Are you unique on the Web? Why you must carve out your own search engine real estate

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Search Engine Marketing  |  New Rules of Marketing and PR

One rarely discussed but very important aspect of search engine marketing is choosing product and company names so that they will be easy to find on the Web via search engines.

When you consider the name of a new company, product, book, rock band, or other entity that people want to find on the Web, you typically go through a process of thinking up ideas, getting a sense of whether these names sounds right, and then perhaps seeing if you can copyright or trademark the ideas.

I would suggest adding one more vital step: Run a Web search to see if anything comes up for your proposed name; I urge you to drop the name idea if there are lots of similarly named competitors—even if the competition for the name is in a different industry. Your marketing goal should be that when someone enters the name of your book or band or product, the searcher immediately reaches information about it. For example, before I agree to a book title, I make certain those names are not being used in any other way on the Web. It was important for me to "own" my titles on the search engines: searching on Eyeball Wars, Cashing in with Content, and now The New Rules of Marketing and PR brings up only my books or reviews, articles, and discussions about them.

Many people ask me why I use my middle name in my professional endeavors, and I’ve had people accuse me of being pretentious. OK, maybe I am a bit pretentious, but that’s not why I use my middle name—Meerman. The reason is simple: there are so many other David Scotts out there. One David Scott walked on the moon as commander of Apollo 15. Another is a six-time Iron Man Triathlon Champion. Yet another is a U.S. Congressman from Georgia’s 13th district. Good company, all, but for clarity and search engine optimization purposes, I chose to be unique among my fellow David Scotts by becoming David Meerman Scott. On Google I am unique and have nearly 100,000 hits to my name.

The lesson here is that if you want to be found on the Web, you need a unique identity for yourself, your product, and your company to stand out from the crowd and rise to prominence on search engines. As you are thinking of names to use for marketing, test them out on the search engines first and try to carve out something that you alone can own.