How are searches on your company name looking?

A simple Google search for your company name may well be the first thing a serious prospect sees after initially becoming interested from a meeting, reading about you or whatever. It’s really important.

In the worst case, you don’t come up at all for a search on your name. That could be because your company name is – unfortunately – the same as something else which is much more popular in search. Also a problem is if the top (and perhaps only) result is another part of your company, or an overseas parent. In all these cases, the prospect might give up if there are alternative suppliers to investigate. These issues affect more companies than you might imagine, and the fact it’s so common suggests that the companies concerned don’t realise how much this is costing them …or they’d do something about it.

Then there’s the ‘poor result’. To understand how you can look really second-rate in Google on a search for your company, take a look at a good result. Search for a household name like Barclays Bank to see what you could have. A whole set of ‘sitelinks’ (those indented secondary results); a map showing your location; a ‘knowledge graph’ panel on the right; social media results – they’re all up for grabs. If you just have a single, minimally-sized result, it looks… well, disappointing.

So, what can we do about all this? Getting more links to your company website from elsewhere is an obvious strategy. Any company of importance will have lots of links to its website, so that will be a critical factor in Google’s algorithms. For immediate impact, the best line of attack may be to spend a few pounds a month (and it needn’t be much) on a search advertising campaign targeted at your company name. This can give you not only the top spot and the sitelinks, but other elements such as a contact number, ‘callout’ text and ‘structured snippets’, none of which appear next to standard search results. Most importantly, unlike the standard results, you’re in complete control of the content too. Want to include a special offer or a news message? No problem.

A final critical reason to run a search advertising campaign on your company name is to stop anyone else doing it. It’s quite legitimate for competitors to put ads above searches on your name, and any message they like in that advert. Put your own (cheap) advert there, and unless the competitor is prepared to pay silly money to outbid you at a far higher cost per click, their ad will be relegated to the bottom of the page or off it completely.

Newsflash for Google Search Advertisers:

In the biggest change to search ads for a long while, Google has just announced that it’s soon to allow a third headline and a second description. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this, of course, but we’re not going to rush into changing the tens of thousands of ads we manage. Google has form on introducing new ideas and then backtracking, so we’ll play a conservative game on this one. If you manage your own search advertising, we suggest you do too.