The Importance of Protecting Your Brand on Google

The Importance of Protecting Your Brand on Google Parallax Image

For those not familiar with the concept of brand bidding, it’s the practice of using a Per Per Click (PPC) bidding platform such as Google Adwords (other search engines are apparently available), to appear at the top of search results pages for keywords related to your brand.

Keywords that people search for on Google can broadly be split into two categories; either Generic, or Brand.

Generic keywords are keywords that describe something, and could relate to any number of brands or none. For example, someone may search for “boilers”, or “boiler installers in Manchester”. Generic keywords tend to have the most search volume, be the most competitive and therefore the most expensive keywords to appear for.

Brand keywords on the other hand, relate to a particular brand. A user searching for something like “B&Q”, or “Dave’s Boilers Manchester” would be using a brand search term. There is a long running and still disputed debate in the PPC profession as to whether companies should bid on their own brand related keywords or not. In this article we attempt to lay out the pros and cons of brand bidding, to help you decide if it’s right for you and your campaigns.

Arguments for brand bidding

  1. Control

    Dominate the SERPS and control your message. One of the biggest arguments against brand bidding, is that if you rank highly in the organic search listings, then you needn’t waste money paying for ads, as people searching for your brand will find you without having to pay per click. This is a valid argument.

    Even if however, you rank highly for all of the search terms you’re considering bidding on, there may still be merit in paying Google for the privilege. One of the main benefits of PPC vs high organic listings is that you dictate the exact wording displayed in the search results. Meta tags have traditionally been used by Google for titles and descriptions, however they will often rewrite these completely. Even if Google uses your prescribed title it can often be difficult to create a title that works for both SEO and encourages a high click through rate.

  2. Protection from competitors

    Trademarked brands can ask Google to prohibit others from including it in their PPC ads. Whilst this doesn’t stop them from bidding on your brand terms, they’ll struggle to achieve a high click through rate.

    Having said that, if you have a well known brand, then the temptation from competitors to try to poach your highly qualified and motivated potential customers may be too much for them to resist. If this is a possibility, then brand bidding is a must.

  3. Account equity

    This one is more of a rumour than a fact, as Google notoriously keep their algorithm a secret. It is widely believed that high performing campaigns and ad groups will have an overall positive impact on other campaigns within that account. As brand campaigns generally have extremely high rates of engagement, this can result in an overall boost to your account.

  4. It's cheap

    Knowing how Google’s algorithm works, and given the two points above, it shouldn’t be any surprise that bidding on your brand will be relatively cheap. With low competition comes a low Cost Per Click (CPC) and as long as your ad copy and landing pages are of good enough quality, then your CPC will be significantly lower than any generic keyword that you may be bidding on.

Arguments against brand bidding

  1. It’s a waste of money

    Whether this is true for your really comes down to one question; do your existing websites or related online properties (e.g. social media and review profiles) already dominate the top 10 organic search results?

  2. It’s unnecessary

    If you do already dominate the organic listings for some or all of your brand terms, you may be wasting money. Keep an eye out for any competitors who may start bidding on your brand. Review sites are a good example of an area where it pays to push your own agenda to the top of the page.

As it should be clear from the lists above, the balance of pro’s and con’s of brand bidding will vary between brands and their respective online positioning, and business strategy. One thing is to be sure, if someone is going to search for your business online by name, you need to be there when they do.

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