Q and A: Should we bid on our own brand name in Google AdWords?

QuestionHey Kalena

Can you please settle an argument we are having in the office?

My boss is suggesting that we should bid on our brand name in AdWords to make sure we come up at the top of Google searches. I don’t think we need to because we are already coming up high in the organic search results for our brand keywords.

Wouldn’t it just be a waste of money to pay for an ad?



Hi Kate

Sorry, but in this case, I agree with your boss :-) .  I think it’s good practice to bid on your own brand with pay per click advertising, for a variety of reasons:

1) Studies have shown that brands that rank high in both organic results AND paid ads receive more conversions than brands that just use one or the other, due to the saturation factor and extra brand exposure gained.

2) Unless you use paid search ads, you cannot guarantee that your brand will show up in the top search results for brand or product related searches. Organic search results will look different for everyone, based on their location, search terms used, their search history and personal preferences. The only way to guarantee a top spot is to pay for it. Also, ads will usually gain more clicks than organic results, depending on their location on the page, so you want to make sure you grab that brand click, no matter what prompts it.

3) You cannot control HOW your site will be shown in the search results unless you use paid advertising. Organic results may display the content of your page title, or a random snippet of text from your page, depending on the assumed context and what the search engine deems to be the most relevant. The organic click may also take visitors to a landing page you didn’t expect. Whereas your paid ad will show your brand in exactly the context you choose and take clickers to your preferred landing page.

4) If you have distributors or affiliates for your brand, it is possible that they may out-rank you in the organic search results for your brand-related keywords, therefore grabbing the click and making the sale, resulting in some loss of $ via commission. Making sure your ads out-rank them means you retain the full $ for any conversions.

If you are still sceptical, may I suggest reading Brad Geddes’ excellent article Should You Bid On A Keyword If You Rank Organically For That Term? where he shares the results of several detailed experiments to debunk the myth of PPC cannibalization.


Like to teach yourself AdWords? Start here.


Spread the joy!

Yahoo and Microsoft Extend Search Partnership

YahooBingLogoIn a joint release issued today, Microsoft and Yahoo announced that they will be amending and extending the strategic search partnership they originally signed in 2009.

The renewed partnership has two major amendments:

1) Yahoo will have increased flexibility to provide search functionality to other platforms, on both desktop and mobile search as the partnership is non-exclusive. Yahoo will continue serving search results and Bing Ads to desktop search audiences.

2) Microsoft will become the exclusive sales force for ads delivered by the Bing Ads platform, while Yahoo will continue to be the exclusive sales force for Yahoo’s Gemini ads platform.

The revenue split of the original partnership appears to remain unchanged. Yahoo will continue to receive a share of the profits delivered to Microsoft via Bing Ads displayed within Yahoo search results.

The partnership extension clearly indicates the joint venture has been a profitable one for both companies and a tactic that continues to help each of the companies compete with the market Goliath that is Google.

Spread the joy!

Fast Five in Search – Week 43, 2014



The year is fast coming to an end and it seems like the big online brands are all rushing to launch products or services before 2014 wraps up. So today we have a mixed bag of brand announcements, as well as some interesting trends in mobile advertising.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google Penguin 3.0: Worldwide Rollout Still in Process, Impacting 1% of English Queries by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land. Google is in the process of rolling out their latest iteration of the Penguin algorithm update. In this post, Barry looks at what’s been tweaked, when it rolled out and who has been affected so far.

2) Mobile Ad Revenues Soar as Search and Directories Flatten Out by Emily Alford of Search Engine Watch. In 2014, mobile revenues increased by a whopping 76 percent from $3 billion to $5.3 billion from the $3 billion reported at half-year 2013. $2.7 billion came from mobile search, while $2.5 billion came from mobile display. Emily looks at reasons for the incredible performance and areas of overlap with other advertising revenue.

3) Facebook Launches “Pseudonymous” App Rooms That Lets You Create Forums About Any Topic by Josh Constine of TechCrunch. Facebook has launched a new mobile app that has everyone talking. Called *Rooms*, the app lets you set up a mobile-only discussion space about any topic.

4) Mobile Search Ranking Study: Rank Number One or Not Rank at All by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land. A new study from seoClarity finds that if you do not rank in the number one position in the mobile search results, the click-through rate drops off significantly, so much so, that ranking number barely matters.

and finally…

5) Universal Event Tracking: A New and Improved Way to Track Your Sites’ Activities in Bing Ads by Nishant Gupta of Bing Ads. Bing Ads has introduced Universal Event Tracking (UET) to advertisers worldwide. UET allows advertisers to define and track performance and conversion goals important for their business. This is the official launch announcement from Bing Ads.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.


