Using AdWords to drive Competitors’ Traffic to Your Site

Are you an established, well-known sales person or service provider who relies on the Internet for a good deal of your inquiries? If you are, your client base could be in jeopardy. If you’re an up and coming sales person, you’ll want to read this article as much as your well-known competitor.

Recently, I received a call from a local real estate professional; we’ll call her Mary. She’s done business in the area for over 30 years. Mary was concerned because her web hits had dropped substantially in the last couple of months, and she asked me if I could review her website to see if there was a problem. I’m not a web developer, but I’ve written keyword content for Mary’s site, and I’ve known her for years.

After realizing that I didn’t have her URL, I did a Google search for her name, and to my surprise, a different salesperson’s website appeared; we’ll call her Jane. I reviewed Jane’s keywords to see if my client’s name was being used there. No. Then I remembered using Google’s Adwords last year for my own promotion.

AdWords are one of Google’s Internet advertising programs. In this program, you can be in the top list of results when people are actively looking for information about your—-or your competitors’--products and services online. By creating a list of search terms, such as “Mary Smith,” Google’s AdWords will direct traffic to you every time that phrase is searched and clicked on Google. With AdWords' “cost-per-click” pricing, you pay only when people click your ad.

It was immediately clear that Jane was using Mary’s name in her AdWords list. Because Jane’s site appeared at the top, as a paid advertiser, my suspicions were nearly confirmed. A pleasant call to Jane’s webmaster sealed the deal.

If you’re an established salesperson or service provider who is known by name, do yourself a favor and search for your name on Google and Yahoo. If you’re a member of a local board, such as a Board of Realtors, you can report using this type of AdWords advertising as unethical, not that it necessarily is. What do you think? I invite comments.

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