Yesterday, I had something happen which proves the need for a business to be actively employing SEO for their web properties. First a little background on what we do and how our web leads come through to our firm.
Snyder Online Marketing is an SEO and web marketing agency located in Philadelphia, PA. Our web leads generally come from local businesses in the Philadelphia area – a large percentage of which are driven by organic search through blog articles speaking to topics that small businesses face.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from someone who was referred to a different SEO with the last name “Snyder”. He asked if “Mitch Snyder” (name has been changed out of respect) worked here. I had no idea what he was talking about. His reply stunned me.
He said, “I was referred to Mitch Snyder from a colleague of mine since he is helping their business with SEO. When I search for him in Google, I couldn’t find him anywhere but your site kept coming up, so I figured I’d call you. How good can someone be at SEO if they don’t show up in Google for their own name and the word ‘SEO’?”
He was right. People search business names and if you aren’t ranking for branded terms, there’s a high possibility that your competition is getting your referrals.
How Well Does Your Name Rank With Your Services?
I have a very common name. I sometimes joke it should just be John Doe. Out of curiosity, I performed multiple searches using the query formula: “My Name + Services I Offer”. In most instances, our website had first page, first position ranking for these terms. For one service, we had first page, third position in which we were outranked by our LinkedIn page and a site whose domain was “myname.wordpress.com”. Not too shabby, yet now I want that ranking for “My Name WordPress”.
Why Does Ranking for Branded Terms in Google Matter?
Again, if you aren’t ranking for your own branded terms, you are more than likely giving your competition your referrals. In layman’s terms – you’re giving away money.
As a business, whether you realize it or not, you’re building a brand. People who are happy with your services will refer your business by using your business or personal name in conversation. These days, people generally don’t hand out your business card or have a notepad to write it down, so they will perform a web search for your business name to see your site and get your contact information. If a competitor with a similar name is outranking you, they can easily be mistaken as you and earn the business under your reputation.
How Do I Check How My Branded Terms are Ranking?
It’s easy – use a web browser you don’t normally use, clear all cookies and past searches, ensure you’re not logged into a Google account and search away! If you have Google Webmaster Tools setup, look in the “Search Analytics” report and filter the query to include your brand name. This report will tell you if people are searching for your business, how many impressions and clicks you’ve gotten, as well as your average position for the search term(s).
You may be thinking, what is the possibility of someone taking my business this way? It just happened to one of my competitors yesterday, and I’m writing a proposal for a prospective client today.