Maine Internet Marketing Services FAQ: Paying for Branded Keywords: Green Sky Development

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Should I buy branded keywords in Google Adwords? Why should I pay for them? They’ll come to me organically and that’s free.

I manage many pay per click programs for clients and this is the #1 question I get. It feels like it would be a waste of money, correct? Let me tell you why it’s not.

Many website owners incorrectly assume that when someone types in their business name, or some portion of it, or some misspelling of it, that their website will automatically come up #1 in the organic listings – all the time – and they would never pay for a click when they are right there at the top. I have two immediate come-back questions for this: (1) Are you positive that no one else in the world has a company name similar to yours? People make remembrance mistakes all the time and many people are poor spellers. Do you come up #1 all the time in every possible iteration or misspelling of your name? Probably not. (2) How’s your SEO? Even if your company comes up #1 or 2 in Google’s organic listings, is the title and description compelling or interesting enough for people to click on you? People often notice the small blue URL last. They read everything else first. If your organic search is not optimized including your name, but rather says something like “Home” or “About” or “Contact” – they may skip right over you.

Many, many studies and test have been done over two decades looking at this question and I have performed this same “test” on 50% of my clients. The end result is always the same. If you turn off “Branded keywords”, those clicks do not all convert into an organic click. Vis-à-vis, when you do not bid on your own branded terms, you are leaving extremely profitable sales on the table. With that being said you never want to overpay for your branded terms compared to what you pay for other keywords.

Here are some points to think about:

Your competitors may be bidding on your name.

Failure to bid on your brand terms can leave you wide open to unethical practices by a competitor. It really is not possible to trademark keywords. That means that bidding on branded keywords is your best line of defense against brand theft.

Your sales and return on investment

Your company already pays to have its brand visible to customers. You do this in newspaper ads, via TV or radio commercials, by sponsoring events and having your logo displayed, by putting print ads in magazines, by creating business cards. Have you ever figured out what the cost per conversion is for that media? It probably is a lot more than paying $0.13 for a sale that exceeds $30 on your website. The return on investment from your branded keywords is exceptionally high. You are unlikely to find a less expensive cost per acquisition (CPA) anywhere else, unless it’s word of mouth. You care about profit. So why wouldn’t you pay for the most profitable conversion you could? In overall bidding however, you want to be careful that your branded sales never “mask” or try to hide poorly managed product-driven keywords.

Your website rankings

If you have a website that is “new” to the internet, meaning that the domain name is new to the listings, or if you are a successful well-known brand trying to launch a new product line or service, then paying for your brand name makes a lot of sense, because it provide you with the visibility you need to help get things off the ground. Even if you have strong natural search rankings, a pay per click ad with branded keywords can help boost customer confidence when it appears alongside those results. Your organic search volume

You can see just how many people find your website by searching for your brand name within your analytics program or by using a keyword search tool. If your brand name dominates the organic search queries, you can leverage this traffic in pay-per-click profitably.

Your web site conversions and sales

If someone asked you to invest a dollar and told you you’d get $100 back in sales, would you do it? The answer is probably a resounding yes. I challenge you to find another marketing investment your company makes that has as great a return as branded PPC does, after all appropriate costs are accounted for. When someone is using branded keywords to find your products or services online, it is a strong indicator that they are ready to take action (for example, by making a purchase online.) because they’ve either done business with you before, or a person they trust recommended you to them by name. For this reason, branded keywords tend to produce a greater number and more profitable conversions. Again, be careful to tracked branded sales separate from product sales (or non-branded sales) to ensure that your branded sales aren’t masking poor product performance.

Your overall presence

There is no statistical correlation or relationship between having paid ads and how you rank organically in search engines. The one does not affect the other. However, emotions and how we “feel” are not statistical measures. When people search for you and they see you “above the fold” in the organic listings as well in the top 3-5 positions in the paid listings, there is a reassuring or reaffirming quality to that. It takes a lot of hard work to be ranked highly in organic listings. When your customers see that you are also paying for clicks, it means the company has the prosperity to be there. This makes people feel as if your company knows what it’s doing, which imparts a nice level of initial trust. You want to make sure you do not disappoint them them when they click on you, whether you paid for the click or not.

Your marketing message

Conversions increase when your customers hear the same message across many channels (TV, email, mail piece, catalog, postcard, etc.). Consistency can have a strong impact on consumer confidence as well. When your paid ad reaches customers searching for your brand, you can direct them to an optimized landing page of your choice, ideally one that supports the message from your other marketing channels.

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