How to Keep Competitors Out of Your Search Results

Search for your business online right now. Is your business the top search result? Hopefully you are, but what if your competitor is showing in the top ranking ad position? Fear not, we are here to help make sure you rank first for your branded searches. (If you want to learn how to bid on competitor keywords for their branded searches click here). 

What are Branded Searches?

First, let’s clarify what branded searches are. Imagine your business is called Water Bottle Warehouse. Your branded searches could include terms like “”, “water bottle warehouse”, “wbw”, “bottle warehouse” and any other variation of your name that customers use to search for you. Ideally when a user searches for one of these variations, your ad or your site is the first to appear. 

How to Keep Competitors Out of Your Search Results - What Are Branded Searches?

However, this isn’t always the case. It might turn out that when you search “water bottle warehouse”, an ad for your competitor The Thermos Factory shows up first. But how did they do it? How do you stop them? Are they even allowed to show up first for your brand name? 

How Did My Competitors Outrank Me on Google?

They outbid you for your branded searches. You might not have updated bids for these terms in awhile or maybe their terms are already bid at an efficient level, and don’t warrant more spend. Either way, The Thermos Factory was able to surpass you in ad rank and display on your branded traffic. 

How to Keep Competitors Out of Your Search Results - How Did My Competitors Out-rank Me On Google

Can I Stop Competitors Bidding on My Brand?

There are two approaches. 1)You can raise bids and outbid them for your branded searches, but be careful that you don’t overspend on traffic. 2) You can choose not to worry about it for the time being. Simply seeing a competitor’s ad on your branded search doesn’t mean customers will automatically switch brands. Consider the brand loyalty of your customers and your average order value (AOV) when determining how high to set your bids for branded terms.

Are My Competitors Allowed to Show Up First On My Branded Terms?

Yes, bidding on your competitors’ branded terms is fair game, but with one caveat —they cannot add your brand name in the headline or text. For example, The Thermos Factory can’t make their headline “We Are Better Than Water Bottle Warehouse”, but they can make their headline “We Are Better Than Them”. They also can’t use any of your trademarked phrases anywhere in their ad copy. Want to learn how to rank first on your competitors branded searches? Check out our article here. 

How to Keep Competitors Out of Your Search Results - Our My Competitors Allowed to Show Up First on My Branded Searches

When to Worry About Search Results

If a user is searching for your brand, then they are likely already familiar with your product to some extent. However, if you’re getting regularly outbid by a random competitor for a user who previously converted through PLAs or Paid Social, that’s a potentially missed opportunity. You could lose a more valuable customer who already knows and possibly likes your product. 

In order to stop this from happening, make sure you frequently check your branded searches and stay on top of your bids for your own branded terms. Omnitail analysts regularly monitor branded terms for our clients and have a lot of familiarity with best practices for branded campaigns. If you’d like us to analyze your account and make suggestions for improvement, you can contact an analyst here. 


Callum is an SEM Analyst at Omnitail and a graduate of North Carolina State University. Callum received his degree in marketing with a minor in Spanish. Working at Omnitail is a pleasure for him and it is extremely rewarding to see his work help clients improve their business through paid search.

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