We regularly do brand search tests for our clients via a Google search to see what pages are showing on the first page of search results. Doing searches like this is done to see if there are any negative listings on that first page of results.
During one of our searches for Hillside Law in Penticton BC, a client of ours, we discovered that a competitor of their’s was hijacking their business name for Google Adwords pay-per-click marketing. We’ve seen this done before to other clients of ours in a different industry. As far as we are concerned, this is a less than ethical means of getting clicks to a website via a competitor’s business name.
See the video below to see how we discovered it.
We did a search for “Hillside Law Penticton” in Google. Below is a screenshot of what appeared. We’ve highlighted the search term showing in AdWords.
Not only did they use the Hillside Law business name in their ad, but it also shows up above Hillside Law’s listing.
The way this is done in AdWords is as follows:
In Google AdWords, you add your competitor’s name as one of your keywords. (e.g. “Hillside Law”)
You set up your ad title to be a variable based on what someone is searching. So if someone is searching for “Hillside Law”, it shows up in the ad title.
When we did further research to see which business was doing this, we discovered that their competitor was using the Yellow Pages to manage their Google AdWords account. You would think that a company the size of the Yellow Pages wouldn’t lower themselves to this level to get business for their clients. What’s even worse is that they did it for a client in the legal field.
In our opinion, this is an unethical way to do pay-per-click marketing, and this is why we are letting everyone know what the Yellow Pages is doing. We have informed our client, and we will be reporting this to Google to have these ads taken down.
We encourage everyone to expose competitors who are using this practice, especially the Yellow Pages.