With more and more companies starting paid search campaigns everyday, as well as more emphasis placed on SEO, many question whether it is worth it or not to bid on branded keywords. From a per-cost standpoint, it seems very cut and dry – people searching for your branded term are going to click on your organic link, so why give them a choice to click on a paid link? However, this high level outlook is not as accurate as it may seem.
Not only do I typically err on the side of caution when it comes to things involving paid search (and other things in life) but having a paid search link under your branded terms can help in a couple of ways.
1) Landing pages: While organic listing are great, they can let your potential visitor come in though a landing page that you might not expect. Just as you might not run a paid search campaign that hit your homepage, you can control the landing page on your branded keyword search campaign. For example, pretend that you sell cars and when a user types in “2009 abc company cars” your organic link sends them to your homepage with all your 2010 models listed. While they may end up finding the 2009 page your chances of getting a conversion by sending them to an optimized 2009 model page are much higher.
2) Competitors: Bidding on competitor branded keywords is just a fact of the paid search industry. While I personally don’t agree with it, the fact remains that it happens. That being said, chances are if you are in a competitive market your brand is being bid on by one or more of your competitors. This means if you are not bidding on your term your competitor is being listed first in the sponsor links and may be one of the first links a potential may see. Also don’t forget to add the fact that it looks obvious that you are not trying to promote your brand to your clients – which might be a deciding factor whether they purchase from you (I told you I sided with caution). This is also a great opportunity to send visitors to a comparison page of your product and others like it.
To sum up – start bidding on your branded search terms. The clicks are cheap and only takes a few minutes to get going, which we all can agree is worth a few more conversions!