Updated: Oct 22, 2021
I want you to do something before we get into my PPC manifesto. Open another tab in your browser. Pull open your AdWords, Bing Ads, whatever paid search platform your PPC agency uses for your business.
If you don’t have access to the account (if you don’t, time to get it), pull up the latest report your PPC agency has sent you. Hopefully, it’s within the last month. If it’s from longer than a month ago, call us, you need a lot of help.
Pull up the keywords your PPC agency is targeting.
Sort by which keywords are getting the most clicks.
Is your brand name anywhere in the top 10 keywords being clicked?
If your brand name is not on that list, great. You’re super special. Return to your usual internet rabbithole.
If your brand name is currently in that list, then continue reading. There is a huge, massive, unspoken issue going on with your campaign.
When the M&P team takes over accounts from previous agencies, we’ve experienced the “branded keyword” strategy going on in every single account.
Seeing companies bid on their own name (excluding BRAND NEW start-ups) makes me rage with an anger that would make Lewis Black shake in his boots.
There are so many reasons this is a waste of money. However, there are many reasons why PPC agencies continue to run with the strategy.
This simple reason is that bidding on branded keywords as a crux of any PPC campaign is self-serving for the PPC agency, not the business running the campaign.
Simply put, search marketing is a holistic process. One part paid, one part organic. The two sides of search, much like the classic yin-yang symbol, flow together to create a complete image.
If a company is allowing organic search and paid search to compliment each other, there should be absolutely no need to pay for traffic to your site by people who are actively seeking out your brand name.
Even small SEO updates should be enough to successfully rank 1st for a brand name. The URL, the consistent use of the name in the website content, and metadata should allow you to dominate your branded search organically.
I would recommend you approaching your PPC agency about this issue. If they respond with any of the following responses, again, give us a call.
“Other competitors will bid on your name. You need to combat that strategy.”
There are two reasons why this is nonsense. First, much of a PPC campaign is based upon quality score. A metric from Google evaluating how relevant your landing page copy is to the keyword you’re bidding on.
If a competitor chooses to bid on your brand name, their quality score will dip severely (because they don’t have your brand name on their website). Thus, they will naturally start appearing less in the searches and the campaign will cost more per click.
Second, if someone is searching your BRAND NAME, they know what they’re looking for. Few users will get distracted by another brand appearing in the search results if they are actively seeking out your brand. People are not cattle, they know what they’re seeking.
“Being listed multiple times in the search engine results increases click-through-rate.”
This strategy is correct, to a point. It will increase your clickthrough rate for non-branded, generic keywords. However, appearing twice for your brand name just gives users two options to get to the same page.
Given the two options, users see no real difference in the links. However, from the business side, there is a huge difference. Simply put, one link costs the business money (PPC), and the other is free (Organic).
Most business owners would prefer to get free traffic to their website, rather than paying for customers that are already familiar with and seeking out their brand name.
"This is part of our strategy for all of our clients.”
If this is the PPC agency response, it’s definitely time to call us. Nobody deserves a cookie-cutter campaign. Simply put, they’re lazy and your business deserves more attention.
Stop letting your PPC agency screw your business over and cash a check every month. PPC is a nuanced system that requires attention to detail, and creative strategy to succeed.
Time to take on the bad actors in the digital marketing world. One terrible PPC campaign at a time.
Need help with Digital Marketing? Here at McMillan & Phillips we have a team of experts to make all your brand growth a reality. Reach out todayand let’s start optimizing your website and ultimately, your brand!