What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name? image auto body name game word cloud whats in a nameauto body name game word cloud - whats_in_a_name

“Auto Body”, “Autobody”, “Body Shop”, “Collision Center” – all the same right? 

We recognize all these name iterations as simply different terms for auto body repair businesses, but do search engines see it the same way as we do; and could selecting one name or phrase over the other influence our visibility on search engines?  Po-tay-toe or po-tah-toe; it’s still just a potato.  Isn’t it?

With the internet proving to be a significant lead generation tool for small businesses – the auto body industry included – businesses are discovering that local marketing is a hyper-competitive marketplace and being discovered online is getting increasingly complex.  The days of set-it-and-forget-it website marketing are long gone, today’s businesses need a strategy with quantifiable results for their hard earned marketing spend.  With respect to internet marketing – this means selecting the right words that will enable your business to rank well on search engines thus be discovered by more buying-prospects searching for what you have to offer.

Regardless of what the name is on the sign outside your body shop – the wording you use for your internet marketing plays a significant impact on both overall visibility and brand recognition by your customers and prospects searching for you online.  A businesses listing on Google for example – is often the first impression a new customer has of your company.  Conversely, for your older customers who haven’t needed your services in a while who look your business up on the internet instead of searching for your business card – that they most likely misplaced – low ranking on search might cause them to be lured away from your business by your competition who appears more prominent in the local auto body repair scene – judging solely by that businesses higher ranking and increased visibility on the search engines.

High ranking on search engines is all in the words – choose the right ones, and they will come.

I was talking with John Shoemaker from JSE Collision Consulting a few months ago about a client of his who was setting up a new auto body shop.  I was included in some email exchanges between the two for my input on what to name this new business – from both an offline and online perspective.  The overwhelming recommendation John and his client was getting from the local vendors and from a recommended local marketing firm, was to name this new business “Town Collision Center” (For this article “Town” = the actual town the business is in).

My advice was vastly different from what they were hearing.  I advised they incorporate the dominate local identifier (their actual town name in this case, but it could have been a nearby city name if they are on the outskirts) along with the phrase “auto body” not only in the name of the business as seen from the street, but in their online presence too.

I was rigid with my suggestion of “Auto Body” – not autobody, bodyshop, body shop, collision repair, and certainly not collision center.  Auto Body.

Being that my business specializes on the unique inbound marketing needs of the auto body repair industry, I have done some name-game studies; and Auto Body is –by far- the phrase that pays.  That said, identifying the need to incorporate “Auto Body” into their business website title and marketing wordtrack is only half of the name game.

Think for a moment how you search for something online.  If you were looking for great pizza in New Haven CT (hands down, the greatest pizza town in the US), this might be how your search could play out:

  • >PizzaPizza restaurants in CTPizza restaurants in New Haven CT> (that nails it!)

Doing this search, Giulios Pizza and Restaurant pulls top rank (for a non-paid listing, called organic search results).  But having lived in New Haven half my life, I can tell you that Modern Apizza is the local favorite.  So why aren’t they ranking #1 in the search?

Apizza is a thin-crust pizza unique to New Haven CT; it even has its own Wikipedia page; if you want good pizza in CT, Apizza is what you’re looking for.  Rolling back on that search – this time replacing Pizza with “Apizza” you’ll find the beloved Modern Apizza owns the search engine results page (aka: SERP) with four-listings on the first page of Google.

Pizza or apizza – auto body or collision center.  What’s in a name?

Done right, body shops using the targeted term “Auto Body” in the key elements of their website and within their online marketing wordtrack (like on Facebook, LinkedIn, and directory listings) will rank higher in search because overwhelmingly that is consistently the phrase people search for.  How much so?   Take a look at this study we conducted:

What’s In A Name? image auto body name gameauto body name game

With 823,000 searches every month, “Auto Body” is by far the most searched for phrase in the study.  The results were slightly different for mobile searches as evident below.

What’s In A Name? image auto body name game mobileauto body name game - mobile

“I am surprised; “bodyshop” is most often associated with a bath & body company while searches for “body shop” leads with women’s care products before getting into the auto body listings, and any use of “collision” gets just a fraction of the traffic.  Auto Body is the clear winner – it really pays to do your research.” said John Shoemaker after reviewing the findings.

Now for the second part of the name game;  including your location reference within the name of your business to target your business locally – so it’s discovered by more localpeople.  This is pretty straightforward, the focus though is to do some local keyword research to see if your actual town name should be added to the front or back of the principle keyphrase Auto Body.  The in-between words, such as of, the, and in are referred to as stop words – search engines will ignore these words in the title of your website – so looking back at the original discussion I had with John over the naming of a new business “Town Collision Center”, I was thrilled to hear his client had indeed selected”Auto Body of Town” as their namesake – both online as well as for their business identity.  Search engines will see it as Auto Body Town – and that’s about as tight as you can get with name optimizing (aka: search engine optimization SEO).

After hammering out some solid metric on how to best position this business for high visibility on search engines, their success in online marketing is off to a solid start.  Website optimization followed by search engine marketing, and social media postings will round up a solid online marketing strategy for new and established businesses alike.  The name game – played well.

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