Wyoming Business Tips for April 15

April 9, 2012

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Mike Lambert, Wyoming Entrepreneur Market Research manager

"Why does my company never show up on Internet searches?" Renee, Rock Springs.

There can be any number of reasons that search engines are not "seeing" your website. I would like to discuss one that often is missed in the rush to "optimize" a website: A key reason for search engine invisibility can simply be the name of your company.

When Google looks at a search term, it tends to first think of it as a brand before anything else. Ann Smartly, writing on the MarketingProfs website (www.marketingprofs.com), gives an example of the results for the name "Armstrong."

She indicates that most people would think of "moon," "space" or even "Tour de France," but most would be wrong. Google shows "Armstrong Flooring," "Armstrong World Industries" and "Armstrong One Wire" (an Internet service) as coming up first. The astronaut and the bicyclist follow these brand names. As Smartly says, "Google seems to favor brands and is likely to suspect that your intent is navigational instead of informational."

One way of winning the war, instead of fighting a battle against multiple opponents, is to try to make your brand name unique. This can be challenging if you have a common name. "Jones Consulting" would be a pretty poor choice. knowing there are plenty of companies with the same name.

Renee Jones Engineering Consulting would be better but, with such a common name, you might need to look for a more unique usage -- "Rock Springs Engineering Consultants" would, as I write this, probably come up first in Google because no other companies show up with that name.

The idea is to become the dominant interpretation of the combination of words in your company name. Google suggests that if you can make your name and brand stick together, you instantly become a dominant interpretation. Using this concept, a company called Renee Jones Mining Engineering would likely rank No. 1 on Google.

Before you worry about optimization of your site, and certainly before you sign incorporation papers, spend some time searching names on the Internet. A unique business name can be an important first step in achieving online visibility.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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