Choosing the Right Business Name – from an Internet Marketing Perspective

What’s in a name?  Frankly, a LOT.  Any marketing and branding agency can go through the important details of naming a new business or one that is renaming from a brand perspective.  It’s fascinating how business naming research is performed, tested and consumer analysis is created – in fact I totally respect it.  However (and this is important), it is essential that this research is embodied from an Internet Marketing perspective.

Here’s how to protect yourself from online blindness when naming your business:

#1 – Make sure the domain name is available or easy to acquire ahead of time.  Domain names, i.e. www.yourbusiness.com are the life force of branding online.  Your domain availability should include these principles:

  1. You can “see it, spell it.”  In other words, it’s simple whatsinanameenough to resonate without a lot of possibility for misspellings.
  2. Determine that most or all extensions are available.  Everyone thinks of the ‘.com’ but it’s important to grab the important extensions (.net, .org, .us, etc.).  If you’re a larger organization – grab as many as you can.  Brand hijacking – by your competition buying those domains is not a pleasant situation to find yourself in.
  3. Misspellings are available.  If there is a possibility of misspelling your domain name, grab all the necessary misspellings too.  A random example would be:  www.smithswarehouse.com – be sure to grab www.smithwarehouse.com and www.smithswearhouse.com.
  4. Moderate length.  We get the question, “Is my domain too long?” quite a bit actually.  With domain names at a premium these days, it’s more important to “see it, spell it” than it is to keep it short.  Moderate length of the domain is okay as long as it’s not overwhelming.
  5. Domain names (i.e. business names) with search specific keywords have a double advantage.  Although sometimes this is not practical, it is helpful.

#2 – Evaluate the competitive landscape of your business name online.  If it’s competitive, be prepared to have the resources necessary (time and money) to effectively launch an SEO campaign early.  Here are some basic things to check when evaluating the competitiveness of your keyword phrases:

  1. Review the total number of Google results for your prospective business name.  (As a very general rule of thumb – If it’s less than a total 250,000 results, and incorporate SEO from the beginning, you’ll be golden).  Any words results over 1 Million – plan ahead for potentially robust ongoing SEO resources.
  2. Review PPC bids for your phrase, amount of PPC ads.  You can use Google’s AdWords tool to evaluate the average bid amount for your business name.  Anywhere over $1.00 per click mark may get expensive and is an indicator for the need of a moderately or severely competitive SEO marketplace.
  3. Evaluate the number of links/number of pages indexed of top results for your keyword phrases using tools such as the: Bruce Clay Toolbar, SEO Book , Yahoo Site Explorer.  Plan on acquiring the same amount of links and pages of content indexed as the other top 10 listings.  If this will take significant effort, that may be an indicator for a competitive marketplace.
  4. Evaluate whether you business name of choice has associations outside of your category.  For example, a recent organization named their business the same name as a popular TV show – their rankings were buried at onset outside of local specific searches.whatsinaname-google

#3 – Check to see if your Social Media profiles are available.  Social media is essential for business marketing in most all cases, so double check to see if your profiles/usernames are available.  The big three would be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – but that’s just a start.  Social media profiles, such as:  www.facebook.com/smartsolutions or www.twitter.com/smartsolutions are just as powerful, and just as limited, as domain names.  Check profiles using www.knowem.com.

As you can see, there are many factors to determining a valid, compelling business name at the onset.  Along with your branding, marketing research efforts – don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you get out of the gate by not reviewing the online marketplace of your potential business name F-I-R-S-T.

We welcome comments on example stories – please post!

By: Wendy Roe

11 responses to “Choosing the Right Business Name – from an Internet Marketing Perspective”

  1. Eric writes:

    Great advice! I’m currently thinking about renaming my business in order to obtain a fitting .com as it is currently a .org (studiosevenproductions.org). Interestingly the studioseven.com domain owner contacted me around this same time to let me know he’s selling the name. However, it is a very common name and I have found that there are companies with the same name in nearly every major city.

