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Posted on July 12, 2008

Keyword Controversies

chris
Keyword Controversies
chris
Posted on July 12, 2008

Hot Debates About Hot Keywords

Yesterday I was involved in another debate about whether Amazon should be buying hot keywords, like its own name, and the word, “books.”

Buying Your Name

Your business name is highly relevant, very essential, and extremely specific. On that basis, in terms of our Framework for Selecting Keywords, it would be considered an obvious pay per click buy. Many paid search Advertisers buy their own names, on the basis that one’s name is most often associated with the highest conversion rates.

Conversely, many an SEO Guru would advise a client to drop keywords for PPC, once such client registers its keywords for organic search, and this generally would includes one’s name. Should you buy your name or not, and why am I so reticent to categorically pick a side in such a debate?

It’s not that I don’t have an opinion on the matter, but rather that I don’t believe the question deserves a simple yes or no answer. My opinion is that, “It depends” (such opinions are never popular in straw votes). If you dominate your search results the way Amazon does, then the left SER are more compelling than if you occupied only SER position 3, for example. That notwithstanding, any Advertiser can resolve the matter algebraically as follows:

For [Name} if the following is true, then buy [Name]:

(Actual acquisition cost for [Name]) < (Targeted Acquisition Cost – ((probability R clicker clicks on L) x (targeted acquisition costs))

A Right Clicker is someone who has the tendency to click on ads, regardless of organic search results.  Say one out of six people are Right Clickers.  It varies by company.  You can find your ratio of right clickers by looking in your analytics.

This brings me to a final point of caution on the matter. If you’re taking over the management of a PPC budget and decide to cull keywords which include the client’s name, even though these keywords are converting at 4x the rate of all other keywords, then you must be prepared to defend your inferior results three months hence, when your ROAS results don’t stack up against those of the previous manager.

Your name may be the closest you’ll find to a sure thing. Should you buy your company name? Do the ROAS math, then decide.

Purchasing High Traffic General Keywords

Should Amazon buy the keyword, “books?” In fact, I find Amazon first in the paid search results for that term today. Amazon is one of the kings of internet retailing, so the fact that they are buying “books” supports the notion of purchasing general relevant search phrases, right?

Well, that depends. If you’re Amazon, then I agree. By all means, buy the word “books.” If Amazon can’t convert that term, then who can? However, if you’re “Bob’s Books,” then you may not have the ad budget to go head to head against Amazon for the word. Even if you have the ad budget, if you can’t convert the keyword at the same rate that Amazon converts it, then you’ll find that while the term may meet Amazon’s ROAS hurdle, it can never meet yours.

If you’re Bob Books, and you’re purchasing only 14% of impressions for relevant keyword phrases, then you are a bargain hunter, in which case you want to allocate your limited budget towards those keywords offering the highest return on your ad spending. Most often those are long-tail lower traffic keywords, not what for you would be an absurdly general keyword, like “books.”

Go, Amazon (don’t do it Bob).