Ask An SEO: A Competitor is Running AdWords With…
Q:(actual names are changed) Recently when searching on Google, I noticed that the Waldville school is coming up in the results when you search for our school’s name, Waffen School LA. People already confuse our two schools and this is only making matters worse! A friend told me they are paying for this. Can I stop it?
A: Your friend is correct. The Waldville school is advertising in Google when people search for your name, “waffen school LA”.
The Waldville school may not be doing this on purpose. It’s very possible they are doing what’s called a broad match in AdWords and matching the term “school LA” and this is just getting picked up by accident.
Google allows competitors to bid on each other’s names, so you can’t stop an ad for someone else from showing up when people search for your name. In fact, this is something we often recommend for our niche B2B clients.However, Google does not allow competitors to include your trademarked name in their ad. In this case, Waldville school is including your name in their ad (the headline of their ad reads: “Waldville School – Waffen school LA”). It is very likely that the headline is being dynamically generated and it is not something that was manually entered by them.
There are a couple of ways to approach this. You could complain to Google about Waldville school using your name in their ad. Because it goes against Google’s editorial guidelines, this would probably result in the ad being suspended and likely revised.
It might be simpler and more effective to write directly to the Waldville school, because this is most likely happening by accident. Let them know that their ad is going against Google guidelines and is also confusing. Ask them to exclude searches containing the word Waffen. They can do this by negative matching the term “waffen” in their AdWords system.