How to Choose a Business Name That’s SEO Friendly
Choosing a business name is really tough. Coming up with a good name takes time and maybe a couple thousand dollars if you hire a branding consultant.
I’ve worked with branding consultants, worked as a branding consultant and named many different companies and products over the past few years.
No matter what naming route you chose the one thing to keep in mind is the importance of SEO when naming your business.
Why Your Business Name Matters for SEO
In order to have a site that’s search engine optimized, you need to pay attention to a few key areas.
- Your URLs
- Your Page Titles
- Your Meta-descriptions
- Your Headers
- Your Site Copy
Notice anything there? URL’s are the first thing Google looks to when finding a keyword for your website. So for example you offer “yoga instruction in San Francisco” but your business name is “Carly Om Delivered” or www.carlyyomdelivered.com. While “Om Delivered” is a cute phrase for a yoga brand, it will not help you rank in search.
Meanwhile take a look at one of my clients. Kim Sin is simply “Kim Sin Yoga” or www.kimsinyoga.com. While she specializing in offering office yoga in San Francisco, she at least has yoga in her URL’s and then optimizes for office and corporate yoga throughout her site.
This has allowed her to rank on the first page of Google and grow her business year after year. You can learn more about Kim’s SEO success in this free case study.
If All Else is Equal the URL or Brand Name Will Win
I won’t go into all the details about on-site optimization and off-site optimization. To make a long story short, if you have a brand name with your top keyword included you’re in great shape. Take a look at another example with a company I used to work at.
A “Programming Bootcamp” is common term for a new type of school trains you to become a web developer in a few months. Dev Bootcamp ranks #3 when you search the generic product keyword, “programming bootcamp” and they don’t even have the word programming in the page title, URL or meta-description.
Meanwhile a competitor Coding Dojo, has the URL www.codingdojo.com. They show up #2 on Google when you search “coding bootcamp” because of their brand name. Dev Bootcamp is #9 even though the site has been around longer and has many more authoritative inbound links.
Some Tips When Developing a New Business Name and Picking a URL
- Keep it simple – If your customer has to think about what the name means or you have to explain it to then, it’s probably not a very good name. Sure it should be unique, but don’t let uniqueness stand in the way of common sense. Acronyms, misspellings, and made up words can be used as a last resort, but are not the best for SEO.
- Use your customer’s language, not yours – Many companies make up their own language to describe products and services. For example Kim Sin used to talk about her “corporate yoga” clients. While we initially optimized her site for corporate, the reality is that her customers were searching for office yoga. Calling a a startup in San Francisco (her customers) “corporate” might even be taken as an insult.
- Buy a separate keyword focused URL that’s not your business name – Let’s say you inherit a business with a name like “Roter Rooter” which is a plumbing company in Australia. You can always buy another URL like www.topaustralianplumbers.com and re-direct traffic to your Roter Rooter site from there.
- Be sure to get the .com domain – there’s been a trend in startups recently to be URL’s such .ly or .io. This may be cute for a startup to have web.ly, but it will not help your small business rank in search. For example .ly is actually the country code for Libya. That’s great if you want to rank for web in Libya, but terrible if you want to sell websites in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Optimize your interior pages – so you’ve already got a killer brand name and website that doesn’t include your product keyword, that’s okay. One of the best ways to get around that is to add the product keyword to the URL’s of your interior pages. For example www.roterrooter.com/australian-plumbers might be the page that describes your service. While it’s great to have those keywords in your home domain, it’s okay to settle for the other part of the URL
Having an issue naming your business? Drop me a line and let’s see if we can come up with something. Happy branding!