One hot topic with Adwords managers and their clients is whether or not to bid on their own branded terms.
The argument is always the same: “If I rank number one for people searching for my company by name then why should I pay extra for them to visit my site” – Which in all fairness is quite logical.
… The choice is ultimately up to the client but nine times out of ten the smart answer is “Yes, you should bid on your branded terms” … and here are some reasons why:
Guard Your Brand.
It takes a long time to build your brand and even longer to secure the top search engine positions. Ideally you should show up in page one of the results for your brand with as many results as possible including social media, Google local, perhaps blog or news articles and of course: Ads.
They can be a great way to enhance your brand continuity and provided you have a little budget set aside to do so, it will help you flex your branded muscles on page one of search results and show evidence that you are well established and dominant. Which leads on nicely to…
Dominating the Top of Search Results:
Being position one in the rankings may not instantly mean you get all the traffic.
Dominating the top of the page with your organic listing, your text ad and potentially a Google Shopping ad (or PLA) fills the valuable real-estate at the top of the page and doubles or potentially triples your chances of making a sales or getting an enquiry. (Along with the other channels mentioned above.)
It goes without saying that blocking your competitors from taking any angle into the top of that page is a very valuable tool indeed and big companies are spending big bucks to make this happen.
Blocking Your Competitors Ads
The biggest single reason to spend money on branded terms is to keep competitors out of your top-spots.
The chances are, they may be bidding on your brand name and attempting to steal your website traffic. You have spent years building your brand and if a person searching online is entering your brand name then they will likely want to buy or enquire from you. If a competitor ranks for your brand name above your organic listing then the chances are they just stole that sale or enquiry… Why let them?
We’ve seen many examples where sneaky competitors were bidding on other companies’ brand names and stealing the top spots, often with clever plays-on-words in the ad copy that mimicked the brand name they were bidding on. There is no way around this other than to get involved and bid on branded terms.
It’s Actually Quite Cheap.
On most campaigns we work on the average cost per click is usually £1.50 and upwards, in many cases is can be significantly more. Branded terms usually come in at around 10 to 30 pence per click. making them some of the cheapest clicks on the whole campaign. It’s worth that expense to keep competitors out and double your chances of a sale, isn’t it?
Faster & Correct Customisation Of Your Services / Products / Message
Organic listings take time and the sad fact is that just because you WANT something to rank, does not mean it will. For example, it’s easy to optimise a page incorrectly and and have the wrong logical landing page showing where perhaps, your home page should be.
For example: If you over optimise the “About Us” page on your website by getting the elements right but in the process confusing search engines who see that page and think it is more relevant than your home page and in turn: rank it for your branded terms. This can takes weeks or months to fix and see a re-index that restores the balance when in the meantime you can run ads that address that issue.
It may not be the ideal solution but it is a solid way of putting a sticking plaster over the issue and taking up the top of the page, whilst directing traffic to the right place.
Saying The Right Thing
The last point leads onto the next which is: Ads say EXACTLY what you want them to say, not what search engines decide to show.
Organic results may scrape content from a poorly optimised page and so what should be a correct meta title and description may in fact be irrelevant information, in some cases in the past we saw parts of the address and even the web developers company being in the organic listing for a smaller brand!
The beauty with ads is that they say exactly what you tell them to: You can say for example:
*Which may be a vast improvement over what Google chooses to show!
SEO and PPC should go hand-in-hand. Some people will always argue that your SEO efforts should mean that you simply don’t need to bid on your branded terms and there is certainly validity to that.
The fact is that assumes your SEO is being done correctly, your competitors are not bidding on your branded terms and that you don’t want to double / triple your chances of grabbing traffic who were definitely searching for you.
The bottom line is that your budget may not allow it but if you can afford it, do it. If you are unsure; Try it. It won’t cost that much but it could well bring you a boost in sales.