Sometimes, SEO doesn’t work out so well.
You join the army of SEOs to climb through the rankings, drive traffic, generate leads, and close deals.
You know that SEO is a top-of-funnel metric, but you’re prepared to cater to all of that traffic once it enters your website.
Day one doesn’t look so bad. Nothing happened to your rankings. But, after all, it’s only day one.
But then, day two and day three and day ten pass.
So what gives? Why does SEO work for some and not others?
Well, even though that feels like a compelling question to ask, it’s the wrong question.
The right question to ask is which SEO strategies work and which ones don’t?
And perhaps the most unexpected answer to that question comes down to your business name.
Have you ever thought of your business’s name as a way to climb your way into the SERP?
Well, think again.
Why your brand name is a well of untapped SEO potential
When I talk about SEO, you probably think about things like backlinks, internal links, and domain authority.
Here’s what you don’t think about: The name of your business.
Unfortunately, however, your business’s name can make a massive difference in how quickly and easily you rank on SERPs.
With a business name that’s friendly to your target keywords, you’ll easily be top of the results. But with one that isn’t, you’ll be on page 15, 50, or 100.
Naturally, you don’t want to be that far down the line.
After all, you’re probably familiar with the importance of building out your SEO strategy as a part of your marketing strategy.
You know that the first position in Google search results has a 34% click-through rate.
And, if you’re like 66% of marketers, improving your SEO and growing your organic traffic is a top priority.
But it’s one thing for marketers to want to improve their SEO, it’s another thing to actually do it.
There is no shortage of Internet advice on improving your rankings by building links, using private IP addresses, and speeding up your website.
But one of the oft-missed parts of SEO is the brand name that you choose to represent your business.
Believe it or not, the name of your business can make or break your SEO strategy.
And your SEO strategy is something you don’t want to break.
I know that because 67.66% of marketers check their SEO every single month.
In other words, marketers are wildly concerned with how their websites are ranking in Google.
But how do they measure their SEO failures or successes?
Two primary ways.
Their current search rankings.
In fact, 23.68% pay attention to search rankings and 25.93% listen to website traffic.
And it shouldn’t surprise you that website traffic is the number one measuring stick for SEO success.
After all, the entire purpose of SEO is to drive traffic and generate leads.
It’s a top-of-funnel strategy with a top-of-funnel gauge.
But, as you know, there are many different parts of SEO.
The on-page tactics and the off-page tactics both help to increase your rankings and generate traffic.
But on-page SEO takes the cake as the biggest priority among marketers.
Fortunately for all of you on-page SEO advocates, marketers claim that on-page SEO is the easiest to build out and the least time-consuming.
The side of on-page SEO that no one talks about, however, is your business’s name and how that can greatly influence your rankings.
Later, I’m going to give you three tips to choose the right brand name for SEO purposes.
But first, I want to show you why this is so important.
Why, in the end, is SEO so important for your business?
To answer that question, consider that 81% of businesses consider their blogs to be vital for their overall business.
And the cost of inbound leads is 61% lower than the cost of outbound leads.
In other words, SEO is cheaper and more effective than most other advertising methods.
And 90% of searchers don’t go past the first page of results.
That means if you don’t land on the first page, you can say, “Hasta la vista” to any potential leads.
Now, you understand the importance of SEO.
But, more importantly, you understand how your chosen brand name can make a difference in how you rank in search engines.
With a brand name that is unique, memorable, and keyword-focused, you might just rank among the giants of SEO with far less work.
So how do you choose a name that is unique, memorable, and full of SEO juice?
Well, that’s easier said than done.
So here are the details of how you’re going to pull it off.
1. Make it unique
There are plenty of great brand names out there in the digital world.
Dropbox, Google, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are just a few of the winners.
But despite the success of those brands and their associated names, you don’t want to try to copy them.
The last thing you want to do is use a business name like Boxdrop, Oogle, Ditred, or Bookface.
Doing so will not only cause potential trademark infringements, it will hurt your business’s trust and make your website look spammy to consumers.
Clearly, that’s not a recipe for success.
Which is exactly why you want to choose a business name that is unique. The more unique it is, after all, the less competition you’ll have in the SERP.
Even though Google, Facebook and the like have great names, you don’t want to compete with them in the rankings, do you?
No, you don’t.
They would win, and you would lose.
So how do you choose a great name without copying someone else?
Well, have you ever considered why some actors change their names?
The answer is simple.
Actors change their names because some names are more compelling and attractive than others.
One name elicits sadness and another happiness. Similarly, one name can stick in your head while another just makes you forget it.
Names are powerful.
But they aren’t just powerful for attractiveness sake. They are powerful for SEO.
And you don’t want to compete with businesses that have similar names and are already well-established.
Wouldn’t you hate to accidentally create a business name so similar to someone else’s that you made your SEO journey far more difficult?
Of course you would.
Here’s an example of what that might look like. If I search for “the best vpn” in Google, both of these results come up.
I don’t know who came first, but these are two different businesses with eerily similar names.
The problem is that those similar names create unnecessary competition.
So unless you’re highly competitive and looking for a challenge, avoid this scenario at all costs.
But then, how can you make sure your name is unique?
Here’s an easy way to do so.
Go to Shopify’s business name generator to search for used and unused domain names.
Then, type in a word that you want your business name to include and click “Generate names.”
I typed in “Shoes.”
This is the screen you’ll see.
Basically, this is a list of available domain names with that word in the title.
No one else is using these names for their website, which should give you a pretty good idea of where the competition lies.
