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Competitor Brand Keywords?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 mortona

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:35 PM

If you sell products similar to an established company's, is it wise to optimize for for their brand keywords?

#2 nethy

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:52 AM

Mortona,

It depends on what you mean by optimise. Searching for a competing product is often a good qualifier. That means it can be profitable to target these searchers.

ppc
You can target these searcher with PPC. You may or may not be able to run ads via adwords (+YSM etc.) whenever someone uses that search term. Google's (+YSM etc.) policies & enforcement regarding advertising on trademarked terms are a little erratic, varying from place to place, across industries. The best way to find out is to try.

organic search
SEO is a bit trickier & has a few more potential snags. To appear in organic search for these terms, you will need to have content relating to them. A common way of targeting competition brand keywords is a comparison: MyBrand vs CompetingBrand page. This is not a no downside move (as is PPC). You will need to promote your product in a certain way, comparing it to a competitor. It creates a certain brand image. Not necessarily a bad one, but it has an effect nonetheless. At the least, it informs you customers where to look for an alternative.

Here's an example:
Yahoo store is the oldest & (I think) most well known hosted ecommerce platforms. If you searches for 'yahoo stores,' there are many other platform vendors, consultants & alternative vendors might want you as a customer. Many do actually directly compare their product to Yahoo Stores:
- http://www.nexternal...opping_cart.asp
- http://www.goecart.c...ison_yahoo.aspx
*Note, that if you search for 'Yahoo stores', few or no competitors appear in the results. But not everyone

Is it potentially effective? Yes. Is it low hanging fruit? Usually not, but sometimes it is. Is it an all else equals scenario? No. You can't get around mentioning a competitor on your site. That's a decision to make.

#3 Jill

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 08:00 AM

QUOTE
If you sell products similar to an established company's, is it wise to optimize for for their brand keywords?


I'm not a lawyer, but I think legally you could get in trouble for doing that. Unless you're selling their exact brand.

#4 nethy

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 09:05 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jul 8 2009, 11:00 PM) View Post
I'm not a lawyer, but I think legally you could get in trouble for doing that. Unless you're selling their exact brand.


Depends what you mean by 'optimising.' You can certainly mention the brand on your site or compare your product to theirs. You can't let people think that your products are that brand.

#5 adibranch

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 04:31 AM

i'm 90% certain that if you use their brand name in order to attract traffic to your site , on the basis that the visitor thinks they are being sent to a dealer, distributor or brand owning company, and that your site actually has nothing to do with that brand, then you can land yourself in serious trouble. The majority of the time these brand owners are big companies.. they'll squash you without even thinking about it.

Why not spend the time instead publicising your company and your products, instead of trying to capitise on the work and name of others. This is a bit of a pet hate of mine TBH.

#6 donp

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 07:02 AM

Comparing products by brand-name is a time honored advertising ploy enabled cross a broad scope of media. Can't see where it's a problem on the web. Tagging photos and underlying codes and other ways of using a competing brand name may not be so well received. Courts have looked for profitablity in the past when determining cases - are you unfairly using another's brand to enhance your profits? Brand comaparsions would be OK, but they need to be accurate, if you say your watch is waterproof and theirs isn't, you may be liable for some legal action if you are inaccurate. Then you may be using a name unfairly and for profit.

#7 mortona

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 01:15 PM

wow, no need to jump to the conclusion that i'm trying to be deceptive... I would never put their brand straight into our image alt text or anything like that. I was thinking along the comparative side of things, like nethy mentions. Its just that some competitors are a big name in the industry, so if people are searching for their brand terms, they may actually be interested in an alternative product.

#8 nethy

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 07:50 PM

Mortona, you are right.

Forums have a tendency to extrapolate whatever is said beyond reason.

In terms of what is or isn't allowed, this is my rule of thumb: You cannot pretend to be them. You cannot encourage your visitors to view or buy your products under the assumption that they belong to a different brand. I know you're not suggesting doing that.

In my opinion, it is often a good idea to use competitors' brands as keywords in your ppc campaigns. It is also often relatively cheap. This may or may not be possible. Google may not let you do this (it varies by industry, geography, phase of the moon, recent court rulings, etc.). IF they do & your competition complain, they will complain to Google who may or may not decide to stop these ads. I suggest you start here.

Organic search is more difficult to do. It also is more likely to be deceptive. It doesn't have to be. It shouldn't be. There are ways (eg comparison) that are neither deceptive or unethical.




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