Table of Contents
- Is bidding on competitor brand keywords legal?
- What to do when a competitor is using your brand’s name as a keyword?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Time to protect your brand
Building your brand from the ground and taking it to the very top takes time and resources. But, when you type your company’s name on a search engine and a competitor’s site appears on the top, that’s not a great sight which leaves you with certain questions, like:
Why is Google/Bing displaying my competitor’s website over mine when I search my brand’s name?
Is this even legal?
What should I do now to get my brand back on top?
Well, this is definitely frustrating for brand owners. It is all part of the marketing game and once your business starts to succeed, certain competitors start targeting your branded keywords. It all boils down to what can you do to handle the situation.
There are certain tactics that can help you minimize the loss in case of your own brand bidding. But, before we get to that, let’s answer the question in demand – Is bidding on competitor brand keywords legal?
- 7 Google Ads Keyword Bidding Tips You Need to Try
- Google Ads Automated Bidding Myths You Don’t Want to Fall For
Is bidding on competitor brand keywords legal?
In very simple terms, bidding on competitors’ branded keywords is completely legal, but there are certain restrictions in place that are clearly stated in Google’s policies.
These are the following:
● The advertisement copy should not include the competitor’s trademarked terms,
● The display URLs should not contain the competitor’s trademarked terms.
● The advertisements should not try to mislead users about the product/service’s origin.
So, firstly, if your brand name is not registered and protected by a trademark, then competitors can legally use your company’s name in their advertisements as they like.
The next exception to these trademark rules is that authorized sites, resellers, and info-blogging sites have the permission to use trademarked terms, only if they include approved keywords and don’t contradict the owner of the terms.
Now that you know that competitors can legally bid on your brand keywords by smartly editing the advertisement copy, let us see what can you do from your end to make things right!
What to do when a competitor is using your brand’s name as a keyword?
If you are caught in such a scenario where your competitor is using your brand’s name on the search engine to appear on top, then here are some of the options available for you.
- Google Ads Automated Bidding Myths You Don’t Want to Fall For
- 6 Low Budget PPC Marketing Tips for Startups
1. Talk to the competitor
Sometimes talking directly to your competitor is the easiest way to get them to stop bidding on your branded terms. This might seem like a waste of time, but you’d be surprised that businesses can be reasonable at times. All you gotta do is schedule a face-to-face meet or call to stop this bidding war.
Letting the other business know that they are using your brand’s name is important because sometimes the owners aren’t even aware of the fact. This is generally the case when competitors are taking help from third-party marketing agencies to increase reach.
The agency might not have revealed this tactic to your competitor and bringing the issue forward directly to the owner can help you get it resolved instantly.
If the above mentioned is not the case and the competitor is using your branded terms knowingly, there is an effective way to get them to listen to you.
You can hint at legal trouble and a threat of legal action might get your competitor to back off. Not every negotiation will go as smooth as you think, so have a bunch of reasons in your backpack to get them to stop bidding.
2. Bid on your own brand
At first, bidding on your own branded terms might not look logical, but it is a natural response to get yourself back on the top of the search results. On the bright side, there are many advantages as well.
First, the cost per click (CPC) for branded terms is pretty low when compared to non-branded keywords.
Second, the brand-specific search intent is all about users actually searching for your brand and are likely to visit your site. So, if you bid on your own brand, competitors might not consider taking their bid more up as it isn’t efficient.
Third, the click-through rate (CTR) is higher and as you have control over the ads, it prevents your competitors from capitalizing on your brand.
Moreover, there might be a very likely scenario in place. Let’s say, a competitor saw that no one was bidding on your brand name and they took advantage by paying a reasonable CPC to capture your potential leads.
By bidding a higher amount, not only will you regain the advertisement spot but will let your competitors know that you are active and working on your branded terms as well.
3. Bid on the competitor’s brand
Bidding on the competitor’s brand can be beneficial for you too! If you simply want to teach your competitor a lesson so that they get off from your branded keywords, you can bid on their brand’s name in a legal manner by not using any trademarked elements in your ads.
However, if you are simply looking to get the reach and traffic you lost on your branded keywords because of the competitors, you need to pick your opponents wisely.
Pick companies that are similar or bigger in size and are in the same market. By doing so and by being creative with your ad copies, you can attract potential customers.
As now you have fired the bid on other brands, you can agree to a cease-fire when either you talk to the competitors or they contact you to take down the advertisements.
Here’s a tip: make sure to not spend much on such ad campaigns if they are not proving to be profitable.
4. Seek protection & file a trademark complaint
If your brand is not protected by a trademark, then it’s like you are giving your competitors permission to use your name in their advertisements.
So, the first thing that you should do is trademark your brand and the unique terms attached to it. You can do so by visiting and starting the application process at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Now that your brand is trademarked, competitors can only use it with the restrictions we mentioned above. Make sure to check out different search engines regularly to see if competitors are targeting your keywords.
If you find their ads, then check out the ad copies and URLs to see if search engine policies or code of conduct is violated. If that’s the case, you can report the ad with the supporting documentation to get it removed.
Moreover, if you are on good terms with your competitor, you can politely ask them to remove the ad before filing a formal complaint. This will stop the competitor from using your branded terms in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I consider bidding on my brand?
Bidding is necessary to get yourself back on the top of the search results. if you consider bidding your own brand, competitors might not consider taking their bid more up as it isn’t efficient.
Is bidding considered as legal?
With certain restrictions declared by google policies, bidding is considered legal.
Time to protect your brand!
Seeing someone bidding on your hard-earned brand name is a tough pill to swallow. From what we learned above, there are certain tactics to counter this marketing technique used by competitors.
Analyze the situation, try to talk it out, outbid the competitors, target their branded keywords, and protect your brand with trademarks in place.
These are all crucial elements in the bidding wars and you need to make certain choices to remain on top of things. And at the end, it is all about using the right tactic to respond to the situation!
We hope you found the information useful. It is now time to protect your brand in this digital marketing era. If there are any other tips or tactics you would like to share, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.