Where can you take 9 Online Marketing Courses for just USD 99? Find Out Here.


Spread the joy!

Free Bing Ads Credit – Be Quick

Bing AdsSo remember I posted a few weeks back about Search Engine College having $100 Bing Ads credit vouchers to give away? Well we still have a few vouchers left, but they need to be claimed by 30 June 2014.

So if you have been wanting to try Bing Ads, now’s your chance to test the waters with USD 100 in free ad credit, courtesy of Bing Ads and Search Engine College. Simply sign up to become a subscriber and the voucher is all yours. Heck, we’ll even throw in a $75 AdWords voucher for good measure.

Don’t delay though, as we only have a handful left!

Spread the joy!

Q and A: What is the Best Keyword Approach for Google AdWords?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’ve seen two totally different approaches to AdWords keywords this week and I was wondering if I could get your opinion on them?

Both account mangers target roughly a million residents in their target markets and have the same type of business.

The first manger prefers to focus on 32 keywords providing about 64 ads.  Over the past 30 days, 10 of those keywords have no impressions and therefore no clicks (20 ads).

The second manager prefers to focus on 340 keywords providing 600+ ads.  Over the past 30 days, 239 of those keywords have no impressions (478 ads).

I side with the first manager, but I didn’t want to second guess the other.

Does having that many no impression keywords have any negative affect on how AdWords views the account?

Which keyword management system would you prefer?

Thanks a lot,



Hi Brendan

There are too many variables to that scenario to be able to give you a fair opinion on either approach. Numbers don’t really matter as much as parameters. Firstly, are the two approaches for the exact same campaign and campaign settings? Having the same type of business is not enough information to compare the two fairly.

Secondly, are these brand new AdWords accounts – are they in the testing phase where they are both testing new keywords? This is crucial. If yes, then I strongly recommend the second approach – the *spray and stick* approach where you basically try as many keyword combinations as you can in a set period and see which ones build the most impressions and/or clicks. In terms of number of keywords and ads per AdGroup, there really is no magic number. It all depends on how tightly you theme your AdGroups. Some AdGroups may target very few keywords, but others may still have a tight theme, but many similar keyword combinations that all need targeting.

It also depends on your chosen match type. If you have mostly chosen Broad Match targeting, you will have fewer keywords, because Broad Match will automatically trigger your ads for more keyword combinations without you needing to specifically target all the possible combinations. Target [Exact Match] and you will likely have a lot more keywords in your AdGroups. It really is relative to the products/services you are advertising and the way you have structured your campaigns.

As for how Google views the account – I’m assuming you are talking about Quality Score here? See this article about how Google determines Quality Score. If keywords have zero impressions, it simply means people aren’t searching for those keywords. This shouldn’t affect your Quality Score for those particular keywords, but having non-performing keywords within your account may impact the overall quality of your account. You should pause any non-performing keywords – or better still, delete them – to ensure they don’t impact your entire account.

However, if you get impressions but no clicks, then THAT will affect your Quality Score. Please note that landing pages and ad text can have much more of an impact on your Quality Score than you may realize. So in my opinion, you’d be better off making sure your ad text and landing pages reflect the keywords you ARE targeting than worrying about a specific number of keywords or how many impressions those keywords attract.

My tried and tested approach to AdWords (and Bing Ads for that matter) is to make sure every single AdGroup is constructed tightly around a particular theme or topic, so that I can allocate only the most relevant keywords to each AdGroup and build my ad copy around that specific theme. Sometimes that means having hundreds of AdGroups in a single campaign.

Once campaigns are beyond the testing phase, I review each AdGroup every 30 to 60 days and delete all keywords and ads that have received zero impressions and zero clicks, pause all keywords and ads that have received clicks but zero conversions and add all new keywords suggested by AdWords. Then I take a close look at the keywords/ads I paused to see if I can improve the Quality Scores by tweaking them. Then I un-pause them and let them run another 30-60 days before starting the cycle again.

Try this approach and see how much better your campaign performs.

Good luck!


Need to learn AdWords but not sure where to start? Become a subscriber and take our PPC101 course.


Spread the joy!