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Brand Strategy

When you first google “paid search marketing” the search engine results page is flooded with information. People will tell you a million different methods on what to do before you begin writing your ad copy. In order to fully understand paid search marketing, it is important to start with the search engine results page, keywords, and branded keywords to know the best method for your company. 


The search engine results page (SERP) is broken down into two main sections. The first section is paid advertisements, where advertisers pay to have their listing show up at the top of the page. The second section is the organic results, which is what shows up when someone types in a keyword that is related to that website. Many advertisers ask: why would I pay to have my advertisement at the top of the SERP when I could rank organically for keywords? The simple answer is to gain more visibility to your website, generate more traffic, gain highly interested leads, and access to more detailed analytics about where your traffic came from. Ranking organically from keywords is going to take some time until you see a return on investment, but with paid search marketing, the ROI is a lot faster and you will be able to get your brand’s name out there quicker. 

It’s important to think of paid vs. organic as not “one or the other” but complementary.

Nolia employees looking over plans and website.


SEO or Search Engine Optimization (organic search) is an amazing complement or even alternative to paid Google Ads (paid search) to get on the first page of Google. You can think of online marketing as you would real estate. 

When you own a home, you need to do day-to-day maintenance to take care of your house and protect your investment. Think of your website as a purchased house and SEO as the required maintenance. Whatever remodeling and maintenance is done on your website through SEO is yours to keep and helps protect your investment.

Investing in Google Ads is like renting an awesome apartment in the heart of downtown. You can rent a prime location right where all the traffic is, but once your lease is over, it is gone. However, it might be a little small, maybe with some undiagnosed smells, so your friends sometimes want to skip your apartment and go straight to the bar down the street. 

SEO builds your brand, builds your community, gives you tons of content to post and repurpose, and shows you as a trusted source in the industry. The best practice to execute SEO is strategic, keyword-focused blog writing. A single piece of content can turn into 5 Instagram posts, an infographic, a few Facebook posts, quote graphics, etc. 

Google Ads put you at the top of Google’s page quickly, but has that suspicious little “Ad” symbol next to it which makes it slightly less trustworthy to your ideal customer. However, like we noted above, with Google Ads you only pay when people click which helps! 


Nolia founder at work in the office.

Today, we’re diving into paid ads.

Paid search marketing is a digital marketing method that allows advertisers to show their ads at the top of the SERP. Paid search works on a pay-per-click model, which means advertisers only have to pay when a searcher actually clicks on their ad. This is helpful because these companies advertising on the SERP only pay for the advertisements that are going to searchers who have declared a direct interest in their product or service. Pay-per-click advertisements are inexpensive and connect your advertisements to searchers who are seeking out information about a certain product or service that your company offers. When running paid search ads, it is important to select keywords that are relevant to your products and services for searchers to be directed to your site.


Keyword selection is an essential step in creating your perfect paid search advertisement. This way, a company’s advertisement will only show up on the SERP if a keyword related to their products and services is typed into the search engine. There are three main keyword match types:

1. Exact match 

Even though this type is called an exact match, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be the EXACT letter for the letter keyword. An exact match type will match if the search is either a direct match or if it is a close form of the keyword (misspellings, abbreviations, etc.). An advantage to this is that it is the safest option because the advertiser is most likely not going to spend extra money from searchers who are not interested in their products and services, but they might miss out on placements for the advertisement because the searcher is searching something else that does not match on the exact match type.

2.  Broad match

The broad match type shows results when a keyword matches the advertisement broadly. This match type is great because advertisers will not miss out on any placements for the advertisement. After all, the ad will show up for many searches, but the advertiser could waste money because the ads might show up when the searcher is not interested in purchasing that product or service. 

3.  Phrase match

Phrase match keywords are an in-between of exact match and broad match. This is when the advertisement shows up when a searcher types in the exact keyword, a close form of it, or other keywords with similar meanings to the one being advertised. Google has a say in when they show your ad so that it does not show up on searches that are completely irrelevant to what the searcher is looking for. 

It is also important to point out negative keywords which are keywords that tell the search engine not to display your advertisement if a certain keyword is being typed in. This helps advertisers save money so that their ad does not show up in completely irrelevant situations.


After keyword selection, a big question remains: Should I run paid search ads on branded keywords? This is a common question asked by digital marketers. Branded keywords are phrases that are directly linked to your brand name and the products and services that you have to offer. Most of the time, companies will rank organically for their company name and what they have to offer. Let’s say I search “Creative marketing strategy Nolia Roots.” The first thing to pop up on the SERP is In this case, I would clearly be looking for the services from Nolia Roots and there would be no need to pay for an ad with that keyword. But, there are many cases where bidding on branded keywords can be beneficial for your company. 


1. Competitors 

Competitors might steal your customers by advertising on your brand name or products and services that you offer.

2. Real estate

Real estate is the most important thing on the SERP and buying ads on your branded keywords would allow you to take up more space on the SERP instead of just listing as an organic search. 

3. Price

It is very inexpensive to advertise on branded keywords because not many people are trying to compete with you on those keywords.

4. Shopping ads 

If you are listing shopping ads, bidding on branded keywords might work for your brand, because instead of the customer needing the patience to find the specific product on your website, that exact product can be listed right above the organic listing and the customer can click straight from there!

5. Traffic 

You will gain more traffic to the landing page of the advertisement, which can cause more sales for the specific product you are advertising on. You can run campaigns on this landing page if you are advertising for that keyword!

Even though there are a lot of advantages to bidding on branded keywords, some digital marketers think that it is not valuable to bid on branded keywords


1. Organic Ranking 

Your company’s name or specific brand products will rank organically at the top of the SERP regardless of the advertiser paying for it. It also may not be necessary to bid on your own keywords if no competitors are bidding against you on them.

2. Conversion

The ad itself might not have caused the conversion, it could’ve happened regardless of the ad if the company was ranked organically. It is hard to tell whether or not the ad caused the conversion, so running A/B tests is the best way to go about this!

3. Searchers

You could be paying for searchers who click the ad but aren’t actually interested in purchasing the product. This will take up a lot of your advertising budget and you will be reaching people that you might not want to.

4. Traffic 

Paying for branded keywords takes traffic away from the organic listing. The SERP has 4 spots on the top of the SERP and pays for branded keywords. This can negatively impact you as even if your company has a good SEO strategy you might still fall below the fold.

This is a huge debate among digital marketers, it works for some businesses, but for others, it might not be necessary. Before automatically bidding on branded keywords, go through the pros and cons and see what is right for your brand! 


Paid search marketing and branded keywords work differently for every company, but knowing whether or not bidding on branded keywords is right for your company is the key. Starting a paid search ad by selecting the right keywords and informing the search engine of negative keywords is a great start, but moving on to understanding branded keywords will help your company stand out. 

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