To answer this question, let me start by asking a few of my own:
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the answer is a resounding yes; absolutely bid on your own brand keywords.
There’s a good chance you rank highly for your brand name. But by ranking for your brand name in the paid ads, as well as your organic listing, you get an even bigger chunk of real estate on the search engine results page (SERP).
The opportunity for brand visibility at a relatively low cost is one I wouldn’t dismiss too quickly!
We know that as your click-through-rates go up, your cost-per-click goes down. And when searchers are typing your brand or business name into Google, 9 times out of 10 they’re going to be looking for your official company website.
This means high CTR’s, and low CPC’s. Highly-qualified traffic with little risk!
In addition, because your brand name probably isn’t a highly sought-after keyword, you won’t run up against a ton of bidders competing for the click. Expect to pay much less than for traditional keywords.
SEO is great, but one of its shortcomings is the inability to act fast. If there’s a time-sensitive message you want to convey, SEO simply won’t allow you to do that.
Here’s what I mean: let’s say you’re having a blow-out sale on ski equipment (this weekend only!). You can create a landing page advertising your sale, but unless a searcher somehow navigates to that page, there’s little else you can do. Your listing in the SERP’s is based on your page’s cached Meta description, so there’s no way you can change it to share about your amazing sale.
With PPC however, you have total control over your message; whether it’s a special promotion, advertising a seasonal product, or offering a discount to encourage click-throughs, your message is 100% in your hands.
We know that one of the factors that go into determining quality scores is CTR. As mentioned above, ads triggered by your brand name will tend to receive higher CTR’s.
And not only does this mean a lower CPC for your ad, but it can also result in improved quality scores across your entire account. As Google sees that your ads are ‘popular’, the reputation and trustworthiness of your account increases, resulting in a better QS and lower CPC’s across the board (PS, is this true?)
You may be surprised to learn that anyone can bid on your brand name. This means your arch-nemesis, mother-in-law, and your competition all have a shot at the #1 paid listing for your brand name.
Who would you like to show up when someone looks for your company? Your business or your competitor’s?
So why would a competitor bid on your brand? Think about this: by the time someone searches for a brand, they’re likely to be in the purchasing phase of the buying cycle. Now imagine you’re NOT bidding for your brand name, but your biggest competitor is. The traffic you lose is likely to be highly-qualified, and ready to buy.
And in case you’re thinking, “I’m in Australia…we’re not allowed to bid on trademarked names!” I hate to tell you, but Google has just changed the rules here so that anyone can bid on your trademarked brand!
You likely won’t want to optimize your homepage for the common misspellings of your business name. Not only would this be pretty difficult, it would also make it look like you can’t spell.
Bidding on misspellings of your brand is a great way to capture that traffic without looking like a high school dropout. Google’s pretty smart; in many cases, it will learn which brands people are actually looking for, even if they misspell it.
But why miss out on this valuable traffic in the meantime? Plus, you get all that added real estate from the top paid listing plus the #1 organic listing.
As you can probably tell by now, I highly recommend bidding on your own brand keywords. I get why many businesses don’t think they need to do it, but when you see it in black and white; it’s hard to deny that it’s just a smart business decision.
Are you currently bidding for your brand keywords? How about for your competitors’ trademarked brand? Let me know in the comments below!
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici
By Philip Shaw