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Before You Name Your Company, Consider How Google Will Rank It

February 20, 2012  
Naming a company or a product used to involve a number of factors—none of which related to SEO considerations. But no longer. "It doesn't matter whether your brand is online or not, "[I]t will be googled, " says Ann Smarty in an article at MarketingProfs.

"So, before you choose your brand name, you should understand ... three major facts about how Google rates and ranks personal and business names," she advises.

Here are the big three:

Some search results are 'obvious.' Google interprets queries in one of three ways: dominant, common, and minor interpretations. Type "Apple" into the search box and you'll quickly learn about dominant interpretations. Most people want information about the computer company, and your "Apple Vacations" agency stands zero chance of getting onto the first page of results. "You don't want to start a business to later find out there's no way to rank in the top 10 results for your own business name," Smarty notes.

'Generally known' does not mean 'obvious' (or 'dominant'). If we were playing word association and you said "Armstrong," we would probably say "Lance" or "Neil." But Google tends to favor brands, and gives most of the first page to the less obvious flooring company. "When no dominant interpretation exists for a keyword," Smarty explains, "getting ranked in most SERPs is easier than you might think. All you need is to build a strong brand name."

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  • by Devon Thomas Treadwell Thu Mar 1, 2012 via web

    Strong, distinctive brand names naturally fare well in search engine results. The key is to choose a name that is unlike any other in the industry. Then optimize your site around industry keywords.

    Google these two examples:

    KEYWORDS: american fence

    When entered as a search term, the generic name "American Fence" returns a bewildering array of similarly named companies.

    By contrast, a name that's unique in its category stands out in search results.

    KEYWORDS: goldzilla retriever

    Here, Goldzilla dominates the Google results page. This is a fundraising event by a nonprofit organization that did not put a single dollar into search engine optimization. Yet because of the distinctiveness of the event's brand name, they're getting fantastic SEO results.

    Just remember that in addition to distinctiveness, your brand name should also allude to a brand promise. Though a name that's "different for the sake of being different" might do well in SEO, it will be weak as a brand name overall if it fails to communicate something about your brand message.

    Devon Thomas Treadwell
    Pollywog, a Naming & Branding Agency

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