Naming Your Company: Think About SEO, Too

It’s very common when a new company is casting about for a name to consider domain availability in making their decision. But as search becomes an increasingly powerful way for customers to connect with companies, another issue to consider is the discoverability of the name. Cobbled-together names like “Meebo” or “Digg” may sound gratingly Web 2.0, but they also have the advantage of minimizing noise in search.

Consider, for example, the two primary competitors in the source code auditing space: Palamida and Black Duck Software. A Google search for the neologistic “Palamida” yields 10/10 page 1 results that refer to what they would consider the proper result, with 4 of those going directly to Palamida or one of its blogs or other content sites. “Black Duck”, however, is a lot more noisy: only 1/10 page 1 results refer to the code auditing company. They have a lot better success with the full name, “Black Duck Software”, but given that over 31% of searches are on two-word phrases (and three-word only 27%), they might be missing out on some traffic.

This is also a consideration when naming not just the company but its products as well. Adobe’s screen-recording product, Captivate, nets 7/10 page 1 results on a Google search of “Captivate,” while its competitor Camtasia grabs all 10 for “Camtasia”.

This isn’t to say that total domination of all page 1 shelf space is essential for building brand– but if you are a new company starting out, you’ll be a lot more discoverable if your name tends to refer only to you.