Chris Silver Smith

Is Renaming Your Business Worth Better Search Traffic?

Mike Blumenthal has a great article this week, going over some aspects surrounding how businesses may opt to rename themselves for purposes of local search engine optimization within Google Maps.

As he mentioned, I’d previously listed this idea in my somewhat tongue-in-cheek post on “Extreme Local Search Optimization Tactics” some time back.

While my Tactics were intended to be a bit over-the-top, the tactic is indeed likely to work to varying degrees in different search engines and internet yellow pages directories, as Mike outlines. I should note that I only endorse the engineering of business names for purposes of branding and for purposes of targeting business-category/product/service terms for which the company involved is actually providing.

I’m not big on throwing away a brandname completely, even if it contains no good keywords – I’m more in favor of adding keywords to the existing business name in a meaningful way. For example, a business named “Xymax Corp” might rename themselves to include their product name: “Xymax Corp Rubber Seals”. This would be good for the business, good for the consumer, and therefor good for the search engine, too.

As Mike aptly outlines, there are a number of other considerations beyond just optimizing for search, such as creating a beneficial image to the company, and building towards longterm customer retention. If you used too fly-by-night a sounding business name, you could expect fewer clickthroughs per search rates than if you used more conservative, reassuring names. So, it would be easy to damage your performance to some degree by mucking this up – you could increase the amount of times your business listing comes up in searches, but simultaneously decrease your click-through-rates.

Mike further states that one should approach business renaming with great care, and I wholeheartedly agree. If you’re not a professional in local search optimization, you might just shoot yourself in the foot. But, with thoughtful deliberation on the multiple factors involved, doing a rename to add in some valuable keyword(s) could improve your referral rates from search engines.

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About The Author: Chris formerly headed up the Advanced Technology Department for Verizon Superpages.com (later spun off under Idearc Media), where he worked for ten years, specializing in patent-pending work in mapping, local search, analytics, and SEO. As the natural search optimization expert for Idearc, he founded and chaired the company's SEO Council. Chris is currently a Lead Search Strategist for Netconcepts, a search optimization firm. Chris is a regular columnist for Search Engine Land, covering the 'local search' beat. He also blogs for Natural Search Blog, and speaks at industry conferences such as Search Engine Strategies.