Is your brand working against you in the search engine? When your prospects search for you by name, are you the first brand they see? If you aren’t the number one listing for your community’s brand you might just have a brandjacking problem. You wouldn’t be the first community to experience this, even marketing agencies like us experience brandjacking attempts. We know being brand jacked can be a frustrating experience, but rest assured, it’s a battle you can win. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to overcome brand jackers and reclaim your rightful place in the search engine.
What exactly is brandjacking?
Brandjacking is when a company or individual, shows up when people are looking for your brand, impersonates your brand, or targets customers of your brand.
It’s important to note that brandjacking isn’t always a deliberate attack on your brand by your competitors. Brands with names that contain common phrases or location terminology are often brandjacked unintentionally.
Where can you be brandjacked?
The most common form of brandjacking that apartment communities experience is in search engines.
Bigger brands can be brand jacked through Facebook and Instagram advertising but apartment brands are rarely if ever, a targeting option in the Facebook ad platform. The closest someone can get to brandjacking you in Facebook is to target people within a one-mile radius of your community.
How can I be brandjacked in the Google search engine?
Your brand can be overrun in the search engine organically and through advertisements.
While it is not unheard of for people to use organic search engine optimization to brandjack competitors, it isn’t as prevalent as brandjacking through paid advertisements. If your community is brandjacked organically, it’s probably the result of your brand name including a common phrase or location. It is harder for competitors to rank well for your brand name organically in the search engine because a lot of organic SEO is dependent on how relevant their landing page is to the brand name keyword they are targeting.
If you are being brandjacked intentionally it’s because your competitors have bid on keyword searches in Google that include your brand name. While Google takes keyword relevancy into account when ranking ad campaigns, they also factor in how much companies bid for a given keyword. This means that if someone is spending more than you in Google ads for your brand, they can rank above you in the search engine and steal visibility away from you when prospects and residents are trying to find you online.
It is also entirely possible for other brands to target a broad match keyword that accidentally overlaps with your brand name. When someone bids in Google ads for a broad match keyword, Google presents their ad when synonyms or other variations of the key term are searched. If your brand name includes a city name or a common apartment descriptor like “luxury” or “modern”, it could also be possible that other communities are deliberately trying to bid on what they consider to be relevant terms for their community.
What can I do to overcome brandjacking?
One way you can protect your brand from brandjacking is to bid on keywords that reference your brand. These brand-specific Google ad campaigns can help you rank above competitors bidding on your brand. The good news is that your website will be better optimized for your brand keywords than your competitors on Google. It will be cheaper and easier for you to capture your brand terms than competitors because Google takes into account landing page relevance and ad relevance among other things. Your brand campaigns are more likely to rank higher and get better cost per click rates than competitors bidding for the same terms. Once the cost rises for your competitors to bid against you in the search engine, many may look elsewhere for targeting opportunities.
Brand Campaigns in Search
Regardless of brandjacking, it’s a good idea to bid on your brand name in Google. It’s the way the most interested prospects are searching for you online. On average, brand campaigns have higher click-through rates than non-brand campaigns and brand keywords have lower costs per click.
Another reason communities should bid on their brand is to capture those people who are searching for their brand after seeing a brand awareness campaign. If you are running display or social ads, people are likely to come back to Google to look for your community after seeing the ad. Ensuring you show up at the top of the search engine is a good way to make sure you don’t lose the leads you generate from other marketing efforts.
Companies and communities are both intentionally and unintentionally targeting brands on Google. Communities that bid on their own brand can rank for the top position in Google for less than it costs the competitors trying to brandjack them. By bidding on their own brand keywords in Google, communities can deter brand jackers and ensure they are the only beneficiary of their branding efforts.