Quality Score

We’d all like to know Google’s secret formula to quality score and showing up in preferred ad positions. While I unfortunately don’t possess knowledge on the entire algorithm, it is known that click-through-rate (CTR) plays a significant role. Branded terms are naturally going to have a higher CTR, because searchers are specifically looking for you. This higher CTR translates into a better quality score, which leads to better ad positioning and lower cost-per-clicks (CPCs).


Organic Vs. Paid


The age old debate…not really as Google has only been around since 1998. However, it is fair to say that in less than 20 years, Google has made paid ads look conspicuously like organic listings; they practically just flow together. In fact, 50% of the population doesn’t even know the difference between paid and organic search results1. Regardless, you want every profitable click you can get. Whether you rank organically or not, showing up in the paid section gains you that much more visibility, increasing your chance for a click and ultimately a conversion.


While we’re on the topic, there are two theories that need to be dispelled:

  1. Paying for clicks- There is one click to be had for each search in Google. Just one. What matters is whether you get the click or not…NOT if you are paying for it or not.

  2. SEO is free-Organic clicks are not free. SEO work is time consuming, slow to show results and very expensive to do right.


Hard truth: Nothing in this world is free my friends.


The Power of Doubling-Up

What if you had the opportunity to have twice the amount of exposure for your business at a very marginal cost? By marginal cost I mean branded terms typically have a 2-5% cost of sales, vs 15-40% for more general terms. You’d take it right? If you show up for your branded terms organically, and you have a paid search presence, you are now taking up twice the real estate on the search page. Let’s be honest, there is a very finite amount of space, and the more you can take, the better.


When consumers see both paid and organic search listings, they become more familiar with the brand. The more places your brand appears, and the more often it appears, the more likely consumers start to get to know you and become familiar with you. As a result, they start to think more highly of you. In a study done by Wayne D. Hoyer and Steven P. Brown of the University of Chicago2, they found three things about brand awareness:

  • Brand awareness is used by new consumers when faced with a new decision.

  • If a consumer is aware of one brand, they generally choose fewer others to try.

  • Consumers who are aware of one brand and given a choice, even if it’s lower quality, choose the brand they know over the others.


When you bid on your branded terms, you are not bidding against yourself (or your wallet). You are bidding to get clicks. By ensuring your company gets the most space possible, you are most likely to get the clicks.


Google does not discriminate as to who can bid on what. By not bidding on your own brand terms, you are exposing yourself to your competitors, allowing them to swoop in and do so. As we learned above, some people have the preference of clicking on paid search ads. Whether you are number one in the organic listings or not, some people may never make it there. In essence, you are handing your business to your competitors. Capitalize on those top ad positions and low CPCs to convert at a very low cost-per-sale.



I saved the best for last. You’re probably wondering how bidding on your own brand produces growth. Your branded terms are often the most effective keyword in terms of both cost and volume. Google did a study on this topic. They found that on average across all verticals, 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when those ads are paused.3 The study shows that by leveraging both your branded and non-branded terms, you’ll improve your competitive position while increasing your bottom line.


Our priority here at Finch is to grow our clients’ bottom line.

Interested in learning more about how to grow your business? Contact Finch today, and see what we can do for you!



  1. http://varn.co.uk/02/29/varn-original-research-50-of-people-dont-know-which-are-the-paid-ads-on-google/

  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/24098643_Effects_of_Brand_Awareness_on_Choice_for_a_Common_Repeat-Purchase_Product

  3. https://research.googleblog.com/2011/07/studies-show-search-ads-drive-89.html


  1. http://www.does-the-product-work.com/when-free-is-not-free/

  2. http://www.aboundlessworld.com/how-to-adopt-a-growth-mindset/

  3. http://thenextweb.com/dd/2014/09/03/8-tips-measuring-e-commerce-ad-campaigns/#gref