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What Makes a Project Name SEO-friendly?

spekulatius1984 profile image Peter Thaleikis 🍪 Originally published at freelancer.com Updated on ・3 min read

In our information-overloaded world we can't do without search engines anymore. They take on the hard job of evaluating, categorizing and organizing the massive amount of new information every day. Google, DuckDuckGo and Co. are key in accessing this information in an efficient way.

Pick as Unique a Name as You Can

Nothing helps you more to stand out in search engines than being the only result. Take creative freedom when picking your name: the more unique your name the better your chances of standing out.

Marc Ewing, the developer behind Red Hat Linux, had been given a red Cornell University lacrosse hat by his grandfather. This became the name-giving item for his software and later the company. With this, the operating system and the company had a unique name and a clear differentiation to other companies in the industry. What was a lucky coincidence for Ewing can be a planned step for you: pick your name based on being "rather alone" on Google.

Make Sure You Own the Name

Having the name in mind and cleared with an initial Google search is great. But you should take it at least one step further and check the social media channels you are planning on using. A name check tool can be a great helper - enter your name idea and see what social media channels are available and learn about the alternatives.

Make Sure It Doesn't Fall Under NSFW

During naming you might end up slipping accidentally into a corner you won't want to position your new business in: not safe for work (NSFW). An innocent-sounding combination of two words might combine to make a not-so-innocent one, once turned into a domain name. Same goes for a second meaning coming from foreign languages. Don't see what I'm talking about? Here are examples for your personal entertainment. To stay clear of these kinds of naming issues, check your new name before committing.

Limit Keywords in Your Company Name

Remember the times where domains such as "CheapApartmentsInLA.com" were in vogue? Yeah, not such a pleasant memory. The web got flooded with low-quality websites as lead generators and sales platforms. Google learned and now deranks websites that match too many keywords or key-phrases. You can still use keywords in your name, but in moderation.

It makes much more sense to stick to a brandable name and describe your business closer in the tagline: "Green Finger" - "Your marketplace for gardening supplies" works much better than "gardeningsuppliesmarketplace.com". If you don't know which words you could use check SEOScout's Free Keyword Tool or use UberSuggest.

Feed the Machine

Search engines live by collecting and processing new content. Especially at the beginning, you need to build up a content base for your new project. Make sure to feed them regularly. Set a publishing schedule and keep it up. Business Blogging is a great way to drive attention to your small business. Keep raising the bar and work on improving the quality of your content as you go. Here you are killing two birds with one stone: Google will get to know your brand name and you attract more eyes to your business.

Taking it a Step Further: Stay in Touch

After you write content for your blog and build up a traffic stream from Google and Co., it's time to make it more sticky. A newsletter is a great way to stay in touch. Buttondown and Mailchimp are both providing great & simple services, with a free tier. A professional service saves you from ending in the over half of all emails are considered spam - quite a factor, especially when you are just starting out.

You should also get a Twitter account and tweet your best insights and hints in threads (replies to your own tweets). This way, you have a great way to tell your story. Always conclude with the relevant link on your blog. With each thread, you collect new followers and attract more attention to your business.

Bonus Tip: If marketing is your struggle, consider subscribing to this free marketing newsletter with regular instructions on how to drive promoting your business more.

Done!

That's it. Once you've got the six points above settled, you are on the path to finding an SEO-friendly name. You will be able to brand your name and stand out - exactly what you need when you are starting out.

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