Beat The Competition – Paid Search Tactics To Succeed In The Auction

6 min read by Poppy Court 19 Oct 2021

As the end of the pandemic feels increasingly within touching distance, it is inevitable that paid search competition levels will continue to rise over the coming months. 

For organisations that have found their feet with paid ads in the last few months, adaptability will be critical as the auction becomes increasingly turmoil from other brands starting to open up their marketing efforts and push higher levels of spend through campaigns and accounts. 

But just because competition levels are likely to rise, doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to stand your ground and dominate your field.

Here are just a few of the ways that you can help stand your ground with paid search activity without necessarily spending any extra!

Focus On Quality Score

Unlike a traditional auction, a paid search auction will take into account other factors beyond your bid in order to determine who ‘wins’. 

Quality score is the metric that Google Ads will give to a keyword based on how closely your target keyword relates to a user’s search query plus your ad copy and landing page experience. 

Therefore, a keyword with a higher quality score, but lower bid, could win against a keyword with a higher bid but lower quality score. 

To improve your quality score, ensure that your ad copy contains your target keyword in at least one headline, preferably headline 1, a description line and a URL path. 

In addition, it is preferable that your keyword is included in the H1 of your page and the main body copy. In theory this should also help from a conversion rate perspective. 

Make The Most Of Extensions

Extensions provide search marketers with additional fields to further promote USPs or  product / service offerings. 

Not only do extensions impact your success in the auction, they can massively help to increase visibility in the search results page, especially when it comes to more visual features such as image extensions.

Keep A Track Of Your Competitors

Whilst you think you might know who your competitors are, you may be pleasantly surprised when you delve into the auction insights report of your campaign. You’ll likely find competitors you haven’t heard of before or some that you wouldn’t necessarily consider as direct competitors of your business.

Understanding how many organisations you’re up against on a month-by-month basis can help you understand if and when you should start to upweight bid levels. 

In addition, it is also worth reviewing what additional terms your competitors appear to identify any gaps in terms of target keywords. You can do this by plugging your competitor’s URL into the Google Ad’s Keywords Planner.

Avoid Competitor Bidding

Do not be tempted to bid directly on competitor terms. Doing so will likely result in wasted spend and higher CTRs. There are only a few circumstances when competitor bidding may be appropriate (e.g. targeting anyone looking to cancel a contract with a competitor) but even then it should be tested at a very low level to start with.

If your organisation falls victim to a competitor bidding on your brand term, the important thing to do is not fight back by bidding on theirs. Instead, create a low level brand protection campaign that just targets your brand name. This should help to retain a first page position in search results and reduce the likelihood of your competitor appearing.

Be Reactive

Keeping a track of the latest news and consumer trends within your industry can be a great way of dominating a space before the competitors get a chance to get there. Fast fashion brands in particular have historically been good at tailoring ads based on current affairs.

Keeping a close eye on the news is one way to be on top of potential opportunities in addition to setting up Google Alerts for your specific sector.

Whilst keeping a close eye on your account on a day to day basis is crucial for running a paid search campaign, having a much deeper awareness of what your competitors are up to is the difference between running a good campaign from a great one.

If you’re looking to take your paid activity to the next level, our paid media team would love to talk to you. Get in touch with us today!

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