Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Can You Use Competitors as Keywords?

There has been some talk about using brand terms as keywords in SEO (search engine optimization). To date, the SEO industry is still divided on the issue even though the practice is common in the U.S.

This is a tightrope that can snap at any time. The Federal Trade Commission has regulations for mentioning other brands for the sake of comparing them with the brand in question. Some brand operators are willing to take the risk of violating trademark policies for a broader presence in the search results.

If you’re still confident about taking the risk, it’s important to get an idea of what constitutes as a trademark. The ™ or ® symbols on designs and names is the focus of this long-standing issue with keyword optimization. However, the ™ symbol carries less legal repercussions than the ® symbol since the former refers to an unregistered trademark.

Nevertheless, Google allows competitor brand terms to be used by competitors as long as they don’t include trademark terms. This especially applies to ads where Google may prevent the ad from showing because of trademark violations. One good way of averting the effects of this SEO issue is to go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office online and search for trademarked terms.

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