Number one for your name. But is that enough?

I’ve been digesting a fascinating article about the taxonomy of search today (don’t worry, I read these things so you don’t have to), and it’s given me a number of ideas for subjects to cover in future articles here. However, I’d like to pull out one almost incidental statistic from the article and discuss its implications: the volume of searches looking for your company name.

Apparently, nearly a quarter of web searches are “navigational”; in other words, the searcher just wants to find your site. They either don’t know or care about Red Widget Company’s website address but expect a Google search on the company name to provide the right result, or they do know it’s “www.redwidgetcompany.co.uk” but find it easier to just type “redwidgetcompany” into the Google box.

OK, now you’re thinking you’ve got that potential pitfall covered, because you’re number one in Google for your company name. But what does that result look like? Might there be a more attractive-looking option just below yours, which suggests that if someone is after contact details for the company, it might find them quicker there? For example, when I search Google for “Mocap Custom Molding Group” (I could have chosen hundreds of examples), the first result is indeed the company’s website, but the title is just a rather boring “Custom Molding / Tooling” …whereas the second result is the far more attractive “Mocap Custom Molding Group web site, latest news and contact details” – which is a page on an independent news site*. But that’s another site completely, and do you want searchers going there? Some will.

So if nothing else, make sure the first Google result for your company name is not only your site, but screams “this is the official company website” too. That means having the title tag on the home page starting off with your company name, and if you can add in a descriptive slogan, with a product keyword, in the remainder of the 60 characters, that’s fine.

*In this example above, the runner-up spot is held by a respectable news site. But it’s often one of those “directory sites”, and this explains why these rather pointless sites seem to continue to send you traffic. It’s not that people use them as directories (why would anyone need a directory, when Google’s around?), but it’s because people searching for your company on Google click on their site instead, then click through to yours from the entry on the directory site. If a site which is no more than a list of company names and addresses rings me up and says “Aren’t we clever, we sent 20 people to your website last month”, I just think no, you just misled 20 or more people who’d typed my company’s name into Google. And as they probably spent about 0.5 seconds on your site, no, I don’t want to advertise, thanks.

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