Online Marketing Blog

5 Reasons You Should Be Bidding On Your Company Name

I get asked by clients time and time again about bidding on their own name(s) as well as their brand terms. Some agencies advise against it citing a lower ROI, poor click through rate and wasting resources. We have found that this is just not the case. There are many reasons to bid on your own and/or company name, but I will outline what I feel are the most important.

1) Search Engine Real Estate
The more space your name and message occupy in a search engine result page, the better. Eye tracking studies have shown that visibility above the fold of a search engine result page is vital.

Bid on your name Eye Tracking

Thanks to Enquiro for the image and tests. As you can see, there are some small differences with each search engine. Enquiro did a fantastic job with their research into these studies. Below you can see the “Eye Share” according to the respective positions.

ppc eye share

As you can see from the eye tracking report, bidding on your company name or your branded terms is one less piece of screen real estate that your competition can show up in.

2) Branding.
The more your name is out there the better. Most PPC search engines also have a content network where your company name and ad can be seen across thousands of websites. Obviously there are some caveats to this, but in general, the more a customer sees your company name, the more trust that instills. If someone blogs about you or mentions your name in an article, there is a very strong chance that your ad will appear on the page with the reference. Scott over at Marketing Pilgrim has some useful ideas on using PPC for branding. Some may be less than savory methods (Bidding on your competitions names and weaknesses) but there is some useful starting points.

3) Control.
Just like any PPC ad, you control the message. You control where the user goes. A generic company name search usually brings up the home page in the organic results. With PPC, you can promote special offers and bring users to a target sales page customized to their demographic or region. You can also add phone numbers and time sensitive information to your ad.

4) Spelling.
I cannot tell you how many people come to our site searching for our name so misspelled that it does not even show up in the “Did you mean…” results in Google. When you are bidding on your own name, you can bid on variations and common (and obscure) misspellings and snag those loose end searchers.

5) Defence.
In many markets, brand name trademark holders have a constant battle against their competition tactically outbidding them on their own trademark and branded keywords. Bidding on your own terms allows you to actively “counter attack” any negative ads being run by your competitors. While you can request that your trademark not be used in your competitions ads, you cannot stop them bidding on the keywords themselves.

We bid on our own keywords, site name and some branded words. Why do you or don’t you bid on your company name or brand keywords?

Hat tip to Christine Parfitt who runs a wonderful Australian Search Engine Marketing Company for some clarity on some of the points.

  1. Khalid Hajsaleh Says:
    June 20th, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Excellent post Dave. Thanks for the insight. I have seen bidding wars where companies bid on their name as well as their competitors.

  2. CustardMite Says:
    June 21st, 2007 at 8:24 am

    I’d agree with you to a point, but I’d suggest that in some cases, an alternative would be to ask Google to stop everyone else bidding on your brand name (I believe that they will if it’s trademarked).

    Once that’s done, if you’re top of the search results, and somebody is looking for your company, then you’ve got to decide whether the additional clicks that you’ll get are worth the money that you’ll pay for people that click on your PPC advert, when they would have clicked on the free one had you not been on PPC.

    Clearly, if you can’t get your competitors off your name, you aren’t top of the natural search results for your name, or you think the additional traffic is worth the extra spend, then it’s got to make sense to run a PPC campaign…

  3. MorganLighter Says:
    June 22nd, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Dave, very informative post. I couldn’t help but notice the graphics for Yahoo!, MSN, and Google. If you look, you’ll see they all form the shape (some better than others) of the letter “F”. Studies have proven when you write an article you should have that article also form the shape of an “F” as that’s how our eyes scan a post when reading it. Is this weird, or what. Gotta go.

  4. Dave Davis Says:
    June 25th, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Not weird at all and useful to know. Its the reason this site is designed the way it is (Update actually in the pipeline). The “F” shape and the “Z” shape for readability are so important in print and online readability.

  5. FluxusBot Says:
    June 25th, 2007 at 9:56 pm


    thanks for the posting. With a company I am working with, we have started analyzing if it makes sense to bid on their brand name. They are generating 440-460 orders through PPC and Natural Search per week.

    Interestingly, bidding on their brand name generates some more orders (about 10-20) per month, but costs an additional 250 EUR. Given that the general CPO is way below 5 EUR, the additional orders would be very costly ones.

    Therefore, we currently advise to leave bidding on the client’s own brand name, but to invest the money in other marketing channels. It depends on the brand name and some other factors, but at the end of the day our results show that Google over-estimates the importance of bidding on the top position for your brand name, when you are #1. Having a copyrighted trademark helps, though, to enforce other folks not bidding on your brand name either.

