State Farm Bob Hagen" just returns a knowledge panel for that specific location. That's a direct search.
state farm bob hagen   Google Search.png

"Starbucks Near Me" returns a 3-pack with several locations - this is a branded search.
starbucks near me   Google Search.png

"Starbucks on Mission College Blvd" returns just a single, specific Starbucks location. This is a direct search.

starbucks on mission college blvd   Google Search.png

"Samsung TVs near me" returns a list of businesses that sell Samsung TVs. This would also be a branded search.
samsung tvs near me   Google Search.png

So don't think of it in any way of how the search relates to your business name. Look to see if the search is specifically for your location and thus only returns a single one-box or knowledge panel.


Local Search Expert
Sep 12, 2012
Thanks for those examples, that makes it much clearer now.

Rant: Is it just me, or should Google be be able to tell us these things in a way that makes sense without having to beat it out of them?

They seem to like to keep people in the dark on all of their products, not just GMB. Very frustrating. But if I was in their shoes, I'm not sure if I would do it different.

To be fair to them, they are way better it than any other company, like Facebook, etc. But that's not saying much.

Definitely agree with you Yan. They can. Not sure why they don't.

Colan Nielsen

LocalU Faculty
Jul 19, 2012
They seem to like to keep people in the dark on all of their products, not just GMB.

Yes they are purposely vague which creates grey areas. Like Homer Simpson said about beer, grey areas are the cause, and solution to, all of GMB's problems.

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