Choose one of the domain names from this list that appeals to you and that you think might be a fit for your business.
For my example, I’m choosing “Shoes Logic.”
Then, go to Google and search for that exact phrase.
Here’s what you’re looking for:
The number of results that came up with that search. The fewer results that the search has, the less competitive it will be when you’re trying to rank your website.
Then you want to glance through the URLs that populate in the results.
Make sure that there aren’t any similar domains to the one you’re looking to use.
You wouldn’t want to find URLs that say “shoelogic.com” or “logicalshoes.com” for instance.
If you find similar URLs, you’ll be facing additional competition for your brand name.
And the less competition you have to deal with, the better.
There’s already plenty of competition in the world of SEO. The last thing you need to do is make it harder for yourself.
So make sure you choose a brand name that is unique enough that no one else is using variations.
That way, when you try to rank for your brand name’s keywords, you’ll easily own the SERP.
But don’t get too ahead of yourself. You also need to check two other vital things before putting the stamp of approval on your business name.
2. Make it memorable
With a brand name that’s memorable, people can easily search for you and find you.
Because let’s be honest, remembering URLs can be a real pain.
You don’t just have to remember the name of the business, but you often have to remember whether the URL was .com, .io, .co, or some other server variation.
The solution for most consumers when they forget the URL is to type the brand’s name into Google.
Then, they click on the result that they believe is your business.
But imagine if you didn’t rank for your own brand name.
How bad would that be?
Or worse yet, imagine that people couldn’t even remember your brand name to search for it.
Clearly, you want to make your brand name memorable so people can easily find you when they’re looking for you.
There are three tried-and-true ways of doing this.
1. Use alliteration – Alliteration is simply choosing two words that start with the same sound. These phrases often roll off the tongue and are easy to remember.
Coca-Cola is one example of this.
So is Rolls Royce.
You have to admit. Both of those names are kind of fun to say.
But it’s more than that. They’re easy to remember.
Alliteration in your brand name is a great way to make sure people remember your business and the name of it when they’re looking for you in Google.
2. Choose a two-syllable name – Shorter domain names (and fewer syllables) have a direct correlation with ranking better in Google.
In other words, a shorter name is far better.
And that’s no surprise.
Think of Dropbox as an example.
Both of those names are two-syllables, and at least partly for that reason, they are easy to remember.
They also rank better in Google since they have smaller domain names.
Is there a correlation between shorter names and greater success?
3. Make it phonetic – The final way to make your brand name memorable so people can easily find you when they’re looking for you is by making your name completely phonetic.
What does that mean?
It means that your brand name sounds just like it’s spelled.
Google is quite phonetic, for example.
Having a phonetic brand name is important because people will need to translate the sound of your name into text.
And if they remember your name, but not how to spell it, they won’t have much luck finding you when they search for you.
Facebook is another example of a completely phonetic brand name.
It’s spelled just like it sounds.
There you have it. Those are the three secrets to making your brand name memorable.
Use an alliteration or cut it down to two syllables, but always make it phonetic.
When choosing a brand name, clarity is far more important than creativity.
You want people to remember your business so that they can search for you when they think of you.
You don’t want them to forget your name and not buy your product because they can’t remember the name of your business.
For that reason, choosing a memorable name is a must.
3. Check it for search juice
The last and most important step in your name-choosing journey is to choose a name with keywords that people are actually typing into Google.
You don’t want to choose a name only because it’s unique or memorable, but because it will directly help your SEO.
In other words, you want to make sure that your brand name has plenty of search juice associated with it.
And Moz’s Keyword Explorer makes it easier than ever to check.
Go to the tool and type in a business name you’re thinking about using.
I’m going to continue using my example from earlier: shoes logic.
Let’s imagine that I decided that name was unique and memorable enough.
Then, as a final step, I typed it into this tool.
Here’s what comes up.
As you can see, there’s a major problem with this brand name.
Practically no one is searching for it. The good news is that people who do search for it often click. But if no one is searching for “shoes logic,” those clicks don’t really matter as much.
So then I searched for the phrase “shoes for sale.”
That’s a bit better, but the problem here is that the difficulty level is kind of high.
And if I type in “shoes,” then the traffic rises even more, but so does the difficulty level.
Which means there’s a lot of traffic around the keyword “shoes,” but there’s also a lot of competition.
Ideally, you want to choose a name that has a decent amount of traffic and a small amount of competition.
Simply play around with the Keyword Explorer until you find a name.
Eventually, I typed in “sexy shoes” and found what a winner looks like.
Sure. It would be nice if the traffic was a bit higher, but the competition is so low that this name might just work.
Of course, before you commit, you’ll want to make sure that the name you choose is also unique and memorable before buying the domain.
But the trick is to find a business name that will help your SEO because people are already typing the words into Google.
And if you’re the first person to create a domain name around those popular keywords, you’ll have an even better chance of ranking in those searches.
No one ever said that SEO would be easy.
Or if they did, they lied.
The reality is that SEO is challenging enough without you throwing in unnecessary hurdles to jump.
One of those hurdles you might stumble across is choosing a cruddy brand name for your business.
Ideally, you’ll want to choose a brand name that is unique, memorable, and that’s in line with the keywords of the market you want to target.
Then, you’ll be able to climb through the rankings easier.
And your bottom line?
Well, let’s just say your traffic, lead, and revenue generation will increase, just for the cost of a name change.
Not bad, huh?
How do you leverage your brand name to climb through the rankings?
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