Mastering the art of PPC (pay per click) is difficult enough, and now you find out that one of your competitors is buying your brand keyword. Getting PPC right is vital, because unlike SEO you are actually paying for your spot on the Google rankings.
After all that time, effort and money invested, the last thing you probably want to see is another business buying ad spots on your business name or brand keyword, which could start to undo all the good work you have put in.
For example a user searches for your business name in Google and instead of seeing your website listing first there are ads displaying the website of your biggest competitor! And no, it isn’t illegal in the eyes of Google, although it was considered breaking the rules a few years ago.
So what can you do? You certainly don’t want potential customers to go to your competitor only because their ads are the first thing a user sees. So, have a look below at some of the tactics you can deploy to counter act what your sneaky competitors are doing:
1. Bid on your own brand
Yes, it doesn’t seem like the best move to spend money on bidding on your own brand name. But isn’t it better for users to see your brand and your brand only when searching for your name? Are you going to risk users clicking on your competitors website?
Protecting all the work you have done to build up your brand is vital because it is incredibly easy to undo all the hard work. There is also the benefit of knowing you are in control of the messaging. You can do some testing to see what your potential customers are more attracted to.
For this benefit alone, it is certainly in your interest to bid on your own brand name. Controlling the narrative about your business is vital online and you certainly don’t want to leave it in the hands of your competitor, who would be doing all they can to get your business.
2. Bid on your competition
Show them what you are made of and give them a taste of their own medicine. But before you start splashing cash, it is important that you do your research and understand the best keywords to bet on. Wondering how? It is simple, you need to run AdWords campaign. Google has simple tools to help you creating the campaign and you don’t need to hire any specialists, you can follow this article Why you shouldn’t Manage Google Ads Campaigns yourself from Energise or follow AdWords steps.
There are a number of different tools out there that can help you, but one of the best is SEMRush. This tool is easy to understand and navigate, giving you the results you need to know and determine which keywords are the best to bid on.
By bidding on your competitor’s brand keywords you could actually force their cost per click (CPC) to go higher. If you can master the PPC for your competitors you could use this as leverage to stop them from bidding on your keywords.
But remember if your competitor has trademarked their brand name then you won’t be able to use it in your copy. So you’ll have to get a bit creative when writing your copy!
3. Talk to your competitor
While this may fall on deaf ears, it is certainly worth a try before you take any other action. So talk to your competitor and ask them if it is possible for them to remove the ads.
Yes, they probably won’t reply to your request, but at lest you have it in writing now that you have been in communication with them. As well as this, if things do escalate then you know that you tried to do the right thing and they didn’t have a bar of it.
Sometimes a business might not even know that they have bid on your brand keyword. For example, if an agency was in charge of their PPC campaign and didn’t let the business know what tactics they were using.
Another case would be if they were using broad matching keywords. So if your business name had a keyword in it, Google may put in it with the broad match keywords for your competitor.
While legal action isn’t recommended, you can try threatening legal action to “motivate” your competitor to take action and stop bidding on your brand keywords. If this still doesn’t work, then a cease and desist order is on the cards.
4. Lodge a trademark complaint
Now this option isn’t available to everyone, only if your business name is trademarked. Here you can file a complaint that applies to all advertisers and that stops them from using your trademark.
So if you do have the trademark of your business name then it is a great idea to lodge this complaint with Google. While this isn’t always 100% effective it is likely to reduce the competitors using your name dramatically.
As our second lead editor, Brit Martinez provides guidance on the stories The Marketing Folks’ reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and relevant to the readers. Brit received a BA and and MA from University of Alaska Anchorage.