If you’re doing business on the web – generating leads, selling product or establishing an “authority” image – then you know the importance of generating relevant traffic.
And you know that search engines are a major source of relevant traffic. But unless you already own a well-known, top-of-mind company name, people don’t search for business names using Google, Yahoo or Bing. They use generic keywords to find the product or service they are researching or purchasing.
And the way you get recognized in a search engine is to be on their first page of results when people search for the keyword(s) that best describe their need or desire. Getting on the first page requires that you optimize your site by making it relevant using a host of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
Name as SEO component
A major characteristic of a web site for SEO is the domain name of the site. Thus, if your site’s domain name contains the keyword your prospects are using to find businesses relevant to yours, it stands to reason your position in the search engines will be higher than if your domain name does not include the searched keyword.
But keywords are usually descriptive and generic. And business names should not be descriptive and generic. Business names should be unique and memorable; at least businesses that aren’t exclusively web-based. So there’s the predicament: how do I have a relevant, searchable domain name and a unique, compelling business name?
Naming hierarchies answer the call
We are aware of the many companies that have multiple businesses and/or products. Each of those entities has a distinct name, and some of those brands will have products – line extensions – under them. Then many products will have branded characteristics or features as well. Within these companies a naming architecture, or hierarchy, has been established which brand managers adhere to when it’s time to name a new product, corporate division or, yes, a web site.
The answer to the dilemma of the domain vs business name is to treat the domain name as an association to the business brand. The domain name should be created with the major keyword as part of the name. The business has a more “people-appealing” name that differentiates and delivers a suggestion of the brand’s promise.
Real live example
You are reading a blog post at Business Naming Basics. I chose this name after doing my keyword research and found, not the most used keyword, but one I felt I could raise to the top of the Google rankings (first page). The site name and its contents are relevant to the search term.
But my business name is Signature Strategies. The company does create names for companies, and it also helps smaller businesses with brand strategy and management; graphic standards and trade dress; name, logo and tagline creation, and brand audits and positioning research. So naming is a subset of the business.
And because I derive much of my business from Internet contacts, I wanted a domain name that would attract relevant visitors to my web-site. Signature Strategies would not be that traffic-generator for the service of naming. Now I also have a Signature Strategies web site – www.signaturestrategies.com – where I also blog, but that site is not expected to get a lot of search engine traffic. Most of its visitors are folks who have read an article I’ve posted on the web, backlinks from other branding sites and my social networking activities.
Know what you’re naming and why
That’s the real message here. Before naming your business, or your web-site, or your product, or your new subsidiary, take the time to create a naming brief, one that gives you direction based on long-range goals and missions. This goes for anything you name in the future. It’s also a good idea to establish your brand architecture structure early on because if you don’t, in all likelihood you’ll have to backtrack – rename or rebrand parts of your business that tend to confuse customers and prospects.
So it’s best to begin with a brand platform (the structure that contains the brand hierarchy). You can find help in constructing the platform at Signature Strategies web-site. Then create a naming brief for each aspect of your business that needs a name, following the brand hierarchy you’ve already established.
Yes, there’s more to business naming than a brainstorming session and trademark search.