Protecting your brand names in search engines is crucial because branded keywords typically have higher conversion rates than non-branded keywords. The reason behind this is your target audience already knows about your brand.
And a study reveals, 99.9% of the time, your website will rank No. 1 for all variations of your branded keywords. And the overall avg. conversion percentage of organic traffic to leads is 16%.
That means your Organic Traffic from Branded Keywords can convert 16x higher than any other traffic resource.
And in PPC, companies that position branded ads at the top of listings received 31% higher clicks than companies that don’t use them.
How to Understand if Competitors Target Your Branded Keywords
You need to know a few below things to figure out whether your competitors are targeting your branded keywords or not:
- What are your branded keywords?
- How to find your branded keywords?
- How can they target your branded keywords?
What are your branded keywords? How to find them?
Branded keywords are common search queries that are used to find your website, significant products/services, or particular content. Basically, keywords that have your brand name included are called branded keywords.
For example, suppose you want to buy an iPhone 13 Pro, and you have searched for ‘buy iPhone 13 pro’. Here ‘buy iPhone 13 pro’ is a branded keyword.
All queries with this ‘iPhone 13 pro‘ keyword are branded keywords.
How to Find Your Branded Keywords
To find your branded keywords, you can simply use Google Analytics.
Follow these steps to identify your branded keywords that are driving traffic to your website:
- Log into Google Analytics.
- Navigate to Acquisitions > Search Console > Queries.
- Select your required time frame.
- Use Advanced Filters and include your brand name.
How Can Your Competitors Target Your Brand Keywords?
Your competitors can steal your brand keywords in two major ways – one is through Google Ads, and the other is through Organic Search. In this article, I’ll share in-depth information about both ways and how to protect your brand keywords in both situations.
Now, How to Understand Whether You’re a Victim or Not
The easiest way to find your brand keywords is to search up. After searching for the brand keywords, if the top results show other sites that are your competitors’ or sites that are completely irrelevant and post contents that are misleading and driving away your potential customers, then you might be a victim of competitors’ attack.
This itself is a clear indication that your brand keyword(s) have been stolen. As a result, it drives traffic from search engines to your competitors’ websites.
How it Impacts Your Business Growth and Revenue
Branded keywords have more clicks on paid ads, more clicks overall – SEM + SEO, and better conversion rates.
Branded keywords have a 5x higher conversion rate than your non-branded keywords.
Many online-only brands get 3%-10% of their organic search traffic from branded queries.
If the percentage of branded keywords is too low, you should make effective strategies to improve your brand awareness and engagement (such as social media campaigns).
According to Searchengineland, the Average branded ROAS is 2x as high as non-brand in most industries.
Your business will bleed a lot of money since competitors are hijacking your revenue, and also it can massively hamper your brand reputation.
What to do When Competitors are Buying Your Branded Keywords
Your competitors can target your branded keywords by buying keywords on Google.
Often we see that many companies are bidding on their competitors’ keywords on Google Ads. Especially, they are targeting ‘review’ keywords and at the end of the review, they are claiming they are a better brand. Ultimately, these tactics are implemented to poach your customers.
Basics of Bidding on Competitor Keywords on Search Engines
Before diving into the whole process, you need to know the basics of bidding on competitors’ brand keywords. You should know what competitor bidding is and how it works.
What is Competitor Bidding? How can they Bid on Your Branded Keywords?
Competitor bidding on PPC means using a brand name directly as keywords. For example, Nike targets people searching for ‘Adidas.’
By targeting their competitors’ keywords, companies show their ads when the competitors’ potential customers are looking for their products/services.
It paved the way for generating new customers by poaching competitors.
Is it legal to do that?
Now the question is, is it legal? The straight answer is, Yes, it is legal if your business is not trademarked.
If your business name is trademarked, according to Google Guidelines, no other brands can use that name in their ad copy. There is an exception to the rules that only legitimate resellers can use.
Now, What’s the Solution? You can avoid your competitors’ attacks and protect your branded keywords in the following ways:
1.Trademark Your Company or Brand
Trademarking your company or brand name will help you to avoid traffic theft.
Still, there are many cases where they can use your branded keywords unless they are using them in their ad copies. According to Google’s policy, they can’t use it in their ad copies. If they do, you can submit a trademark complaint to Google.
