Everything You Need to Know About Bidding on Branded Keywords

Everything You Need to Know About Bidding on Branded Keywords

Going once, going twice, sold! Bidding for keywords on Google Ads is a tried and true marketing strategy. Pay-per-click assures that when potential customers type prominent words relating to your brand or product into a search engine, your site will be the first thing they see. And considering that page one results receive an impressive 95% of all search traffic, keeping your brand on Google’s first page can be crucial to brand success.

You have two options when it comes to bidding on keywords: you can bid on product-related keywords, and/or you can bid on branded keywords. You might have already considered bidding on some choice words and phrases that best describe your product’s offerings. But have you bid on your own company name, or for that matter, the brand name of your competitors? You might be wondering, “Why would I do that?” Or perhaps, “Can I even do that?” The answers are yes and yes. Let us explain.

Why Keywords Are Key

Why Keywords are Key

Cost-per-click (CPC) refers to how much it costs you each time someone clicks on one of the keywords you’ve bid on and is directed to your site. While this might sound like a costly practice, it doesn’t need to be. Sure, bidding on the most common keywords can quickly end up blowing your marketing budget. The more advertisers you’re competing with, the more expensive it becomes, which means that especially popular keywords have a higher CPC—like “Business Services” at $58.64 or “Lawyer” at $54.86. That’s why you need to get creative: instead of something general like “shoes”, consider “supportive summer sandals.”

All of these keywords are called “generic” keywords, and are useful in helping people discover your brand. However, you should consider taking things a step further, and bidding on branded keywords.

The Benefits of Branded Keywords

In most cases, bidding on your own brand name instead of more generic terms is significantly more cost-effective since you may well be the only one bidding on your own company name. But if that’s the case, why would you bother? Funny you should ask…

Avoid Competitors Stealing Traffic
  • Take Up Search Result Page Space
    Like we mentioned, the first page on any search engine results page (SERP) is prime real estate. Engagement drops 140% from the last entry on page 1 to the first entry on page 2. For businesses that rely on organic search traffic, that can be the difference between success and failure. So, not only do you want to take up space on the first page, but ideally, you want to bump competitors to the dreaded page 2 spot in the process. As the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. If consumers are only interested in what appears on the first results page, then it makes sense to do everything in your power to be as visible to them as possible, and make your competitors invisible in the process. It might sound cheeky, but hey, that’s showbiz.
  • Increase Site Credibility
    Appearing simultaneously in the top spot for both organic and paid search has been shown to increase your credibility in the eyes of potential customers. So, even if you’re ranking well organically for your brand name, it pays to claim as much real estate as possible on the first results page. With so much competition out there in most industries, you need to do everything you can to dominate the marketplace. Which brings us to…
  • Avoid Competitors Stealing Traffic
    VRBO can bid on AirBnB branded keywords. Xbox can bid on PlayStation. It sucks but it’s true. Google has addressed this injustice, and notes that they “don’t investigate or restrict trademarks as keywords.” This means someone can bid on your brand name and out-rank you through the paid results section. If people are specifically typing YOUR brand name into the search engine, chances are they’re in the final stages of the buying process. They’ve done their research, decided on your product or service and are now trying to get to your website to seal the deal. That’s as close to a sale as you can get before they click “Checkout.” Do you really want your competitors’ sales and promotions popping up and swaying your customer’s decision when they already have their credit card in hand?On that note, it can sometimes be worthwhile to bid on your competitor’s branded keywords. While this might seem a little brazen, it can also be a solid business move. Think about it: if someone is looking for your competitor’s products or services, it’s highly likely that they would be interested in what you’re selling too. However, you do need to be careful, as bidding on a competitor’s keyword is openly inviting those competitor’s to bid on your brand name, and potentially poach your customers. It’s a risky move, so think it through clearly before starting a bidding war.

The Takeaway

Bidding on your own branded keywords is an obvious strategy that many brands forget about when crafting their digital marketing attack. Branded keywords are usually cheap enough that they won’t take a big bite out of your budget, but they will protect your brand against competitors who might be eying your customers or traffic.

While appearing on their first page is critical, we’re certainly not saying Google is perfect. Read more about their latest hiccup to discover why an airtight domain strategy should be a top priority for your brand.

Photo Credits: shutterstock / Charlie’s, Shutterstock / Rido, Shutterstock / bbernard