Today’s post is by Kelsey Halloran, Customer Success guru at Wordstream.

You have a well built out website, created with SEO best practices, and are ranking well organically in Google. Why should you then have to bid on your brand in paid search? Yes, you’re ranking organically, and yes, you’re going to get those clicks, but you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity.

At WordStream, we always recommend bidding on your brand keywords. Let’s dive into some of the reasons you should be bidding on your brand!

Your competitors are most likely bidding on your brand name

Have you ever searched for a particular insurance company and see a few others in the paid search results? This is because competitors bid on each other’s bands in hopes of gaining the attention of searchers and stealing their clicks. If you are not bidding on your brand, your competitors most likely are, and your potential customers are going to them instead of you. Check out these ads that displayed for a search on “Marketo”:

Competing Bids

Even if you’re showing up organically, your potential customers might be swayed by a competitor ad.

Ads offer more control than organic results

An organic ranking is going to show the metadata you have set for that page, or a random snippet from the text on the page, and only if you’ve been indexed by Google. If you are launching a new site, or are revamping an older one, ads are going to allow people to find you on searches faster than the indexing process. You also have more control over which messages your potential customers will see, thus you can tailor your message to which stage of the buying cycle they are in. For example, you can add in links to specific pages on your site with sitelinks, or use Product Listing Ads to show searchers images of the products you sell.

The more the merrier

If 2 heads are better than 1, the same thing can be said for links, right? Right! Just as sitelinks can help you cover more real estate on a search engine result page, having both an organic and paid search listing will help searchers find you quickly and easily. Wherever their eyes go on the page, you’ll be there.

Brand terms increase your Quality Score

Because brand terms tend to get really high click-through rates, they also earn super-high Quality Scores, and they can even lift your average Quality Score across your whole account. Clicks on branded keywords are also dirt cheap!

Your PPC helps your SEO

No, really it does! I know, I know these are completely different styles of marketing, but studies show it works! When you add PPC ads to a page where you already are successful in SEO, your SEO conversions can increase. The reasoning is believed to be that you are taking up more space, thus having your name more in the face of consumers, increasing trust.

Make sure you’re covering all your bases when it comes to being present on the SERP. You do this in other areas of marketing; be sure you’re doing it in your search marketing efforts!

Kelsey HalloranKelsey Halloran is a member of the Customer Success Team at WordStream. Her days are filled with sharing the ins and outs of WordStream and PPC with her clients to help them succeed and make paid search work for them. Kelsey graduated from Bentley University where she studied Marketing. In her spare time she can be found exploring Boston or trying out new recipes.


  1. Harry August 27th, 2013

    Branded clicks *can* be dirt cheap, but if comps are bidding on the term, then quality score aside, the auction is pushing up CPCs. You list some great reasons to bid on the branded term but it doesn’t answer the question of “what happens to traffic if I stop bidding on branded terms”. So you might lose x number of clicks, but what’s the bottom line cost of that loss, whether defined by leads or revenue.

    I think the most germane argument should focus too on the fact that if you choose not to bid on brand terms, users often get confused (especially those who found your company on a non brand term) and end up searching back on the non brand term, thereby likely costing you more for that conversion, if you do eventually get it.

    Oh, and Marketo should get on the use of the branded term in Bislr’s ad. ;)

  2. Jeb August 27th, 2013

    Is it possible to stop competitors from bidding on my brand? (should be a lot cheaper! i pay now like $100 to claim my brand).

    How is Ebay making sure nobody outranks their brand name?

  3. Kelsey August 27th, 2013

    Harry – If you’re not bidding on your branded term, yes you may lose some clicks, and yes it is all relative to your bottom line. But, the fact of the matter is if people know your brand, they are searching for it. Why would you not want to be present or even risk the chance of someone be shopping around and going to your competitor? I do believe that PPC has many theories and practices among not only different marketers, but different industries as well, but your brand is your brand.

    Jeb – Unfortunately there is no way to stop your competitors from bidding on your brand. But like Harry said above, you can stop competitors from using your branded terms in their ad copy. Ebay works hard on their paid search campaigns. They are monitoring trends and staying on top on what people are searching for, not to mention I can’t even imagine what their budget is like.

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