How to Optimize a Brand Name for Search Engines
Creating a brand name can be tough, and it’s even tougher to come up with one that’s friendly for search engines. Obviously, when someone searches for your brand, you want your site and your products to come up first, but perhaps more importantly, you want to ensure that search engines see your brand name often and imbue it with authority so you rank higher for relevant searches.
Optimizing a brand name for search engines takes time and a lot of upfront work if you’re coming up with a new name or renaming an older product. The majority of the advice in this article will focus on a “brand name” as the name of your company or organization, but keep in mind that the same strategies can be applied to the branded name of a particular product or service to achieve the same ends.
That being said, take a look at the ways you can create a search-friendly brand name and populate that brand name in authority-rich ways around the web.
Creating a Unique Brand Name
First, your goal is to create a brand name that is both memorable and unique. The “unique” factor of the equation is important because it differentiates you from the competition. If you have a slightly modified version of a competitor’s brand name, your potential traffic could become confused if they see both in the SERPs, or even worse—mistake your competitor for you in a more general sense. The “memorable” factor is important to encourage more searches in general—for example, if someone hears your name from a friend and makes a note to search for you later, you’ll want to be sure your name is memorable enough to stick around.
For the sake of illustration, imagine a company with the name “Qwoxillyyon.” It’s definitely a unique name, but it’s also not memorable because it’s not catchy. On the other end of the spectrum, a name like “VitaSupps” is more memorable, but it’s not unique—it’s pieced together from names of existing companies in the supplement industry. The key here is to find a balance between those two qualities.
Don’t rush into your brand decision; this name is likely what you’re going to be stuck with for a long time, so spend some time really perfecting it.
Associating the Name With Your Industry
In addition to crafting a brand name that’s both memorable and unique, you’ll want to include some keywords, phrases, or even chains of letters that are related to your industry. Barring that, you’ll want to come up with a tagline or slogan for your brand that clearly defines what you do. There are two major search-related motivations for doing this. First, including industry-based language will make your brand more likely to appear in industry-related searches. Second, incoming searchers who see your brand name and/or tagline in search results will be more likely to click on your link and understand exactly what it is you do.
If you’re stuck on trying to figure out exactly what type of keywords to include, run an exercise that can help you determine the strongest possible identifying words in your industry. Forget about your brand for a second, and just work with your team to come up with a list of seven to ten words that most succinctly describe or are most associated with your business or line of work. See if you can work at least two of those words into your brand name, or the tagline associated with it. Doing so will increase your brand’s relevance to the industry and attract more total search traffic to your site.
Once you have your brand name and tagline finalized, you’ll have to find ways to work it into your website in a way that maximizes your chances of getting shown. In your title tags, the first few words should be the most important and most descriptive—so here, you’ll want to include the title of your business or a description of your space. Do include your brand name, but try to include it closer to the end, perhaps segmented off with a vertical bar (|). Throughout the body copy of your site, make references to your brand in text and in the context of descriptions of who you are and what you do. Google will semantically learn to associate your brand with whatever type of terms and subjects you include it with.
As an ongoing process, include references to your brand on offsite sources. Google sees brand mentions in a way highly similar to the way it views offsite links—but with a much lower chance of getting penalized if you appear spammy. Post mentions of your brand in the context of relevant, appropriate responses on industry-related blogs and forums, as well as major publishing outlets, news sources, and .edu/.gov sources whenever you get a chance. Just be sure to stay consistent in your efforts and diversify your sources.
As with any search optimization strategy, the upfront work is important, but the true value only comes through an ongoing process of dedication, refinement, and improvement. The more time you invest into making your brand name strong and visible on the web, the more results you’re going to see. In short order, you’ll be dominating any searches related to your brand name directly, and in time, your brand name will help you rank higher for even searchesperipherally related to your industry.
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