Should You Name Your Company Using Keywords?

Putting “near me” in your brand name might seem clever, but is it, though?

Video transcript:

David: So, this is you brand your company with the words “near me.” I think it’s hilarious. But it’s also sad. First of all, “near me” is a phrase right now that’s very popular in Google.

Tricia: Exactly. What about a few years from now? You’re going to have to rebrand.

David: Keywords will change the way they trend. Right?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Okay, I don’t think it’s terrible. Like, if my company was called Dentist Near Me, well frankly, that is what I want. And even if I didn’t have such a thing as search engine optimization, and if I were to find them in the yellow pages or something, I’d be like, yeah, that’s what I want. I want a convenient dentist near me.

Tricia: I wouldn’t want that. I’d be like, what’s this “dentist near me?” They’re just doing SEO, and that’s…

David: If you don’t know that SEO, it still sounds good. I. What do you think, branding expert Tim?

Tricia: Yeah. What do you think?

Tim: I think that like anything, you can go for it or against it. I mean, no matter what you do, no matter what brand you create or what you design or what you name your business, there’s always going to be critics. And some people things will resonate with and others it just won’t. For me, it’s very utilitarian, and it’s like, yep, I know what I’m getting. That’s what I want. That’s what I searched for. That’s what I’m getting. Sign me up. Book online. I know that I can book online just by reading that brand name.

David: Yep.

Tim: Right, so that’s what I get from that. That’s part of their branding. That’s just from their name. That’s what is conveyed to me. It’s kind of genius in a way.

Tricia: When you said that you look at it and see that you could book online, I kind of think people in the industry can, but the common person, who doesn’t it know about this, that’s what I’m kind of looking at, I think they might think it’s silly.

Tim: Yeah. Absolutely. Like I said, there’s two sides – or five sides – to every coin, you know, and everybody’s going to have their input. Whether they like the blue or not, you know? Or they don’t like the spacing between the subtitle, you know?

Tricia: The font that they used. Yeah.

Tim: You’re not going to please everyone, but evaluating just like SEO, evaluating the pros and cons of something like this and maybe making your decisions based on data, like doing market tests, and seeing what people actually think, and making those decisions based on that. I think it is the smartest thing to do because it could overwhelmingly turn people off. You know, like, I don’t want that. That doesn’t sound like I’m going to know Dr. Joe, who’s in there, has five kids, and his mother helps run the joint. Something like that, there’s a whole story and background and history and personalization of something that might have a different name.

David: I think that when I see this, I see if I just want a dentist and I just want them convenient and near me, this is who I want. If I want a dentist who is friendly and caring, that is not what this connotes to me. If I’m a little scared of dentists, I really want somebody to be patient and gentle with me, this does not appeal to me. Right? If I just want to get it done because I have to get it done, that’s what I hear and feel based on the brand because this is very nonpersonal. Right? It’s not like I will have a relationship with this dentist. It could be anybody. It’s just a dentist. I just don’t even care; I just need to get a dentist.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: And for some people, that’s exactly it. Right? I don’t want to make best friends with the dentist. Just clean my teeth, fill the holes, and I’m moving on. That’s all I care about. Right? I don’t want to play golf with you. I do not want to watch your kids walk down the aisle at graduation. I just want you to clean my teeth.

Tricia: Yeah.

Tim: Yeah. I agree with all that, and it makes me think that it could provide almost like the trust factor. Like this seems like it’s a systemized, franchisable type of outfit that has everything dialed in, to the T. You know exactly what plans they’re selling, it’s not a lot of wishy-washy, it’s like get in, get done, move on.

Tricia: I don’t know. For some reason, when I saw this, in my head, I assumed it’s a franchise there throughout several areas, and even you know how everything now is on a monthly plan or a yearly plan, something like pay X amount a year and get your teeth cleaned twice.

Tim: At any location.

Tricia: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. So that’s what it brings to my mind when I see this, more of a franchise type.

Tim: Yeah. For the traveling executive, never in one location. A dentist near me subscription.  

David: We just found their business model.

Tricia: Yes. They need to come to watch this and make sure their plan is on target.

David: And we’re not really talking about SEO yet. The SEO implications of this. Right? The SEO implications, in that sense, hurt me because it’s really a lot of wasted effort. Let’s pretend that they own the domain And at one point, that would be the goal domain to own because Google would exact match the keywords, you would rank any time someone searched for “dentist near me.” But even if that were the case, I searched for “dentist near me,” and I live across the country, and if the keywords in the domain mattered that much, I would find their website, but they could never help me. But even this week, Google, yet again demystified the whole exact match domain thing to say, “You know what? It doesn’t even matter anymore. Like, we don’t even care because so many people tried to game the system that way, it’s not even a factor.” But I also know there’s a plastic surgeon in my city who trademarked Charlotte Plastic Surgeon. So, anybody who put Charlotte Plastic Surgeon on their website would receive a letter from their lawyer saying, “how dare you portray yourself as our company?”.

Tim: Wow.

David: They aggressively defended it purely to get the SEO advantage. And that’s kind of what this reminds me of, misplaced SEO effort. By the way, with that, it was a pride thing where all the SEOs are teaming up against that company and outranked them for Charlotte Plastic Surgeon even though they didn’t have the words on the page. Right. Everyone gave that guy the middle finger, going, yeah, okay, here’s what you could do. Right? So but the other side, and we kind of talked about this in the webinar and last week, where we talked about this picture, where one person was just really obsessed with the keywords in their company name.

Tricia: Oh, yes.

David: But this is very limiting if you think about it. Now for a dentist, that’s probably all they’re going to do, but what if the dentist later realizes they really want to specialize in a particular kind of dentistry – orthodontics. They can’t do that with their company name. They’re not an orthodontist near me; they’re a dentist near me.

Tricia: So they would need to sell that and build up their orthodontist near me…

David: Yeah. And I just feel like I am the best example of this. My two companies’ names have nothing to do with the products and services I offer because I didn’t want a pigeonhole myself into one thing.

Tricia: Yeah. That’s kind of like when I rebranded to YourBizWatchdog, and I didn’t want anything specific (I focus on local SEO and the Google Business Profile) like that specifically in it. I mean, YourBizWatchdog is kind of specific, but then it’s more general as well. A lot of people want to put the city and everything in it. As you said, for some businesses, that’s good, but for some, it may not be.

David: Right.

Tricia: More for brick and mortar, it’s probably okay, but not for ones like you and I, that don’t necessarily have all of our clients locally.  

David: The first domain I bought when I went out on my own was I really liked that domain name. But then I realized real quickly I can only provide services around search if I do that. And that’s not what I do. I focus on search, for sure, but I’m much broader than that, and I didn’t want to only do that. And besides it’s not a very exciting name. Like we talked about the dentist, it’s not very inviting and warm.

Tricia: Yeah. Yeah.

David:  Not that you necessarily want a warm and inviting marketer, but yeah.

Tricia: But a lot of times, as you said, people are terrified to go to the dentist, and so they want something a little bit more calming, and there are some people that won’t go to the dentist unless they give them some medication.

David: Yep.

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