Google inadvertently designed a great tool for finding candidates for business names. It was the Google Keyword Tool, originally introduced to help advertisers find the most used search keywords – or the least competitive keywords – for their pay-per-click campaigns. It was also used by webmasters to perform search engine optimization so their sites could work further up toward the coveted number one position when people searched for specific “long tail” keywords.
Namers used it to expand their lists of name candidates because you could set the tool so that only keywords relevant to the main topic supplied by the namer would show up in the responses.
Anyway, Google is retiring this tool and replacing it with one that performs many of the same functions. It’s called Keyword Planner. I anticipate it will also be helpful in generating relevant name candidates.
On to Google Plus and Drive
But there’s another way Google has, perhaps inadvertently, provided a source of relevant name candidates. With this “underground” tool you can enter three or four names from a specific category – dog breeds for instance – and generate a quite comprehensive list of dog breeds.
The tool is available to Google Plus members. Once you log into your account you’ll see a menu bar at the top of the page. The selection you want is labeled “Drive”. (I have no idea they named it Drive.) It leads you to the set of productivity tools Google operates from the Cloud. Click on the spreadsheet icon.
Once on the spread sheet, just type three or four words from the category you wish to expand – just like the top photo on the left. Then comes the tricky part. You run your mouse over the cells containing your words while pressing the “Control” key. Release both keys and you’ll see that a small square appears at the bottom of your selection. Carefully use your mouse to select that square. The curser becomes a cross. Then simultaneously scroll down the column while holding down the “Control” key until you’ve selected 10 to 20 cells. Then release the Control key and there will majically appear 10 to 20 additional dog breeds to add to your list of name candidates.
As I’ve stated here quite often, the key, or at least one of the keys, to successful naming is to generate a whole passel of candidates from many sources. I will normally use four or five books (yes, I’m very old fashioned) as well as the many websites and web tools available to me. I’ll even use those next-to-useless name generators that abound on the Internet. The point being the more candidates you generate, the more those candidates lead you to other, more inspired candidates.
Anyway, today I’ll just thank Google for yet another naming tool it didn’t know it spawned.