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Many PPC marketers are looking for an SEO opportunity that could really move the needle. But in the saturated Google AdWords landscape is it still possible? Experts say yes. The key? Pairing branding with your PPC strategy.
Over at Search Engine Land, search expert Lori Weiman has a comprehensive series laying out how brand protection and focus could help you capture more real estate on the first page of SERPs, increase clicks, and save big on your ad spend budget to boot. Here’s the upshot.
Across many verticals, brand-related keywords are a go-to search for users. They may not just search your brand name, though. A brand-plus keyword could be your brand name plus:
- A specific product name
- The word “review”
- The word “coupon”
- The word “sale”
- The word “website” or terms like “www”
- Or a long-tail keyword, usually a very specific product model number or size and color.
Not only will you get a good number of results with these variations, but add in your brand with common typos, dot-com extensions, or other brand-plus variations, and you could easily fill up the first page of paid results.
Importantly, if you’re not the one paying for these terms, guess who is: competitors, affiliates, partners, and out-and-out URL hijackers. Your brand protection strategy should ultimately protect against such practices. (More on how in a minute.)
The good news is that companies looking for a big improvement in PPC revenue and ROI quickly can take advantage of brand keywords and see results. In one case study, office supply firm Avery found many users were searching for templates and labels and including the brand term “avery.”
Unfortunately, Avery wasn’t seeing that benefit from those potential customer searches. It turned out competitors had bid on the brand keyword for their products. The competitors saw their Quality Score go up while lowering their cost to advertise. However, Avery saw its own cost-per-click rising due to the competition!
Using an industry tool, Avery was able to catch the unauthorized use of its brand term, follow up with documentation and trademark violation notices to Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and for one persistent competitor send a cease and desist letter. The company then implemented its strategy to capture those users using their brand terms.
And guess what? Avery saw:
- Their CPC fall by 64%
- Their clicks shoot up by 34%
- And their overall campaign costs fall by 51%.
Those results show it’s well worth the initial effort to invest in brand protection and a paid brand PPC strategy.
For your brand to take advantage of this opportunity so many have overlooked, here’s what to do next.
- First, determine visibility. For each branded keyword (and its misspelling long-tail versions, etc.) determine a PPC visibility metric for your firm, for your partners and affiliates, and for your competitors.
- For partners and affiliates, determine who has higher visibility than you do. If their PPC strategy is part of your agreed terms, great. If not, outline what needs to change so that you’ll be able to boost your visibility above theirs for paid terms.
- For your competition, you can do as Avery did. Submit reports to search engines of any ads that are in violation of your trademarks to get them taken down or move up to a legal cease and desist if you must. However, if a competitor is benefiting from your brand in a display URL, you’ll need to compete on strategy — that’s because this use of your brand term by a competitor is generally allowed.
- Plan on monitoring your branded keyword activity going forward, and keep an eye out for brand violators. Use automation tools, like an ad monitor, to help.
For brands looking for something to move the needle, this strategy is one that can do it. Especially since it’s still something many are overlooking. But you shouldn’t overlook the value of your IP. Protect your brand, and at the same time you’ll be able to boost revenue and save money on your ad spend.