SEO Confusion

What happens when you want to optimize your website for some term that has more than one meaning?

For example, I often use “RHaden” or even “rhaden” as a signature on blog posts and forums and such, and yet I am not Rhaden, the overworld muge from the mansions of Kiru City.

I’m sure you’re glad I cleared that up.

Businesses that date from before the internet often have the same name as another business in another state. You may be the only Johnson Cameras in your town, but there may be lots of others in your online market. Only one of you gets www.johnsoncameras.com for a domain name.

Beyond your name and company name, there are keywords that are confusing. One of our clients is a custom home builder. They were using the term “site built,” not realizing that searches for that term bring up search results for web firms rather than homebuilders. Johnson Cameras may want people to know that they are one of the few places in their area that will still make prints from film, but a search for “prints” is likely to bring up posters, not photography services.

What can you do about this?

  • Consider alternatives. When we found that a website about a London Brownie troop was using keywords that brought them into competition with bakeries and bars, we suggested changing the keywords they worked on. We changed our home builders’ keywords to “built on your lot” and “built on your land.” Johnson Cameras should consider phrases like “prints from photos” or “photo printing.” Test, don’t guess.
  • Use your content to disambiguate. While most searches about photos will bring up digital rather than film photography, Johnson can make sure that the search engines understand that they are about photography and not posters, printed fabrics, or fingerprints by having plenty of other words about cameras and photography in their text. Deciding that “print” is the keyword for a page and then using it as much as possible can keep you from using terms like “albums,” “film,” “negatives,” and other words that would clarify things for the search engines. As usual, natural language wins.
  • Be realistic about your time frame. While ranking well for “Rhaden’s Cameras” would be very easy (apparently the overworld muge doesn’t have a camera shop anywhere in the multiverse, or at least anywhere served by Google), ranking well for “Johnson Cameras” would not. Local ranking will be faster, but Johnson Camera will have to be more aggressive about SEO and give the process longer than if they had a unique name.

 


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