Why Branded Keywords are (still) so important

It may sound like a dumb question, but it catches a lot of people, often, unprepared. One of the foundations of any PPC strategy, to date, is a highly underestimated factor: do you buy your branded keywords? Are you monitoring your brand from the possible disturbance of your competitors?

The answer we are often given is “Why should I need to buy my own branded keywords if I am ranked first in the organic results?”. Nothing could be more wrong, if you consider that in 9 out of 10 cases your products, your message and your communication is chased, everyday, by competition. Advertisers bid on keywords and competitors’ trademarks, in order to effectively steal web traffic: it’s obvious, yet there are those who are still caught highly unprepared.

Fact: 80% of companies that are doing advertising on Google are buying the branded search terms of their own competitors. And guess what? You are losing clicks to your competitors that are twice as likely to convert if you are not buying branded keywords. Back in 2008, Google lifted the ban on bidding on competitor brand terms way and, since then, it’s been completely fair game to bid on a competitors name, providing you don’t mention them in your ad content itself. Which is pretty easy, as you can see in the picture below.


image via Econsultancy.com

The importance of protecting brand keywords, therefore, is not a secondary factor in our strategy: if you don’t think of it as a crucial factor, you are at risk the very second after. You are not only losing organic traffic but also sales, contacts and phone calls, which are likely to be destined to competitors who have blown your job. And that at the moment they are twice as likely to convert because they have taken you out. How is that possible? Well, that’s what the freedom of bidding can do.

Is there a solution to this problem? Yes, and it’s called brand safety. That is constant analysis and monitoring, perseverance in remaining lucid and focused, one step ahead of the risks. Our advice is very simple: make sure you are the first in the search results for your keywords, monitoring the situation as often as possible. Also evaluate the use of a script, as we do, so that you bring the keywords associated with your brand always in the first place, without making them at risk of exposure.

Moreover, if your client claims that spend on his own branded keywords seems to be a waste of money (especially in already acquired users), the creation of dedicated audience segments to exclude contacts who have previously clicked is an easy way to go, and useful to protect even budget. Paid results are the most visible part on the search engine: even if the SEO rewards you, it’s not over. You need to make sure you have the right weapons against the competition, on all other sides.

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