adwords on budget: should you remove brand keywords?

When you search for something using the brand name of the business, you will occasionally find that the website for the brand is the top advertisement in the Google Search Page. This is because the advertiser is bidding very high for their own brand keywords. So, the question is whether or not it is worthwhile to bid on your own brand name or the brand keywords?

Brand Keywords are defined as those search queries that contain a certain brand name. A search query such as lindt chocolate truffles or Ford USA is a good example of this. There are certainly some advantages in bidding on your brand keywords…

Competition: It potentially can prevent the competitors from skimming away your traffic. It allows you display your website not only as the first website on the organic search but also in the paid search results.

Costs Less: It is usually the case that the bid amount for your own brand terms are much cheaper than other keywords. This is because there is usually less competition for your brand name, usually none and maybe just one or two. Another reason is that you will usually get a very high quality score for your own brand keywords, which reduces the cost for you.

Better Click-Thru-Rate: By occupying one more slot, in addition to the organic search result, you are effectively increasing the probability of your link being clicked.

In spite of its advantages, when you are under the constraints of a specific budget, usually a small budget, the question is whether you should bid on your own brand keywords. If you have a big enough budget, then the answer is YES…go ahead, and do it. If your budget is already running over with other the keywords, then you might want to think again about bidding on these terms.

The logic here is that if the user is searching on your exact brand name, then the user is already aware of your company or services beforehand and is looking specifically for you. If that is the case, then it is very much likely that the user will find your link among the organic search results.

It is quite possible that the some users might click on the “competitor” ad that displays higher, but what percentage?…not much is my guess, given that the average CTR in AdWords is usually around 2-3%. And, it is quite possible that the user will also click on your organic link anyways, in addition to the ad. It would be very unusual that the user click only one link on the search page…

Given all that, I would suggest that you hold back on bidding on your own brand keywords when you are starting out. Give your campaigns time to generate enough revenue from other keywords, so that you can allocate more money to your other campaigns. It would be advisable to bid on your brand name keywords at a later time.

Having said that, there are a couple of cases when you might want to go ahead and bid on the brand name keywords anyways ….

Low SERP Position: You might not be ranking on the first page of your own brand name. This can be the case for small businesses that do not have enough money, enough exposure or the technical know-how to do so. In that case, you might want to bid on these terms so that you can appear on the first page of the search engine result page.

E-Commerce Website: If your website sells products or merchandise directly to the user online, then you do have the option to bid on these keywords and then compare the revenue generated to decide whether or not it is profitable to market for the brand keywords.

Effect on SEO

The effect on search engine optimization or SEO due to advertising for the brand name keywords is up for debate. I am not sure if there has been much study done on this specifically, as I have been unable to find any reliable studies. I am not privy to the Google search algorithm, so my reasoning here is as good as yours…and goes as this:

Let’s analyse the use case where your website ranks # 6 (an arbitrary example) for your brand name. If you are not advertising for this keyword, so you are only being shown once in the page. However it is natural that a high percentage of users will click on that link anyways as they are specifically looking for your website. Of course, the assumption here is that you are ranking in the first page for the keyword, which might not always be the case.

So over time, it is only natural that Google or any search engine will find that your website is the most relevant link for that particular keyword, which could result in a higher position for website in the organic results. If you do advertise for this keyword, your own Adwords campaign could be cannibalizing your organic search result traffic and you paying for it on top of it.