When it comes to pay per click, one of the questions we get asked most often is “Should I bid on my competitor’s company name and/or use their company name in the copy?”
There are different answers to the question, some of which depend on the legality of the issue. There is a big warning here: we are not lawyers, so please take this post as it is meant, informative but not the word of the law!
As long as the company name is not a trade mark, you can bid on it in your pay per click keywords. A useful tip I picked up from another person’s blog was that if the company/competitor you are bidding on is often in the news, it might be worth using their keyword in a "content" campaign so that when they are mentioned in press/blogs, your advert will show.
Sneaky, I know. I like it!
Can you use the company name in the advert? Our internal rule is that if the advert is not misleading, it is okay to do it, so no pretending to be the other company. "Our product is better than…" is fine by us. If companies have let Google know about their trademark, your adverts may not actually be allowed, in which case you will have to file a request with Google to be able to use it.
The thing to watch when bidding on competitor’s company names is matching the keyword to the advert to the webpage. No one wants to blast their competitors name on their website to increase quality scores. You can do things like comparison charts or third party testimonials stating product differences which is a way of increasing the relevance.
Guy Levine is the founder and CEO of Web Marketing Advisor, a full service digital marketing company, offering pay per click services.
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