Unless you have a registered trademark in Australia, anyone (including a competitor) can advertise on your business name in Google. Even if you have a trademark your business cannot stop other companies advertising on your business name + industry category in Google.
Ie: AAMI can stop other companies advertising on AAMI, but the competition can advertise under the keyword “AAMI car insurance”
The above example shows how easy and or common for Australian companies to advertise under competitors names – sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly.
At roi.com.au we see this happen everyday — so here are some tips on what we feel is the best and most practical ways for your company to respond.
Step 1 – Take the heat out of the equation
If you are like most people you’re first reaction is to get angry and bring in the lawyers. I agree it can be very frustrating, however, there are many instances where it is not a deliberate strategy of your competitors. The ads may have been incorrectly set up by a 3rd party, or the campaign was set to “broad match” and this inadvertently caused the issue.
Tip: Clicking on your competitor’s ad 10 times per day may make you feel better, but is more than likely making the problem worse. The more you click the higher chance the ad will show higher on the left hand side of Google. If the competitor is listed on the right hand side of Google, they are more than likely only receiving less than 3% of your brand clicks.
Step 2 – Assess Potential impact
Go to Google Analytics and check how many people per month type in variations of your business name. This helps you understand your risk and potential impact.
Step 3 – Start your brand Adwords campaign
The fastest way commercial way to respond to this issue is to start advertising on all your highest traffic brand keywords in Google Adwords. Ensure your site is the number 1 ranked adwords and organic listing for all of your highest traffic brand keywords.
Step 4 – Start brand optimisation campaign
This is a more advanced strategy but highly effective. Register or use another 2 domain names, 1 name being brand related, 1 keyword related. Create landing pages for the 2 domains, each with its own unique purpose. Your 2 new sites could have content including a unique marketing offer, information download, list of your authorised distributors, latest company news etc.
Once your 2 new websites are live, create 2 separate adwords campaigns for each. You are now controlling the top 3 listings on the left hand side of Google for your company names.
Furthermore, you now have 2 new websites which can be used as offensive assets in helping you win more market share online.
Step 5 – Register your company name as a trademark in Australia.
The application process takes about 3 months, and it will take approximately 10 months for your registration to be successful. You can only prevent other businesses advertising on your company name in Google once your trademark has been registered. So if you don’t have a trademark today, it will take approximately 10 months to prevent others companies from advertising on your name.. unless your competitor willingly agrees to stop.
Allow a budget of around $1200 to register a trademark. PYI.com.au has a cost effective, easy to use service which can help without the need for expensive lawyers.
Step 6 – Refine your business strategy to win market share online.
Remember: It’s pretty easy and “lazy” to set up an adwords campaign against your company name. My experience is this strategy is generally quite short sighted and does not yield big returns.
If you use this frustration to sharpen your online strategy, strengthen your companies value proposition to each market segment…then your business will win more market share… This is the most effective way to hurt your competition. Contact the Google Adwords team at roi.com.au for more information on this strategy.