Should You Bid on Your Own Name? How to Spot & Stop SEO & SEM Waste & Fraud (PART 12)
TRANSCRIPT: Now the next question that comes up is, “Should we bid our own name?” I get that question all the time. This, by the way, its called a branded keyword. This is how your SEM explains it. They always say, “This is your branded campaign.” Sounds like a great campaign. “Oh man, I ought to have a branded campaign.” Yeah, yeah. “Oh yeah, let’s throw $3,000 a month at our branded campaign.”
What they’re saying when they say it’s a branded campaign? You’re buying your own name. Now, let’s be clear. Should you buy your own name? Should you be bidding on your own name? First, if you’re Atlanta Toyota, then the answer is yes. If you chose a city name as your dealership name, Atlanta Toyota, then yeah, unfortunately, no matter what you’ve got to be bidding on your own name, but if you’re Stauning Toyota, it’s a bit more complicated. Bad SEM’s and Google will tell you to always, always, always, always bid on your on own name. Why? Because these are your best keywords.
All right, lets deep dive onto this page here for Knudtsen Chevrolet. Why is this your best keywords? Because most of your website leads and calls are going to come from people who’ve searched specifically for you. Now, would it make any sense for Knudtsen in this instance to buy their own name? No, and they’re not. Because they’re number one organically. They’re number two organically, and they’ve got the Google My Business page. Anybody looking for Knudtsen is going to find Knudtsen and that’s what Google wants people to do, but here’s the deal. Why does Google want you to bid on your own name? Why does your bad SEM want you to bid on your own name? By the way, good SEM’s want you to bid on your own name too, but they can explain the reasons for you and they can track the ROI.
Let me be very clear, that’s where your best website leads and calls are coming from, are people who search specifically for you, based on your standing in the marketplace, based on the ads that you run, based on everything else.
Let me tell you about Restoration Hardware. If you didn’t read this recently, it was a couple of months ago, but Restoration Hardware discovered the 98% of their online business came from variations of their own name. 22 keywords, I think they were buying 3,200 different keywords that they were bidding on, but 22. Two-two. 22 of those keywords are what drove 98% their business. Those 22 keywords were Restoration Hardware or misspellings of Restoration Hardware. They were wasting their PPC budget buying their own name. Those people would have found Restoration Hardware anyway.
Now, the PPC vendor and Google, they want the money that this drives, and they want the credit for these leads and calls. Of course, because they can co-mingle these with the rest of your spending. They can look like they’re doing a better job. These keywords used to be dirt cheap. This is where you need to really look at this. For the dealer buying their own name it used to be something like a 50 cent click, a 25 cent click when other clicks were $3.00. Now, those clicks, I’m starting to see when they’re compared to other clicks are starting to get right in line with that. A couple of bucks. That doesn’t make any sense. Some dealers today are paying over $2.00 a click to attract someone already looking for them.
How do you tell whether this makes sense? All right, the number one test is simple, how do you really rank for your own name? If you’re Knudtsen Chevrolet you own it. By the way the Search Station that we talked about a couple of seconds ago, they have a report that shows the organic keywords that you own, that you’re also bidding for on PPC, so you can make a decision by looking in Search Station and say wait a minute, I’m bidding on that, and I own it. You can look at that report and find out.
Now, if you’re AutoNation Toyota, you own the organic results, but in this case, we’ll take a look at them, they’ve got a competitor bidding on their own name, or at least not making their name a negative keyword. Again, I told you this isn’t a Google Analytics class, but here’s the deal, Parker Toyota at the bottom of that red box is a competing dealer. The closest competing dealer to AutoNation Toyota Spokane at least going east it’s the closest competitor. Now they’re bidding on the name AutoNation Toyota, or they’re just bidding on the word Toyota in our marketplace. The bottom line is they own the organic results, AutoNation Toyota does. They have the number one and number two organic spots, plus they own the Google My Business page.
Now, should you be bidding as AutoNation Toyota is doing? I say no in this case and I’m going to tell you why in just a second, but here’s a big one. Look at the phone numbers. The red arrow points to the pay-per-click phone number that when a human calls that number, when someone searches AutoNation Toyota and they call that number, AutoNation Toyota pays as if they clicked on it, and the SEM gets the results from that. They get to say, “Oh look, we drove this phone call for you.” Well what if they didn’t include the phone number into that place, or what if they weren’t buying the number one spot? Well guess what is at the green arrow on the Google My Business or the business card page is a phone number and that phone is free, so I’m not paying for someone to call me. I’m not paying to be 411.
Here’s why I wouldn’t do it in this case. If I was AutoNation Toyota I would not be buying my name AutoNation Toyota. Competitive keywords have almost no ROI. For most dealers, bidding on competitor names hurts your quality score because it’s a low click through rate and it’s a bad landing page experience. In this case here, here. If I’m Parker Toyota and I’m bidding on AutoNation Toyota, and again, they might just be doing it accidentally. They just didn’t make … they’re bidding on all Toyota keywords and didn’t make AutoNation a negative keyword, but the person who accidentally clicks on my ad, because that’s what it’s going to be, it’s going to be an accidental click, there are going to be very few of those so I’m going to get a low click through rate so I’ve got to pay more and more for that keyword. It’s going to hurt my quality score for that whatever experience I’m going after. Whatever campaign I have that on, but then when they click through and they go, “Oh, this is Parker Toyota. No, no. I’m looking for AutoNation Toyota, because that’s where my car is in for service.” Then they go back to Google and click on AutoNation Toyota or find the phone number in Google My Business.
This means, Parker, they’re paying a higher cost per click for a lower position and they’re not converting any of the accidental clicks. You want to buy your name because you want to protect it right? Because you have a competitive situation where others are bidding on your name. My question is this, are you bidding on their name, and if you are, have you looked at that campaign lately? Does it have any ROI or are these the most expensive clicks your buying with the least results?
Should you buy competitive names? In this case if I’m Parker Toyota, should I be bidding on AutoNation Toyota? Listen, if you’re competing with Atlanta Toyota, then yes of course, I’m going to buy competitor names, but if you’re competing against Stauning Toyota or AutoNation Toyota, then I’m going to buy competitor names if it has a measurable ROI at the keyword level so I know that the people who click on an AutoNation Toyota keyword, so Parker Toyota, I’m going to be able to measure that at the keyword level.
Look at the leads and the sales from the keyword, plus my ad copy must be targeted for this. They must know that I’m a competitor. See chances are though, you’re doing to find as most dealers have who’ve looked at the ROI, there is almost no ROI for buying your competitor names. There really isn’t. Let’s look at the ROI, lets separate that campaign. Make it a competitive campaign and some of you will say, “Well Steve we only put $500 against it.” Well then what are you going after? If you’re not there all the time, if you’re not really going after that competitor, what are you doing? You’re not doing anything. You’re hurting your overall quality score and you’re raising your cost per click and there’s almost no ROI in that.