Should You Bid On Your Branded Keywords in Paid Search?

Should You Bid On Your Branded Keywords in Paid Search?

5th September 2019

Have you ever asked yourself whether it’s worth it or not bidding on your branded terms?

There’s some disagreement on the net and – as anything when talking about search marketing – a definitive answer does not exist, since the overall strategy has a decisive weight in deciding which direction to take.

In general, I believe that the advantages of bid on your own branded keywords are much higher – in almost all cases – to potential disadvantages. Let me explain why.

5 Good Reasons Why You Should Start Bidding On Your Own Branded Terms

As you may know, in paid search brand bidding is the practice of bidding on your own branded terms. This way, your ads will appear on a SERP when someone enters keywords related to your own brand in the Google search bar.

That sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it?

Why on earth would you spend money to position specific terms that will (in most cases) come up organically at the top on SERPs anyway? It seems like a big waste of time, money and energy.

But actually, there are multiple good reasons to do so (and some best practices you should consider too).

I’ve narrowed the top reasons down to five, which in my opinion are the ones you should give thought to.

1. Protect your branded terms from competition

Bidding on brands is a common accepted practice. This means that anyone could bid on your own branded terms, potentially. The reason behind this behavior is to take advantage of your reputation and therefore boost their visibility.

I know what you’re wondering: this practice shouldn’t be illegal? Well, surprisingly in Google’s eyes is completely acceptable that your competitors bid against your brand as long as they do not mention your trademark in the ads.
That’s why I suggest you to protect your branded terms from competition by bidding on them first. It’s cheap, and it allows you to keep control on your reputation and identity.

2. Gain ground on affiliate sites

It’s no surprise that affiliate sites often appear at the top of the SERP – their ranking is frequently better than the original websites. It’s common practice for the majority of them to bid on branded keywords, in order to drive traffic to their own pages.

You’ll agree with me when I say that affiliate marketers could help you to increase your sales, visibility or authority on the web. But finding quality affiliates that are going to be the best match for your brand, it’s a totally different story.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution to this problem: you could choose and authorize a bunch of “elite affiliates” to bid on your own brand, while blocking unwanted bidders out. This way, you’ll direct traffic only to approved pages.

3. If you’re not that good at SEO, you could compensate by bidding

That’s right. An effective SEO strategy requires time, consistency and loads of patience. Plus, it may not be enough. If your niche is already saturated, you may not make heads or tails of it.

Bidding on your own branded terms could be a quicker way to stand out from the crowd. Your only aim here will be to build successful Google Ads campaigns based on your brand keywords.

4. Use your branded terms to boost the sales of those low-search products

Almost every company has at least a product or a service in his range that doesn’t perform as planned. So why not try to increase the visibility of those products through brand bidding?

Brand keywords are usually cheaper than others, and also have a lower CPC compared to non-brand terms. If you’re already losing money on a product or service that’s going nowhere, I think it’s worth a try. You could even notice an incremental lift in your revenues.

What happens when a competitor bids on my branded keywords?

Earlier on, I mentioned that brand bidding on competitors terms is a controversial yet accepted practice. The line’s super thin here, but one thing is clear: in most situations you cannot use trademarked brand keywords in your ad copy nor in your display URLs unless you are allowed by the legal rights’ holder. Period. I usually discourage you to brand bidding on your competitors terms, because in most cases it’s simply not worth it. Stay focused on your goals and invest your resources in building effective Google Ads campaigns to boost your own brand.

5. Keep more control over your brand’s online reputation

With an ad you have the option to expose your brand to those who search for it with the copy and the message that you consider most appropriate. This is particularly useful if there are negative results in the SERPs potentially damaging the reputation of your brand that bidding on your own branded terms can help you to overcome.

Especially if the company is facing a reputational crisis, the ads on the brand can direct the audience to a specific landing page, able to convey the most appropriate message for the business at that specific moment.

Final thoughts

Organic results alone sometime cannot ensure you a place on the first page of Google even for your own brand terms.

There are interesting recent studies that measured the impact of brand suspension in a search marketing project. Every marketer or PPC consultant must make their own assessments in relation to their own goals and those of their client, though starting to bid on your branded keywords could be a great plan to diversify your strategy, amplify your brand and achieve the results you aim for in half the time.


Written By
Marco Megali is an Italian SEO consultant and digital marketing strategist. He's Head of SEO & SEA at AvantGrade, a digital marketing agency based in Switzerland (formerly Bruce Clay Europe).
Approaching SEO in a Queryless World
Latest Post from Marco
Advertising Approaching SEO in a Queryless World
5th February 2020
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.