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.
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.
Well, it all comes down to a couple of key factors:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
If you've chosen a difficult name, what can you do? Well, it's not all doom and gloom.
Having highly relevant text on your website will help it rank - especially your brand name.
A. Discover your keywords
B. Add your keywords to your site
For most businesses, the easiest win is improving your home page text - and adding more mentions of your business name onto your home page.
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
3. Reduce the size of your images
3. Measure your bounce rate in Google Analytics
Get high quality links to website to increase the authority / trustworthiness of your site.
1. Identify link opportunities
2. Ask for a link to your home page / sub page
3. Track the links obtained in Search Console
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!