Is your competition trying to steal your traffic?
Chances are, the answer to that would be YES. What’s more shocking is that it may be happening in the last mile of the hard fought race for the website visitor.
In the last few months, we’ve had at least two projects where we were asked by clients “can I run campaigns where I show up when someone does a search for my competitor?” The short answer to that is yes. It’s called Conquesting and it’s typically is used in Search Ads where the idea is to create search ads that show when someone does a search for your competitor business or brand name. The logic here is, when someone searches for your competitor, they’re probably close to or near the “bottom of the funnel” and getting ready to make a purchase. So a conquesting campaign is that last ditch effort to get in front of these consumers.
If you question if this is happening to you, do a search for your own brand or company and see if any of your competitors are showing up in the paid search ads.
To be clear, to be a conquesting ad, it will be targeting your branded search terms. But branded searches are often some of your most valuable traffic because it’s frequently bottom of funnel traffic that occurs closer to the conversion. However, this is all the more reason that you should be aggressively protecting that traffic.
If you have competitors running conquesting ads for your branded searches, they’re likely paying premium for these campaigns. Here’s why. They end up with higher Cost Per Click because of
- Lower Quality Scores (Adwords)
- Poor ad relevance if their ads don’t include your branded terms in the ad copy
- Poor landing page experience because their destination page may not be optimized for your branded search terms.
While there’s really nothing you can do to prevent your competitors from running conquesting campaigns targeting your branded searches. You do, hopefully, have good organic positioning working in your favor. The name of the game here is to occupy as much result page real estate as you can with plenty of organic results and a robust knowledge graph.
If you’re brick and mortar, you should also have claimed your Google Maps listing. If you do have ownership of your Google Maps listing, there’s another feature recently rolled out system-wide that you should be using to your benefit.
Google Posts, originally created for the 2016 political season for use by candidates to quickly post content to Google, is a new feature that was recently (July 2017) rolled out to anyone that has ownership of their Google Maps listing. Because it’s called “Posts”, it may sound like something to do with social media, but it’s not. Google Posts allow you to create simple messages that appear as an extension of your local Knowledge Graph and are very flexible in the information that it lets you push it to your local Knowledge Graph on the search results page.
We’ve been testing this new feature over course of the first week that it’s been available and the results were somewhat surprising. Because the post shows up in Google Analytics, you can see the traffic that it’s generated.
During our test, there was clearly traffic that had arrived at client sites via the Google Post and it was reported, in Google Analytics, as new traffic. This traffic also had significantly higher time on site than other sources of organic traffic entry points.
In the screen shot of our local Knowledge Graph, you can see the post that I created that links to our Google Partners Page.
A few things to know about using the new Google Posts feature. First is that they only exist for 7 days and then get removed. So plan on updating them weekly. Second is that they appear almost instantly in your Knowledge Graph after you create them. So this is not an SEO thing where you create it and wait for Google to index it before it gets displayed. It appears almost instantly.
As I mentioned, the type of content that Google Posts lets you actively push to your local Knowledge Graph is pretty flexible. So if you want to call attention to specific things that your not getting good organic coverage for, using Google Posts to do that is a great option. Let’s say your a restaurant and you want to call attention to the fact that you have a special going on this week or that you have gluten-free menu options. Create a Google Post in your Google Maps dashboard and BOOM, it’s there. But again, only for 7 days.
By using Google Posts to share helpful, interesting and compelling content to your potential customers you’ll make your competitors conquesting campaign need to work that much harder to steal your traffic in that last mile.