How to decide ‘Should I bid?’
Are your paid search ads cannibalizing your organic search traffic? Columnist Kevin Lee explores the problem of determining when it's worth it to bid and when it's better to let organic do the work.
One age-old question that often comes up when I chat with new prospects or new clients is, “Should I bid on my brand terms or generic terms where I rank in the top three organically?”
This question is hardly trivial. It matters a great deal because PPC search budgets are generally constrained — and now, with other enticing options available from Facebook and other programmatic channels, we need to demonstrate that our search advertising budgets are being allocated optimally.
Six key questions to ask before you begin
The best way to answer this question is by using a multi-stage process of evaluation, followed by experimentation. Let’s start by evaluating brand keywords. Before you start your evaluation or experiment, you need to answer six important questions:
- Do you have a distribution channel that also bids on your keywords but carries competitive products or services?
- Does your name or product/service lend itself to a lot of broad match terms/phrases which may trigger competitive ads (unless your brand terms are negative-matched)?
- Are competitors bidding on your brand required to pay a lot (due to low Quality Scores on their ads)?
- Do you typically get organic sitelinks on a brand search?
- For paid search brand queries, are you using a landing page that is different from your home page (a popular tactic that is usually undertaken after testing shows higher conversion rates)?
- What percentage of your traffic AND impressions are on smartphones (vs. tablet/desktop)?
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