How should new businesses name themselves, and should SEO play a part in their brand?
David: So, the question is a branding question for a new business in a new area. How should they position themselves? How should they name themselves? Not just from an SEO perspective but from a branding perspective. Does that kind of summarize what we’re talking about?
Dave: Yeah, there’s a couple of options, a couple of ways that they could potentially go with this.
David: The obvious answer is this. You know that’s the answer, right? Name your business, whatever it is, near me. That’s just how you should name it. So, that was a really easy answer to your client’s complicated question. The obvious answer is to name yourself with “near me.” Obviously, I’m joking. I think this is a horrible business name, right?
David: So, this Dentist Near Me thinks they’re going to get better SEO out of this, right? Maybe let’s pretend they do, right? But now, what if they realize an aspect of dentistry is easier for them to do and more profitable? Periodontist. Right? Orthodontics. Well, unfortunately, their business is named Dentist, so now they’ve got to convince, or even better, let’s say there’s a whole new line of care, of dental care, that suddenly we shift, and there’s a whole paradigm shift in dentistry, and no one calls it dentistry anymore because now we use this other thing or whatever. They’re pigeonholed. They’re stuck providing this. Right? Also, locally, as they consider where they might be. This might work in a Google search, but it really isn’t confidence-inspiring from a brand perspective. Right? We’re all a little close to the SEO world, but let’s pretend we don’t understand that a lot of people search for that. Look in your Google Search Console and see a lot of people searching for “near me” for your clients. In fact, Susan, it’s funny, I kind of make fun of her. She always adds “near me” to whatever search she does.
Tricia: Oh, really? That’s funny.
David: She doesn’t even think about it. She just adds it. But this isn’t confidence-building in terms of, are you really a local dentist? Are you really someone who serves my area? And so, it ends up feeling like it’s not really caring because it doesn’t say Riverbend or Catawba River or whatever geographic thing that says we’re here and we’re focusing on this area. It’s a lot more impersonal.
Tricia: Yeah. I would look at this and say it’s one of those things where conversions really matter, as you talk about. So, they might come up in ranking and get found because of that term. But if I was searching for a dentist, and they’re number one, that name would turn me off so much that they might get the rank for a while, but are they going to get the conversions?
David: That’s just another reason why I always harp on getting our clients away from thinking about rank because you might see this one. Let’s pretend this works in Google, which I’m not convinced it does, but let’s pretend it does. You don’t always just always pick the top one and move on, especially for something like this. I want to know that you didn’t graduate last in your dental school. Right? I want to know that you’re not just a place that’s a good place for starting dentists, and they just churn through until they can make enough money to start their own practice, which my dad kind of got caught in recently. He just went, and every time he went, there was a new dentist. No one really knew his case.
David: So, I will sometimes skip over the first or even the second. And one of the things that affects that is brand. So, if, by the brand, I can establish credibility in something I trust, then it’s better. This brand says convenience. It’s near me. If it was “expert dentist,” the brand says expertise. But I know enough to know just because you call yourself an expert doesn’t mean you’re an expert. Right? But the original thing I was talking about was that you’re stuck doing dentist – basic dentist stuff here. If you decide as a business owner, and I’m presuming this is like, a particular dentist owns this, it’s probably a corporation, though, right? And it’s probably a corporation because they did the “near me.” But if this was a local dentist, and they realized, well, they’re much more interested in periodontics, and they’re making much more money from periodontics. And there’s really a need in their community for periodontics. Are you going to rebrand “periodontics near me?” Right? Going through a rebranding is a really tough process, especially if you’ve already developed a clientele who trusts your brand, “dentist near me.” So, this is why Curious Ants is called Curious Ants and not the “best SEO coaching program available.” Right? Or “world’s best SEO advice.” Right? Because I want you all to be knowledgeable about SEO. I want you to learn. I want you to provide SEO as a service. But we talk about a lot more than that, and I want to be able to pivot and say, hey, you know what? This might change, and we might grow. And now it’s not stuck in one column. That is why my main company, Reliable Acorn, is not actually… The initial URL I purchased was searching.io. I was like, oh, I love that. And I wish I would have held onto it at this point, but not for branding, but Reliable Acorn now can be whatever I make it into. You know, it’s changed over the years slightly. So, people now know Reliable Acorn, and they have a connotation with the brand. Now, the downside is with both of those brands, Curious Ants and Reliable Acorn, from an SEO perspective, it took a while to convince Google that it is an entity, meaning it is a thing outside of two words strung together. Like with Curious Ants, it took me six months to a year before Google started giving me site links because it realized, oh, there is a thing, and that thing is called Curious Ants. I still get Google alerts for anybody who happens to mention a curious ant in their house, right? But it took Google a while to realize Curious Ants is an entity, and it’s worth serving up as a branded search. So, the downside of the ambiguous brand is it takes more work, but it does offer a lot of flexibility. And so, one of the concerns you had mentioned, Dave, was the idea that selling the business or portioning out or dividing it out, like if I sell Curious Ants, it’s not wed to David Zimmerman, right? It’s not David’s SEO Program. Right? It’s its own thing. If I sell Reliable Acorn, it’s not wed to me. It’s still valuable because I did have to take a lot of time to develop that. So, I’m of the opinion, in short, that, yes, putting your keywords in your brand name can help, but when we’re thinking about brand names, we need to consider the long-term business opportunities. And if we pigeonhole, what if I decided doing SEO that I really need to pivot to Facebook, but my business is called SEO Experts La Carte? I don’t know. Well, now I’m stuck. I have to start over. In this case, your client is looking at a particular what if, what if things change? What if the treatment options for that service change? And so I think having a long-term, not just an SEO picture for a brand is important. And I say that as someone who loves doing SEO.
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