Online Brand Protection Strategy Tips for Search Results

David Igelsias Jun 1, 2023

In a recent webinar hosted by BrandVerity, David Iglesias, a seasoned professional from the sales team, delved into the strategies for safeguarding your brand on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This blog post will summarize the key online brand protection strategy tips from David's webinar, focusing on the prevalent tactics, examples of infringements, and recommendations for brand protection in the paid search landscape.

Watch the full effective online brand protection webinar to hear all of David's brand protection strategies.

The Most Popular Tactics & Infringements of SERP Brand Protection

David began by highlighting the most common types of abusive activities that can pose a significant threat to online brands on the SERP. These tactics include hijacking or imitation, counterfeit product sales, trademark abuse, unauthorized online brand building, unapproved ad copies, and misleading landing pages.

Hijacking and Imitation Ads & Impact on the Brand Protection

One form of abuse observed is when third parties imitate a brand's online presence on search engines, luring unsuspecting users to deceptive websites. David presented examples of fraudulent ads that redirected users to websites closely resembling legitimate brands, such as Betfair, Wise (formerly TransferWise), and Kander. These imitations often aim to deceive users and potentially steal their credentials.

Counterfeit Product Sales

Advertisers frequently run pay-per-click (PPC) ads to sell replicas or counterfeit products, particularly in industries like retail and fashion. David showcased instances where advertisers attempted to imitate popular brands like Pandora, Ted Baker, and Nike. These deceptive ads lure customers with low prices and misleading ad copies, potentially resulting in financial loss and damage to the genuine brands' reputation.

Trademark Abuse

Some advertisers exploit online brand names for competitive purposes by including them in their ads, despite having no affiliation with the brand. This violates search engine rules. David illustrated this type of abuse using examples of ads by Philo and an unauthorized customer service provider posing as Hastings Direct. These practices mislead users and harm both the brand's reputation and search campaigns.

Unauthorized Online Brand Bidding

Another challenge arises when partners, such as affiliates, resellers, or distributors, bid on branded keywords in violation of their partnership agreements. David demonstrated instances where partners competed with the brand's own ads, potentially increasing costs and diminishing the brand's visibility.

Online Brand Protection Strategy Tips for Search Result Pages


Online Brand Protection Bidding

Online brand protection bidding is a type of pay-per-click ad bidding strategy used to secure and protect the top of search result pages for people searching for your brand name and various phrases that include your brand name. 

Here is a summary of how online brand protection bidding strategies work.

  1. Bidding on Brand Names and Various Words Including the Brand Name (Branded Terms): Businesses bid on their own brand name and related terms containing their brand name on search engine ad platforms like Google Ads. By doing this, brands ensure their ads will display prominently at the top of search results whenever people search for their brand by its name instead of a competitor.

  2. Keeping Search Competitors Away From Ranking Their Ads: By bidding on branded terms, businesses prevent competitors from showing their ads in the top ad placement positions. Ensuring your own brand displays at the top whenever it is searched helps avoid confusion for searchers as they expect to see you first whenever your brand is known well enough for the searcher to look for it by its name.  

  3. Monitoring for Trademark Violations: It's essential to keep an active eye out for any bad actors violating your trademark and bidding for your branded terms. 


The Advantages of Having an Online Brand Protection Bidding Strategy:

  • Protects Brand Reputation: By controlling what people see when they search for your brand, you protect your brand's reputation from misleading or harmful information.
  • Meeting the Expectation of Searchers: When searchers look for you by your brand's name, they expect to see your brand at the top of the results. Whenever another brand's ad outranks your ad, a level of trust with the searcher is lost.

  • Increases Website Traffic and Sales: Showing up at the top of search results can drive more traffic to your website, leading to potentially more sales and conversions.

  • Lowers Customer Acquisition Costs: With more direct traffic to your site, you spend less on acquiring each customer, which ultimately boosts your bottom line.

To combat any ads that are infringing your branded term's search results, follow these recommendations:

Regular Monitoring for Online Brand Protection

Continuously monitor the paid search landscape to identify any abusive activity targeting your brand.

Enforce Policies

Establish clear guidelines and partnership agreements with affiliates and partners, clearly outlining restrictions on brand bidding and other practices.

Trademark Compliance for Online Brand Protection

Ensure compliance with search engine policies regarding the usage of brand names in ads, allowing only authorized entities to utilize them.

Partnership Management

Maintain regular communication with partners to enforce compliance and address any violations promptly.

Ad Copy Approval

Implement a process to review and approve ad copies to ensure they align with the brand's messaging and do not mislead users.

Landing Page Relevance

Ensure that landing pages are relevant to the ad copy, providing accurate information and a seamless user experience.

Legal Action, if necessary

In extreme cases, consider taking legal action against persistent offenders to protect the brand's online reputation and prevent further abuse.

In Conclusion

Protecting a brand's online presence on search result pages is vital to maintain brand integrity, prevent financial loss, and preserve customer trust. By understanding the prevalent tactics used to abuse the paid search landscape and implementing effective brand protection strategies, businesses can mitigate risks and safeguard their online reputation. Stay vigilant, establish clear guidelines, and work closely with partners to ensure a secure and trustworthy brand presence in the digital realm

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