You woke up this morning, only to find that some unscrupulous competitor has started bidding for your brand terms on Adwords. Now what? This is a question that we hear a lot at our marketing agency and have answered many times. To help business owners and marketers, we have put together this helpful checklist of ways you can deal with a competitor bidding on your branded keywords.
Before we get started it is important to understand a competitor bidding on your brand terms is not against the rules of most major PPC providers like Google and Bing. That means you cannot just contact the advertising provider and get the ads taken down. However you still have options.
Step 1: Ask them nicely to stop
If a competitor is bidding on your terms, a simple and kind request that they stop can actually work. Remember this is not a threatening letter from a lawyer or an angry promise of retribution. Take a deep breath and put down the stapler before you start writing. This approach does not always work but we have seen it be very effective.
Step 2: Start bidding on your own brand terms
If you have not already started bidding on your own brand terms this is the perfect time to start. Your site is already optimised for your brand name so you are almost guaranteed to get the top position on Google with a great quality score. That means you won’t have to pay much for the clicks you get from your ads. You joining the auction will also make your competitors clicks more expensive because they are bidding against someone who is better optimised.
Bidding on your own brand terms also has some secondary benefits. Because you will likely take the top spot in SEO and PPC as well as having a Google My Business listing showing, you will completely dominate the top of the first page for your brand.
Step 3: Leverage your trademark
If you have a trademark that your competitor is using in their ads you can inform Google and the ads will be disapproved. This step does require a trademark so it does not work for everyone but when used correctly it is very effective at stopping anyone from bidding on your trademark in future. The other great thing about a trademark complaint is that your competitor may not even notice. Their ads will stop running but Google will not go out of its way to make that obvious.
Step 4: Bid on your competitor brand terms
If nothing else works you can start bidding on the brand terms of your competitor. This can pay off or just escalate the conflict. By bidding on their brand terms you could poach some of their potential customers. The problem is you will be paying more to bid on their brand terms than they are and vice versa. So you will both be paying more for customers. You could also spark a bidding war where a larger company decides they are willing to pay whatever it takes to beat you.
All of these strategies have their place, just remember that nothing is guaranteed to stop your competitor bidding. All you can do is make it harder or less profitable. The best response is just to do everything you can to dominate the first page. Use good advertising, a well optimised Google My Business page and proper titles and meta descriptions for the pages that rank for your brand. This will help you shut out the competition and guide customers to your site.