To Bid or Not to Bid on Brand Keywords in Google Ads

By keywords

Brand keywords are an important part of overall paid search strategy. However, many advertisers are either unsure or completely against bidding on their own brand name in Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), often challenging their digital marketing agency with the question: “Why bid on my own brand name if I’m already showing up number one in Google organic results?”

This argument may seem logical, but there are some very sound and proven reasons for bidding on your brand’s business name, trademarks, and copyrights.

1) Protect your brand in search results: Search engines allow advertisers to bid on virtually any keyword, including competitor brand names and/or trademarks. While some businesses consider it unethical, the reality is that it’s a common paid advertising practice. Why let your competitors or affiliate advertisers own that advertising 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, and Google Ads  is perfect for this. You can change and test ad messaging on the fly, and even use “Official Site” in your headlines to make clear that clicking on your ad will lead the user to the actual site they were searching.

2) Control the search engine results page: As suggested by Ali Wilson here – “Just because you’re the #1 organic result doesn’t mean you’re also #2-10. It also doesn’t mean that you’re prominent in other features on the SERP like maps, images, shopping, knowledge graphs, answer boxes, or anything Google will roll out next.”

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

4) Send potential customers to a well designed landing page, which may convert better than the link to your home page they access from a top organic listing. You can also use this as an opportunity to promote a last minute sale or discount. From WordStream: “…remember that your organic results might not send searchers to the most ideal landing pages. Take advantage of paid ads and send your searchers to your highest converting landing pages.”

5) Overall search (including organic) revenue may be higher:

From Brad Geddes: “…users still click on organic listings, even when a paid search advert is appearing above it. In the vast majority of cases, running paid search ads for the same keywords as your organic listings produces more profit overall”

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”

Building brand awareness and increasing positive interactions with your brand are key to connecting with new audiences and retaining loyal customers. And a Brand campaign can help you with both.

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: As an advertiser, you can file a Google Ads trademark complaint letter specifically advising Google that you do not want other advertisers using your trademark in their ad. This does NOT mean advertisers must stop buying your trademark. You can review Google’s Trademarks policy, verify if you are eligible, and also find the form to submit here:


Need help with your nationwide Google Ads campaign management, or looking for Hawaii digital marketing company to manage your local online marketing? Review my services and contact me today.

Be a Keyword Groupie

By keywords

Relevancy. It’s all you hear Google talk about. And it’s everything when it comes to creating and managing your Google Ads (formerly called Google AdWords) account.

Google Ads consistently makes updates to their ad platform 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. 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 ad groups with highly targeted ads that point to relevant landing pages. 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. You can research free and/or paid tools by Googling “keyword grouping tools”, but why not do it yourself within an Excel spreadsheet?

1) Start by compiling a complete keyword list. Next, use a free word frequency counter such as WriteWords to help find keyword themes by pasting your list of keywords in the box and clicking submit. Your results should show how often specific phrases appear in your keywords, and looks something like this:

2) Using those keyword themes as a guide, head into Excel and utilize the “Filter” command to build out your campaigns and ad groups.  You don’t have to be an Excel Pro to do some quick and basic filtering. Start with three columns: Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword. Paste your keywords into the Keyword column and then select the Data tab and click Filter.

Next, click the arrow at the top of your Keywords column:

Once you click the arrow a filter menu will appear where you can type your keyword theme. Once you have done that, click OK you will only see the rows that contain that phrase, in this example I used “digital marketing” as my phrase filter:

From here you can type “Digital Marketing” in cell B2 under Ad Group, then copy and past cell B2 to the other cells. Repeat these same steps for each keyword theme.

Advanced Excel users will be interested in Moz’s Advanced Guide to Keyword Clustering post.

What if you need to restructure an existing account that may have grouped unrelated keywords in a single ad group? Typically you’ll find that a handful of keywords in any ad group generates the most clicks, leads and/or transactions. I usually leave a top converting keyword in their own existing ad group, opting instead to move all other lower volume keywords into new ad groups. A note, 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 cost per click – so get in there and restructure and optimize! Always 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.

Need help with reorganizing your account, or looking for Hawaii digital marketing company to manage your local online marketing? Review my services and contact me today.