What do you think rock musicians care about most when choosing an album title? Coming up with something punchy and memorable? Something that looks good on a t-shirt? What about something that is easy to search on Google?
The latter concern has been troubling Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who this week said that he regretted calling the band’s recent album ‘Mylo Xyloto’ because it was ‘two words you can’t even Google’ and fans around the world were struggling to pronounce it.
What’s in a Name?
What Martin’s naming regrets show is the vital importance online searchability now plays in any promotional campaign, whatever it is you happen to be selling. Anyone launching a product, a business or even an album nowadays needs to choose the name with an eye on what would be beneficial from an SEO perspective, as well as what just sounds good.
So in the case of a small business, for example if you’ve started selling carpets in Dorset, rather than naming your business ‘Nigel’s Incredible Carpet Emporium’, you might decide that ‘Dorset Carpets’ would be a better name, particularly if you can get the URL dorsetcarpets.co.uk. While it might not be as catchy or personalised, it will give you that crucial advantage in searchability, which will mean traffic finds your website and hopefully generates those all-important sales.
Waterstones recently gave us a good example of a naming decision being made for the benefit of web users, dropping their apostrophe (previously it was Waterstone’s) and in doing so administering a firm kick in the balls to correct grammar. As an English graduate who now works in SEO, I have mixed feelings about this kind of thing – in a sense it is legitimising bad English, but commercial considerations (apostrophes aren’t permitted in URLs, and many Googlers either can’t or don’t bother to use them anyway) make it inevitable really.
As it happens, Coldplay’s album name worries may not actually be warranted after all, because when I Googled it myself it was clearly the top and only result. In this case having such an unusual name is an advantage because it has no competition (provided people can actually spell it right!).
A more serious musicians’ SEO issue is that faced by San Francisco indie band Girls, who are, as you might imagine, somewhat difficult to search on Google without also potentially encountering some rather ‘adult’ results too!