A common question that arises while working with and managing a company’s PPC efforts is whether or not they should be bidding on branded keywords if they are already ranking number #1 organically (for their company name). Logically, it doesn’t seem to make sense to pay for keywords your website is already ranking #1 for in the search engine results, for free. However, it’s important to consider some of the reasons why a company should enhance their online presence with the help of a branded PPC campaign.
- Own the search engine results page (SERP) – Bidding on branded keywords can help your listings (paid and organic) own the first page of results for your company name. Not only do multiple listings help to reinforce your company’s presence, but in some cases it can help simulate brand authority and credibility when a user sees your brand all over the first page of search results; also helping to increase organic click through rate.
- Protect your brand from competitors – Consider a branded campaign as an online reputation management (ORM) tactic, particularly if you’re in a competitive market space – but even if you’re not. Branded keywords are often considerably cheaper in comparison to a company’s top, general keywords and can help ensure that you are preventing competitors from appearing above your #1 organic listing for your company name. Even if competitors are not bidding on your company name now, proactive ORM can ensure your company is being perceived accurately; and keep those pesky competitors from appearing above you.
- Not all users click on the organic listings – For savvy web users who typically click on organic results over paid results, it’s important to realize that although approximately 70% of users click on organic results, the other 30% or so click on the paid results, not realizing there’s a difference. It’s critical for your company to be visible to 100% of searchers, not just the 70% that click on the organic results. With sponsored listings (especially those with ad extensions such as sitelinks or location extensions) taking up a significant portion of top of the page real estate above organic listings, it’s important for your company to be visible in this space too.
- PPC ads allow you to control your messaging – While you do have control over your organic listing’s title and meta descriptions, PPC ads give you the ability to nimbly change messaging to highlight offers, competitive factors, and different value propositions within minutes.
- PPC ads allow you to control your targeting – Unlike organic search, PPC ads allow you to control where and when your ads are shown, which keeps your audience targeted, relevant and costs down.
- Milk that good quality score – Branded keywords often secure the highest click-through rate (CTR), the best quality score and overall performance history, which can help improve account quality score, boosting your overall PPC account history, performance and potential.
In any case, before you rule out bidding on branded keywords, consider the above benefits and conduct a test. By testing and analyzing the results, it’s undoubtedly a win-win situation, as the proof will be within the data (one way or the other). If branded keywords are driving up your paid search cost, lowering ROI, or affecting your other traffic sources negatively, then you can decisively rule a branded campaign out of your paid search mix for the time being and not second guess whether you’re missing out on traffic, conversions or revenue – win. Moreover, if branded keywords help improve your online visibility, traffic, ROI, or conversion activity – another win!