  6. Jason Says:
    June 26th, 2007 at 3:30 am

    I can’t agree more bidding on your company name can only help your efforts not hinder. The more common your company name the more critical it becomes in your branding efforts

  7. Rhea Says:
    June 26th, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    It seems a shame though to pay money even if you are the #1 natural result. It all comes down to ROI I guess.

  8. Jeremy Mayes Says:
    June 27th, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    #6 Because if you don’t and your competition has a decent PPC manager they will:-)

    CustardMite, you can have G’ do that but it’s been my experience that a lot of ads slip through the cracks and you’ll be fighting a constant battle to keep the space clean. I’d be willing to bet that it’s cheaper for some companies to just bid on their name than it is to not bid on it and try and keep the space clean.

    When there are ads going in and out of the rotation on a constant basis (denied for use of your TM) it’s very difficult to measure, with any degree of accuracy, what you lost by not being in the space.

    Dave, great post and keep up the great work here. You’ve got a good thing going.

  9. Dave Davis Says:
    June 28th, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Jason, thanks for stopping by. You are right, the more people are actually searching for you the more you need to be able to be found.

  10. Dave Davis Says:
    June 28th, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Rhea, not at all. If you know what you are doing or if your marketing team know what they are doing, you should be able to convert the paid user anyway.

  11. Dave Davis Says:
    June 28th, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Jeremy, thanks a lot for stopping by. You know I am a huge an of your blog (And your DP wisdom!)

    Good point too. In this day and age, most of the bigger companies are getting either really good in house SEMs or outsourcing to agencies who really know what they are doing so it’s imperative to get in now. Before your competition does.

  12. Mutiny Design Says:
    August 7th, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    A very insightful post. I can see why it may be worth bidding for your own name, but I would have thought most people will realise they are not on the right site and simply go back to the SERPs and look for the right domain.
    This reminds me of something that happened a while back. A local company signed up for a really low quality link exchange and was using it to get his sites to rank above other local companies for their company name.

  13. Dave Davis Says:
    September 13th, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Mutiny, thanks for your comment. That is actually a more common practice than you may think and is why there is a growing need for search engine reputation management (Future post on that to come).

  14. Football Village Says:
    November 6th, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Dave,

    I must say great article. I’ve always been very much against bidding on your own name but the things you say make a lot of sense. I was just wondering what your take was on if google lowers your page in the organic rankings and replaces it with your adwords ad or if adwords does not affect your organic listings for the same keywords.

  15. Dave Davis Says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 9:31 am

    FootballVillage, it has been said time and again by numerous sources within Google that AdWords and Organic rankings and data are kept completely separate. I believe this to be true as I have seen absolutely no evidence that their data is exchanged, especially when it comes to rankings being reduced in the organic SERPS. I may be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

    A trend I see with webmasters that report an organic drop is that they start a PPC campaign but dedicate their time completely to it. Because so much time is spent on the AdWords campaign, they fail to create new/fresh content and their link building efforts all but stop. THIS is the reason I think organic positions suffer.

    Hope that helps!

  16. Professional SEO Consultant Says:
    January 26th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    This is a great post. And with the advent of blogging and reputation management, bidding on your own name and branded terms becomes even more important. The fact that you can instantly combat a negative blogger is crucial in getting to tell your side of the story. Because it will take a while to combat that negative press organically, using PPC to combat negative press becomes necessary.

  17. Dave Davis Says:
    January 27th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    @Professional SEO Consultant: Thanks for stopping by. I don’t think I made the point about negative press as clear as you did.

    Thanks for your comments too. You are a prime example of how exactly blog comments should be done. Normally, I would remove the anchor text but you deserve it :)

  18. John Pickering: eezytrade Says:
    February 21st, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Totally agree – I have always paid for our brand name and many variations on it.
    The amount of people that can’t remember how to spell our name is unbelievable.
    Also, the cost per click rate is just so low – it’s just a brilliant ‘no need to think’ investment.
    Cheers – John

  19. Adwords consultant Says:
    June 16th, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Yeap this is really essential to bid on our own trademarks. We spend so many years to build a strong trademark that it would be a pity if only competitors were benefiting from it. Moreover, we all know that bids on our own trademark are very low. I attended a Webex conference made by Hitwise last week. They sent their presentation in pdf format. So of course I shared it with you here:

    Thanks again for your tips,
    AdWords Consultant

  20. Latha Says:
    March 30th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Bidding on the brand name and the reasons why have been excellently put across in this article. Misspelled brand names – I think this tip is really great. Thanks