2.Run PPC Campaigns on Your Branded Keywords
In order to protect your branded keyword, the standard practice is to run regular PPC campaigns using your branded keywords. You should run PPC campaigns on your brand and Brand-Plus Keywords.
If you have any sales-driving branded keywords, highly prioritize those.
When you run regular PPC campaigns using your branded keywords, you can reduce the possibility of being attacked by your competitors.
Here are some industry-wise Brand Vs. Non-Brand Keyword CPC to get a better overview that will help you to create a robust PPC strategy for your business.
3. Take Legal Actions
In extreme cases, you can send your competitors a cease and desist letter, which is a document that you can send to warn your competitors that you may take legal action against them.
In such events, most companies would possibly consult their attorneys to find loopholes that can cover up their malicious practices. However, it is extremely difficult to prove innocence if you can gather pieces of evidence that strongly condemn them guilty.
How to Fight When Your Competitors Use SEO Tactics to Target Your Branded Keywords
If someone else ranks organically on your brand keywords, the issue is more concerning.
Your competitors can leverage SEO tactics to target your branded keywords. They can do it in many different ways. They can post fake reviews and can rank those reviews on your branded keywords. They can also rank their websites on your branded keywords.
In some cases, we’ve seen for many of our clients that their competitors’ websites appear when someone searches for our client’s website.
If you see someone else’s website is outranking your site in your branded keywords, that means your website is under a serious threat.
For example, when you search for the ‘Loomly’ keyword, you can see competitors ranking their website.
There are so many reasons behind this.
But the major reasons behind this include Google Penalty Attack and Bad Reputation. But there can be other reasons as well, like low-quality content, high spam score, crawling issues, and many more.
Depending on the issues, there are different solutions. Every unique problem requires a unique solution. We’ve given some proven solutions depending on the situation.
1. Optimize Your Website Using Your Branded Keywords
If you have low-quality content or crawling issues, then you need a solid SEO strategy to optimize your website properly. You need to optimize your website content, logo, images that don’t have your branded keywords and make sure search engine crawlers can index everything properly
2. Brand Reputation Management
As the competitors are consistently trying to tarnish the reputation of your brand, you need a strong online brand presence. You need to report fake reviews and post positive reviews from your customers on Google my business, your website, and other review sites.
Strong branding campaigns can play a remarkable role in restoring your brand reputation.
Your positive reviews need to outrank the fake negative reviews of your competitors. And also, the fake reviews should be knocked down before it drives away your potential customers.
3. Ranking for ‘BRANDED ALTERNATIVE’ Keywords
Another proven strategy is to create a webpage on which you can list out or suggest alternative options to your brand. However, the objective is to keep promoting your brand as the best available solution relative to the ones suggested. On that page, you need to include your brand name and your competitor brand names + alternative as keywords. This will lead traffic to your website.
You can also craft a supportive tactical approach such as guest blogging. You can use quality content and effective link-building strategies to generate higher traffic for the brand alternative ranking page on your own website.
4. Fight Back with Your SEO Strategy
Another solution is to fight back and give them a taste of their own medicine by creating content on third-party sites to rank for keywords related to your competitors’ brands.
In this way, whenever users search your ‘competitor’s brand keywords on search engines, third-party websites will recommend your brand name. Here you need to create content specifically to target search engine users looking for alternatives to your competitor by optimizing for their brand names and ‘alternative’ (e.g. ‘Walmart alternative,’ ‘Amazon alternative,’ etc.).
This way, you can poach your competitors’ traffic. This method is critical, and it should be done by a proven expert. Because if it’s not done properly, you might face some serious issues.
Final Thoughts – Point to Notice
If you are being attacked by your competitors means your business is under serious threat. The solution to this critical problem is a bit tricky as it needs a lot of deep analysis, and if the situation is difficult, you might need to take legal actions as well.
A rigorous SEO audit is required to identify the areas that need work to revert the adverse impact caused to your brand, to safeguard against such attacks, and also to execute defense mechanisms to counter in the future.
Suppose your business is a victim of competitors’ attacks. In that case, we can help you with the exact solution as we have over 14+ years of experience in this area and have successfully helped so many prominent companies in this regard.