Like Snatching Keywords from Competitors: Why Content Matching Could Give You SEM Advantage

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Article Summary
• Finding highly-qualified buyers is the key to successful pay-per-click
• Searchers interested in “competitor” terms are often highly-qualified
• Traditional techniques for buying “competitor” terms on Google are risky and have been rendered largely in-effective
• Content Match campaigns can surmount these problems and provide cost-effective (though incremental) access to qualified leads using competitor targeting.
• Issues with Content-Match quality make monitoring essential


Finding Qualified Buyers

The success of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns is largely determined by the precision with which you can place your ad in front of qualified buyers. For mass marketers, the emphasis is more on buyers — since almost everyone is potentially qualified. But for companies occupying a smaller niche, finding highly-qualified eyeballs is critical.

This is especially important when a web site is lead-generating — not converting. The cost of an unqualified lead to a web site that handles conversion is generally only the cost of the initial click. When a web site generates leads, however, the cost is often precious time lost handling or identifying useless leads. This cost can dwarf the initial PPC charges and can make a PPC program untenable even when it might be working on a straight cost-per-qualified-lead basis.

Competitive Terms are Inherently Well-Qualified
It’s a generally accepted fact in Search Engine Marketing that your own brand words will convert particularly well on your site, versus more generic keywords. But what about your competitor’s brands? Until earlier this year, buying competitor words was a relatively cheap way to get good conversion rate. After all, you are pre-selecting customers you know are savvy enough about your industry to know who the main players are, and thus these potential customers are ahead of the curve when it comes to search browsing. And again, these words tend to be much cheaper than generic words, “buy stocks” being much more expensive per click than “Scottrade”.

Traditional Buying Techniques Have Become Less-Effective
However, many of the search engines don’t allow you to purchase competitor terms — and new rules on Google make purchasing competitor keywords much less attractive than was once the case. Google’s Minimum Bid Pricing in effect places a minimum floor on your per click costs. Since your click rates are usually quite low when buying competitor brand terms, you will almost certainly be asked to bid more for the placement than the actual auction will warrant. The net result is that you can no longer buy exposure (and clicks) on competitor search terms for the nickel or dime that it used to cost.

In addition, there is always some risk when buying competitor names — both of confused branding and the threat of litigation for trademark infringement. Most companies are rightly conservative when it comes to exposure to the legal system. Whatever the right or wrong of this type of advertising, nobody ever wants to be sued!

1 COMMENT

  1. Mr. Angel’s proposed content matching technique should also work quite well with level three domains – would it not? Take, for example, the generic name “air” – as in http://air.com. Matching brand name content to this term as in united.air.com or qantas.air.com or sas.air.com with myownbrand.air.com should therefore produce the same result, since search engines treat sub-domains as separate web sites. Is this not the case? And all quite legal?

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