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is it legal to bid on competitor keywords

Is It Legal To Bid On Competitor Keywords?

Many advertisers over the years have asked, is it legal to bid on competitor keywords? The short answer is yes. As an advertiser in Google Ads, it is legal to bid on the brand names of your competitors.

There is no rule or law that prohibits you from bidding on competitors names. In fact, you’ll find that you already appear for some of them when you check your search terms report.

And you’ll appear for them especially if you’re using keyword match types like phrase and broad match keywords. So, even without bidding on competitor keywords you’re still likely to appear for them naturally as part of your keyword targeting.

However, there are times when you may actually want to add competitor keywords in your campaign and then set bids for them.

The best way to do that is to create a competitor ad group in your campaign and add all the competitor keywords that you want to target. And then you should create at least one Responsive search ad and add features and benefits that are closely related.

Some advertisers have tried to sue competitors that bid on their brand names but this has often not been successful. In fact, I’ve been invited some years ago to testify in such a case which collapsed because of the complexity of keyword bidding.

In fact, Google does not get involved in such litigations and does not restrict competitor keyword bidding.

However, if you’re going to bid on competitor keywords, don’t try to pass off as your competitor. And avoid using features like Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) which could end up including their names in your ads, which you should avoid doing.

Also, make sure you block any searches that include words like ‘login’, ‘phone number’ and so on because these are unlikely to convert. Many of them are for existing customers who are unlikely or unable to switch.

Here are some pros and cons to competitor keyword bidding:




1. Conversion rates are usually higher for competitor keywords
2. Average cost per click is usually much lower than other keyword types, especially those that relate to your products or services
3. Click through rates can be high for many competitor keywords
4. Capture customers who are at the decision phase and are willing and still able to look at alternative offers.
5. Some people think it’s unethical but if you consider that many competitor names are generic, it is inevitable that you will appear for their names. And so it is an advantage to appear for those keywords.




1. Obviously some competitors may be unhappy if you are appearing for their keywords but there is no way they can prevent your ads from appearing
2. Click volumes tend to be low and can be zero for some keywords



Competitor keyword bidding is an effective way for you to get quality leads or sales for your business. If you’re not already appearing for competitor keywords, then you should create an ad group in your campaign and target them. You will see better performance overall for your account and more profitability.


Get in Touch

Want to learn more about competitor keyword bidding and how to do it effectively? I’d be happy to help. I’m a Google Ads expert and freelance PPC consultant with over 13 years experience. Please use the contact form below to contact me.

    I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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