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Secrets of business names that rank #1 on Google

And why the wrong choice could break your chances on the internet…

If you’re reading this, there’s a piece of your heart that would love to have its own business. No matter how far into that dream you are, there’s one very important aspect – the name.
Now, you might feel that you already have a fantastic name for your business, or maybe you’re in need of ideas. Either way, I want to share with you some insights that I’ve learned through several years analysing search terms on the internet – because success there could make or break you.

The type of name you want all comes down to the kind of business it will be and how people are likely to find out about you. Even the best websites can take a year or so to reach the heady heights of the first page of Google, so be patient. However, there are some business names that can make it virtually impossible to get that far.

1. Don’t use a pun of a common phrase if you have a nationwide audience. I might just about be able to find your refrigeration company if I am searching ‘Cool Stuff Leighton Buzzard’, but the instant I try ‘Cool Stuff UK’ or just ‘Cool Stuff’, your business will vanish into a black hole and appear on approximately page 336 of Google’s results.

2. While we’re talking about common phrases, don’t even think of using words from a frequently used combination like ‘Early Years’. There will be 2 million websites above yours.

3. Sadly, a similar thing goes if you have a common name, or the same name as someone famous. Don’t use your own name if there are already many businesses with that name. For example, literally no one will find ‘Diana Ross Hair’ – and you might also get done for trademark infringement, which would be a tedious introduction to the world of business.

4. If you rely on radio campaigns or word of mouth, make sure your company name is spelled as it sounds. This is not the time to be clever with your vowels – there’s nothing more tedious than having to spell it out for every customer (and no-one will find your website if you don’t).

5. Think about what the domain name will look like. Spa in Heaven sounds like a reasonable choice – until you see it as and everyone thinks its a travel site. Be especially careful with website names that are acronyms. Stuart’s Home Transformations would have the unfortunate URL of On the plus side, at least it would be memorable.

6. If you’re a sole trader operating mostly from a van (plumber, florist, builder, whatever) my advice would be to resist using your initials and use something quirky instead. Why? The thing is, if I see your van driving around with your branding on, it’s difficult to see your exact initials from a glance. Was it MS Flowers? NS Flowers? NB Flowers? When I go to look for you online, I won’t be able to find you. Call yourself ‘Penguin Flowers’ and there’s a much better chance I’ll remember. The same goes for businesses relying on word of mouth.

Right, now that we’ve got the don’ts out of the way, here are some suggestions for ways to maximise your visibility online.

1. Do use an unusual combination of words. Doing this makes your business stick in the mind of your potential customers and it should comfortably take the top spot of any internet search for those words. Companies employing this strategy include Octopus Energy and GoDaddy.

2. Consider making up a word. The more unique it is, the less likely you are to have competition – just make sure it’s catchy and not so weird that no-one knows how to spell it. Examples include Tesco, Instagram and Deliveroo.

3. Include an aspect of your business in the name. Sell cars in Linslade and you’re called Smith? Don’t just call yourself ‘Smiths’ – that gives no information at all. Linslade Cars, meanwhile, works well and would be useful in SEO terms as well. One other tip – if you think you might spread your business to a neighbouring town, choose something a bit more broad, like Tiddenfoot Cars– it retains an element of local character while the word ‘cars’ makes it easy for people to see what you do.

4. If you’re stuck, get in touch. We’ve got plenty of experience dealing with start-ups and also a range of tech tools to really analyse what will work best for you online.

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