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keywords

To Bid or Not to Bid

By | keywords

Brand keywords are an important part of overall paid search strategy. However, many advertisers are often unsure or else completely against it. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been asked “Why would I buy my own trademarked terms if I’m already showing up number one in free, organic listings?”

This argument may seem logical, but there are some very sound (and proven) reasons for buying your brand’s keywords:

1) Protect and own your brand in search results: Search engines allow competitors and/or affiliates to bid on virtually any trademarked term. While some advertisers consider it “unethical”, the reality is that it’s a very common practice. Why let your competitors and affiliates own that ad real estate to either a) push their own product/service as an alternative or worse, b) use false or misleading ads to confuse your potential customers?

Controlling your brand image is crucial offline and online, and PPC ads are perfect for this. You can change and test messaging on the fly, and even use “”Official Site” in ads so as to make clear your ad will lead that user to the actual site they were searching.

2) Improve your quality scores: Bidding on your brand keywords may also help improve Quality Scores, as suggested by Dave Davis here – “…always bid (and bid high) on your company or brand name. You will get a massive boost in historical CTR because 70%+ of the time, your ad is what searchers are looking for. You will pay pennies per click and decrease the normalized Quality Score and historical account CTR of any competitors bidding on your brand or company name!”

3) Brand keywords yield lower CPCs and higher click through rates, which can also mean lower cost per acquisitions.

4) Overall search revenue may be higher:

From Certified Knowledge:

“…Paid search allows you to increase your overall profit (in the vast majority of cases)”

From 3Q Digital:

“…brand keywords increased total brand conversions (SEO+SEM) by around 10% even though competition was rare on both paid and organic listings”

From Econsultancy:

“… investment in brand paid search delivers incremental revenue. As soon as we paused the ads, the total revenue from search dropped and wasn’t fully compensated via other channels”

From Enquiro Research:

“When a brand name is the top result in both natural and paid search results, 83% of consumers looking to buy would consider a purchase. Without paid search, however, the same brand name as the top result in organic search only obtains 73% purchase consideration”

As with everything else PPC, you ultimately must decide what’s best for YOUR brand because every industry, company, product and/or offer is different. The only way to know how buying brand keywords impacts your bottom line is to test it yourself. Pause your branded PPC campaign and/or ad group for a set time frame, then closely monitor organic traffic and overall conversions to see if you experience significant decrease in traffic or loss in revenue.

NOTE: You as an advertiser can file a Google AdWords trademark complaint letter specifically advising Google that you do not want other advertisers using your trademark in their ad. However, this does NOT mean advertisers must stop buying your trademark. You would probably need your lawyer to send a cease and desist directly to the company because the search engines clearly state they do not police this on their advertiser’s behalf.

Read the Google AdWords trademark policy, and here’s the link to file trademark complaint letter.

Be A Keyword Groupie

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Relevancy. It’s all you hear Google talk about. And, it’s everything when it comes to building and managing your Google AdWords account.

Google AdWords consistently makes updates to their algorithm to ensure they deliver the highest quality ads to the right audience. One of the most important measures implemented years ago was Quality Score, which ultimately determines how much you pay per click and your Ad Rank, which determines the ad position in the auction. Read Google’s help section for detailed description of Quality Score.

Your account structure and keyword grouping are essential factors in building effective and profitable PPC (pay per click) campaigns with high Quality Scores. In order to achieve high Quality Scores, advertisers should group their keywords into tightly themed and well-organized groups with highly targeted ads. Create as many small, highly themed ad groups as necessary. I aim for groups with no more than 50 to 100 keywords, but smaller groups of 20 or less are often more ideal for certain accounts.

Categorizing keywords into themed groups may seem daunting. But never fear, there are tools to help make your job easier. Wordstream’s Free Keyword Grouper tool is an easy and handy option. You can also research other free and/or paid tools by Googling “keyword grouping tools”. You may decide not to group your keywords as suggested by these tools, but it gives you place to start.

What if you need to restructure an existing account that may have grouped unrelated keywords in a single ad group? Typically you’ll find a handful of keywords in any ad group generate the most clicks, leads and/or orders. I usually leave those best performing keyword in their own existing ad group, opting instead to move all other lower volume keywords into new ad groups. And remember, per Google: “breaking keywords into new ad groups or campaigns (without changing the ad text or landing page) has no effect on their Quality Score. But moving a keyword to a new ad group that has new ad text could change your Quality Score, because that can affect user experience.”

More relevant keyword groups can result in higher click through rates and lower minimum bids – so get in there and restructure and optimize! And remember, optimization isn’t a one time thing – you must constantly monitor Quality Score and performance metrics for new areas in need of further optimization.