Your brand is important to you. Consumers looking for you or a product like yours will often search using your brand in their keyword phrases. Your competitors know this and will likely try to advertise on your brands, slogans, and catchy phrases.
How can you tell if you are winning out on your brand terms?
Most advertisers will watch their rank: if they are in position 1, then happiness occurs. If not, well you know what happens next—you bid higher.
But is rank really the best bellweather of your success on your brand terms? There are other metrics and ways to look at the information.
Here are a few suggestions to lend clarity on whether you are winning, losing or neutral on your own brand terms:
Ad serving frequency. You need to know how often your ads are being served versus your competition. If your ads are only being served 50% of the time on your own brand terms, then you have a visibility problem. You can find out how often your ads are being served using the Google AdWords “impression share” statistic. You should also compare yourself to the competition to find out how often your competitor’s ads are served. If your competitor’s ads served more often than your own, you will need to make budget changes.
Number of positions you occupy. How many positions do you occupy on your brand terms? If your answer is one, and if your brand terms are very competitive, then you are not as successful as you could be. You need to lock-up as much real-estate as possible. You also need to know how much real-estate your competitors are locking up on your own brand terms. A useful strategy is to enable your affiliates to sponsor your brands in lesser SERP positions than you.
Offers and promotions. Are you running a generic ad on your brand terms while your competitors are making deals with consumers? Check your ad copy and check your competitors’ ad copy. Make sure that you are not being out-promoted on your own brand terms. Especially in today’s economy, consumers are looking for better pricing and better offers. To stay competitive, watch what your competitors are saying. If they are offering a low price, and yours is better quality, you certainly don’t need to match their price point offer—instead combat it in your copy by mentioning a key benefit of your product or offering that they can’t compete against. The big take-away here is don’t just run a generic ad on your brand terms—consumers are not necessarily only looking for you when they do a search on your name.
Organic tactics. If you are top in organic listings for your brand, and top in paid listings for your brand terms, you’re doing a good job. Next measure the click volume you get on each—organic and paid. Obviously, you want folks to click on your organic version because its free. Make sure your organic listing text is more compelling than your paid listing text. For example, make a better offer in your organic listing text than paid – this will inspire clicks on your organic listing.
Keyword selection. Be sure that you have covered all variations of your important keywords. We often see affiliate marketers taking advantage of brand terms simply because they have picked some unexpected variations. For example, consumers do search on your URL—yes they do. Consumers often treat the search box the same as the address bar. Some often-overlooked keywords are variations of your domain name: “www.url.com,” “url.com,” “ww.url.com,” “w.url.com,” “.url.com,” and “url.co.”
Identify who is competing with you.. What types of sites are competing against you on your own brand? You ought to categorize who you are competing against into buckets such as affiliates, parked domains, comparison shopping engines and other competitors—and rate them as strong, weak or mediocre competitors based on their market share of your vertical or industry.
Measure success over time. Snapshots in time do not provide enough information to draw meaningful conclusions. Looking at a single day or a single moment isn’t useful. You need to watch your brand terms and graph the trends over periods of time. You ought to be graphing:
- The number of competitive advertisers on your brand terms
- The number of affiliate marketers on your brand terms
- The rank changes of you and your competitors on your brand terms
- Ad serving changes of you and your competitors on your brand terms
While rank is important and a great measure of your ability to claim your rightful spot (as expected in the minds of consumers), rank is not enough. There are many other ways you can be beat on your own brand terms—and if you’re not watching, you probably are being outmaneuvered.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.