    So if I’m reading this blog correctly even though studioseven.com is nice and short, I’d probably be better off skipping the offer and finding a less common name so that I would have less competition for top billing on searches. Does that sound right?

  2. Cheryl McIntosh writes:

    Great post Wendy. Beginning the naming process with SEO in the forefront of your mind saves time and money by eliminating the typical rabbit trails of the process. Understanding in advance what strengthens or dilutes a name’s online viability narrows the focus of your thinking and allows you to rule out those tempting generic solutions that leave your name lost in a sea of competing domains.

    Studio Absolute recently went through the naming process with an architectural and development firm that specializes in senior housing. The firm’s brand was built with an emphasis on cultivating meaningful, lasting relationships and demonstrating a heart for their end client – the senior.

    We began the process with key words that spoke to the essence of the brand and from there, we developed a long list of all the possible names that we could think of. Even in the initial stages of this brainstorming process, we ruled out names that would fail on the SEO front.

    In our presentation, we delivered the keywords, the long list of names, and our top picks out of over 100 options. The moment of truth came when the firm was torn between two naming alternatives: Lenity Group, and a name based on the commonly used word, “Adept.” Lenity is a much less frequently used word used to describe the quality of caring and empathy. It is actually the root word of “lenient.”

    Adept is a short, succinct, and easy to remember word that perfectly describes the firm’s approach to every new project. However, it’s an “A” word, so being top of the alphabetical list, it’s in high demand. “Adept” is also a reoccurring word in the thesaurus under the common theme of “ability” which, of course, every company ever founded wants to boast. We Googled the word “Adept” and turned up 9,500,000 results. This is in stark contrast to the 408,008 results that appeared for “Lenity.”

    Our client is now officially the Lenity Group and enjoys an uncluttered presence on the World Wide Web. Yet, even as I write this, I’m like the new parent hoping I don’t start a naming trend and witness an outcropping of Lenity XYZies!

    Cheryl McIntosh
    cheryl@studioabsolute.com | http://www.studioabsolute.com

  3. Andrew Gerber writes:

    I fully agree that the procedure of choosing the right business name lays in a basis of internet marketing stategy. Make sure that it will play a very important role for the further development of your business.

  4. Smart Solutions writes:

    Thanks for everyone’s posts and examples – great comments! Eric, you’re correct that from an internet marketing perspective studioseven.com is quite popular and you would be facing some competition online for those phrases. If you’re going after local only though – ‘studio seven bend oregon’ that’s a different possibility too. There’s a lot of factors to consider when naming but you’re correct that this post brings the attention to the competition that you would face if ‘studio seven’ was typed into Google and you expected to be #1. Hope that helps 🙂

  5. internet marketing expert writes:

    Good post. A domain name with your company name in it is good for branding purposes. But if you are trying to get more search traffic, then a keyword based domain name will be more appropriate.

  6. Brooks More writes:

    Good headlines… Very interesting post. On the other hand, good copywriters are very well considerated because they achieve very good results. For exemple, a good headline can make that much more people read your post.

  7. Joseph Wright writes:

    Which one do you think is much better? E-mail Marketing or Pay Per Click Advertising. I have tried using both E-mail marketing and PPC Advertising to advertise my` products and both seems to do equally well.

  8. Kaleigh Zeiner writes:

    i am a newbie in Search Engine Optimization but i think that the submission of articles in article directories is one of the best ways to gain backlinks. :

  9. Sophia Harrison writes:

    Can anyone suggest a very good seo book?~.”

  10. Corey Toler writes:

    Well, This is really the tips that any internet marketer need to understand when beginning their business on the internet.Huge amount of people weren’t successful simple because they chased the silver bullet instead of reading posts like this .

  11. Internet Business writes:

    Hello! I want to say that this action choosing the right name of the company puts at the basis of Internet marketing and luxury. Make sure that he will play a very important role to further develop your business.