Why Do Other Businesses Rank Higher For My Business Name?

Clive Lobo

Why do other businesses rank higher for my business name?

As a business you may be wondering why when you search for your name someone else ranks higher than you. Perhaps it’s the web developer who built your site, and then wrote a case study about it. Perhaps it’s a news site with a press release you wrote a few months ago. In principle your site should rank highest for your name, right. So why is it not?

Modern search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN rely on computer algorithms to determine which pages are most relevant for a given search term (aka keyword) instead of manually configuring the results. In a case like this the search engines have determined that the other sites are more relevant for your business name than your site.

Why does this happen?

There are hundreds of factors that have a role to play in affecting the search algorithms but there are a few which carry the most weight as follows:

  • HTML text based content. Odds are the sites that are outranking you have more html text based content which references your business name.
  • The page that is outranking you is probably named something like “your-business-name.html” and thus the page is much more relevant for that keyword.
  • The Title, H1, body text and perhaps an H2 all reference your business name, further enforcing the relevancy of this page to your business name.
  • The pages outranking yours are probably linked directly to from the the home pages of the sites in question – telling the search engines that the pages are “more important” than others on those sites further away from the home page in user clicks.
  • The sites that are outranking yours may have a higher PageRank, or are newer and the sites themselves probably have more good quality, on topic back links pointing to them.

If you take a few moments to look at these sites you’ll probably begin to see some of the things I am writing about and you’ll certainly begin to see a pattern.
What can you do about it?

The simplest thing you can do, is try and reproduce on your site what they have done to theirs. The most obvious place you can do it is on your “about us” page which you most likely have named “aboutus.html”. Here is what I recommend you do:

  1. Rename your aboutus.html page to my-business-name.html
  2. Change your title of the page to “About My Business Name” and include nothing else.
  3. Change the meta description tag to “Learn why My Business Name is right for you” or some statement that includes your business name.
  4. Change the H1 tag of your page to “My Business Name” and ensure you write a good strong paragraph or two about your business which also mentions your business name.
  5. Further expand the content by adding an H2 tag which repeats your business name
  6. On your home page either rename About Us to including your business name, or if space is limited add a “Call Out” to the page which includes an html text link “About My Business Name” which links directly to your newly modified about page.
  7. Finally, edit the title, meta description, and H1 tag of your actual home page to include your business name, if possible. This will further indicate to the search engines your relevancy for your business name as a keyword.

Once you’ve done all of the above – sit back and wait a week or two for the search engines to crawl and index your updated site. You should start to see your page bubble up to the top of the search results.

What if it does not?

If the pages that are outranking you are really strong from an authority perspective, or it’s for another company with the same name you may need to do some link building using your business name as the anchor text. Here are some suggestions on link building:

  • Buy the Yahoo!, Business.com and Best of the Web directories. It will be the best $1000 you spend as you will obtain direct qualified traffic from these sites and you will instantly receive authoritative links to your site for your business name.
  • Submit your site to the hundreds of free online directories (for a workable spreadsheet containing these directories please post a comment and we’ll email it to you).
  • Ensure you are listed in all of your local website directories, and chamber of commerce sites.
  • Go through all of the book-marking sites such as delicious and ensure your site is book-marked using your business name as a tag.
  • Write a few press releases and publish them online, ensuring that your business name is referenced in the title and used as anchor text for the link to your site
  • Consider writing a small article or two and publishing them online – much like the press release mentioned above.
  • Sign up for LinkedIn. Facebook and other social media sites and ensure your profile references your business name.
  • Creative business profiles in sites like Squidoo and include links back to your website
  • Ask for links from your customers websites using your name as the link text
  • Participate in Blogs and Forums that are of interest to you and comment on the discussions. Your profile will leave a nice link back to your site. In this case it’s not necessary to use your business name as the anchor text – just your personal name will suffice.

Do some link building over a one month period trying to generate as many links as you can. Keep checking your ranking position – it should begin to climb up again and overtake the other sites. If it does not, then you’ve got a real competitor on your hands and you should seriously consider engaging the expertise of a search engine optimization firm.

Clive Lobo

Spark’s resident boss man, Clive possesses the very nature of an entrepreneurial spirit.

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