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Brand Bidding Techniques: Smart Ways To Use Typos & URLs As Keywords

Finding the right mix of keywords is as much science as it is good common sense. When it comes to your brand, there are typo and URL derivation techniques that you should consider as part of your overall brand bidding strategy, even when the science (search volumes) appear too low to matter.

Typos as keywords

Most of our clients are well aware that using typo variations of their brand name as keywords is important, but, often typo use doesn’t go deep enough.

Think about two types of keywords that include your brand:

  • Stand-alone brands as keywords like “BarnesandNoble,” “WalMart,” “Target” or “Amazon”
  • Phrases that contain your brand like “Wifi at Barnes and Noble” or “Deals at Walmart.”

Both varieties are worthy of extensive typo derivations. The more words in your phrase the harder this exercise becomes, which is where common sense kicks in. Here are a few common things to look for:

  • Letters next to each other on the keyboard are often either replaced or wind up being typed together like “baenes and boble” or “barnmes and noble”
  • Fast fingered consumers often leave out spaces in between words, so consider variations with and without spaces between multiple words
  • The last letter of the last word in a keyword phrase is often omitted “deals at WalMar,” and sometimes the first letter is as well (“eals at Amazon”)(
  • Words that are difficult to spell, or may have likely misspellings such as “Nobel” vs “Noble” are common and should be considered in your keyword mix.

When developing typo variations, don’t stop at just your stand-alone brand names—include typo variations in keywords containing phrases as well.

URLs as keywords

I frequently notice that brand bidders overlook the use of keywords structured as URLs. You ought to incorporate URLs as keywords into your branding strategy, including, of course, typo variations. Here are some examples of recommended keyword derivations using the brand “Target.”

  • Target.com
  • www.target.com
  • www/target.com
  • ww.target.com
  • www target com

Why should you care about these variants? In a word, search volume. Searchers do enter complete, partial and typoed URLs into the search box. For example, here is the monthly average search volume on Google.com for variations of the “Target” brand. While the main brand does get the majority of searches compared to the URL derivations, there’s still some pretty meaningful search volume attributed to the URL derivations:


Search Volume (Google.com)
Target 20,400,000
Target.com 1,830,000
www.Target.com 301,000

Another good reason for you to bid on these variations is that you can bet your affiliates and competitors are, even if you aren’t. If you aren’t there, then you have relinquished at least some of your brand bidding to them.

If you aren’t thorough in where your ads appear, you can bet your competition is taking advantage of those overlooked opportunities. If nothing else, even if the traffic volume is too low to make it on your radar as a meaningful metric, you can’t afford to be absent if your competitors’ paid ads are showing up on any search that includes your brand name.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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