Choosing an SEO Friendly Startup Name & A Guide for Those That Stuffed Up

June 25, 2019
Tim Dorrian

A few days ago I spent the evening at the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator demo night - and saw all manner of excellent business models and presentations - the future of NZ's Fintech is very bright indeed.

However, within these businesses, I noticed a bit of a trend...

When I went to find them online, I, of course, Googled them - and found that many of these Startups weren't ranking for their own brand name. For businesses that are only 12 weeks old, this isn't the end of the world, but...

We see this all the time in the world of SEO.

Often, it's established businesses that are experiencing this problem.

And this is a problem.

Google is the main way people interact with the web, and if you're not ranking first in the results for your brand name - many people abandon the search and miss out on becoming your customer.

A little known SEO secret is that for most websites ~90% of their organic traffic is from Brand related searches.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing either.

Brand searches are a great indicator of things like:

  • Word of Mouth - people are talking about your business - hell yeah! 👍🏽
  • Traditional Advertising - radio, TV, newspapers & any other untrackable marketing paying dividends.
  • Brand Awareness - any above the line/top of funnel marketing - that's getting your business name in front of more people.
  • Repeat Customers - visitors coming back for more.
  • High Intent Research - especially for longer decision-making purchases (B2B businesses, take note).

It's important to note that nearly all forms of marketing lead to someone making a Google search. Way more people search your name than enter your URL - it's just easier, with fewer chances for stuffing up.

But how do we choose a brand name that's good for SEO?

Well, it all comes down to a couple of key factors:

1. Search Competition

Choosing a business name similar to a popular movie, song, artist, or actor? How about a name that's really similar to a large international brand? Or a word that lots of people are looking for the definition for? Something that's in the encyclopedia or Wikipedia?

You're gonna have a bad time.

A good indicator of a competitive or difficult-to-rank-for name is if the knowledge pannel (that right-hand sidebar) is taken by information.

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When I first got started at Flatfish (now Tapi) - I had to fight tooth-and-nail to try and outrank that god-damn Flatfish knowledge panel.

What a mission.

Ideally, you want to try to find a name that there's not too much competition for - that means way less work trying to make it rank.

2. Easy To Spell

If there's one thing I've learnt from my time doing SEO, it's that people suck at spelling.

Make your business name really easy to spell & remember.

Test your new name on a few people, get them to try and spell it - do they get it right? Or not?

Also, side note - make it easy to pronounce too - people are much more likely to talk about and search for a business they can pronounce than one they can't.

3. Relevant

Try to sneak a keyword into your name. Something that explains the product/service you offer. And you don't need to get too tricky here.

Plumbers had this sorted years ago, with every plumbing business called Bruce's Plumbing, Smith Plumbers or some close variant.

For Aro Digital we went one step further and used a location (Aro) as part of our name for additional location relevancy.

If you're from Wellington, you'd instantly recognise that Aro Digital is a Wellington-based digital company (and probably assume we're based in Aro Valley - whoops).


Bugger - I've Already Named My Business

If you've chosen a difficult name, what can you do? Well, it's not all doom and gloom.

Let's explore how we can get your business ranking for your ideal keywords:

1. Page Text

Having highly relevant text on your website will help it rank - especially your brand name.

A. Discover your keywords

  • Your brand name
  • Your main product / service search people would type in to find you
  • Use Keywords Everywhere / Ubersuggest to identify more keyword opportunities

B. Add your keywords to your site

  • Have lots of text on your home page ~300 words.
  • Mention keywords often ~7 times per keyword
  • Optimise your THUMB (Title, H1s, URLs, Meta Description, Body copy)
  • Add synonyms of keywords

For most businesses, the easiest win is improving your home page text - and adding more mentions of your business name onto your home page.

2. User Experience

Make your site fast and easy to use. Reduce the number of people bouncing back to Google.

A. Mobile Optimise your site

2. Speed up your site

  • Use Google PageSpeed to understand where the opportunities are for improving the speed of your site are.

3. Reduce the size of your images

  • Often large images are the main cause of a slow site - we often see websites loading 4mb images on the home page - no good!
  • Install CSS Peeper to Chrome, export the images on your site, see what needs to be reduced in size.
  • Max size should be around 150kb.

3. Measure your bounce rate in Google Analytics

  • Bounce rate is a great indicator of user experience
  • Aim for a maximum bounce rate of 50-60%

3. Links to Site

Get high quality links to website to increase the authority / trustworthiness of your site.

1. Identify link opportunities

  • News sites, suppliers websites, business partnerships, sponsors etc

2. Ask for a link to your home page / sub page

  • The higher the quality the link, the better your site will perform.

3. Track the links obtained in Search Console

  • Search Console is a free platform for managing and measuring your relationship with Google.

4. Set Up Google My Business

Google My Business is a free platform Google offers that can help you claim the right hand sidebar of search results. Additionally, it helps you compete in maps results for non-brand service searches (eg: "Digital Marketing Wellington").

In terms of numbers - here's how many searches "Aro Digital" (and closely related variants) received over the last quarter. As you can see - 981 or 38% of searchers found us by inputting our business name.

While an additional 1598 - or 62% of searchers found us using a service search (eg: "digital marketing wellington").

GMB is a hugely powerful platform - and can really help you show up for your brand name and claim that right hand sidebar.

Hopefully that's all helpful!

Tim Dorrian
Founder & Managing Director

Adventure magnet. Photography junkie. Badass rock skimmer. Founder of Aro Digital and a Wellington-based digital marketing consultant. Raised in beautiful Wellington, New Zealand. Enjoys exploring Wellington’s old war bunkers, slowing down computers with epic Google Chrome extensions, traveling the world and kickass data-driven digital marketing. Host of Cool New Stuff on Newstalk ZB.


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