Writing by Brick Marketing in Internet Marketing
Google recently announced an update to their Google Profiles pages, rolling out a new layout that has much of the online community pointing out it’s similarity to Facebook. (That’s a blog post for another day). Google said in a blog post on March 2nd that,
“…we launched Google Profiles to help you manage your online identity. Since then, we’ve enhanced profiles to help you connect to other public online services and improve your search results. Today, we’re starting to give Google Profiles a new look and feel, making it even easier for you to control and enrich your public profile.”
But a coworker pointed out an interesting dilemma: what if you have a really common name? If someone Google’s “John Smith,” which profile will appear first? Will someone actually find the John Smith they are looking for?
This lead to a conversation about online brand confusion; how does a company with a common name differentiate themselves online? What can companies do to make sure they are found when someone is looking for them?
One of the small things a company can do to help avoid brand confusion is to incorporate their location throughout the website. A user looking for “John Smith Industries, Boston,” is going to get a much more targeted search results. The more specific the search, the more appropriate the visitor is that comes to the site. It meant they were actively looking to engage with your company. They performed a navigational search (searching by brand name) and narrowed it down to your location so they could be sure they found what they were looking for.
It’s also important to incorporate industry keywords throughout the website and in Meta descriptions so users know which John Smith Industries they’ve found. A John Smith Industries that handles commercial construction targets very different keywords than the John Smith Industries that works in the bio-tech field. That’s why, it’s important to carefully write all Meta tags and Meta tag descriptions, that description is what convinces a visitor to click over to you site.
It’s possible that a company existed long before the invention of the Internet, but other companies choose a similar name and built their sites first. These companies, which may have the offline brand recognition and consumer trust, have to play catch-up with their online competitors and find a way to stand out among the crowd.