Bidding can be a complicated process since a lot of factors come into play. You need to take into account your strategy and what your competitors are doing. Also, how it affects your brand.

Sometimes you can find that competitors are buying your brand keyword, taking that space where your ads should be. But is this even legal?

Surprisingly, this is not a banned practice. Search engines like Google and Bing allow bidding on someone else’s branded keywords.

The only situation where they meddle is when marketers bid on trademarked brand names, when they use them on display urls or when the intention behind the strategy is to mislead users into clicking their ads instead.

Brand bidding as the prisoner’s dilemma

This raises the question as to how one should operate in these situations.

Should you bid on your competitor’s terms? If you don’t, you’re at risk of having your keywords bought by them instead.

What if you buy other’s brand keywords? Competitors will get back at you, spend more money on your brand words and the costs for both will be increased.

After understanding the circumstances and how confusing adopting the best strategy can be, what can you do to defend your brand from those that take advantage of this?

What are the solutions for this situation?

There are some tactics you can use to protect your brand:

Trademark your brand name

This seems like the most logical and quick solution. As we noted before, trademarked words are not allowed to be bought, so it’s an easy way to secure your brand.

Ask your competitors first

Before taking any action, you can talk to other advertisers and agree not to bid on each other’s keywords. That would be the most ideal situation for the competitive landscape. Having a healthy relationship with your competition can be beneficial for both of you since it’ll save you a lot of unnecessary spend in brand bidding.

Bid on your own brand terms

It can be cheaper for brands to bid on their own name. If you and your competitors both decide to buy your terms, Google will prioritize the advertisers that have notified their intentions to bid on their own keywords beforehand, giving them an added quality score (QS). As Search Engine Journal states, “advertisers benefit from a higher QS because it means they have to pay less to maintain their position versus their next competitor.”

Buy your competitors’ keywords

If this doesn’t work, you always have the option to bid on your competitors’ brand terms too. It’s risky since you don’t know how much money they’re spending on their own words or if they are doing it at all. You can be potentially wasting money for words that are not generating any traffic or visibility to your ads. That’s why you need to think thoroughly about what your bidding strategy is going to be.

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What are brand keywords?

Brand keywords are terms or phrases that include the name of a company or brand. They’re used by potential clients in search engines to look for specific information on a product or service.

Is it legal to use competitors names in your keywords?

Yes, it is completely legal. However, you should not use trademarked brand words and not mislead potential consumers.