Interesting phone call from an independent travel agency today (I'm not going to name them, hence the lack of links).
It had launched earlier in the year, and its name was virtually identical to that of a recently collapsed agency in the very same area.
The problem? When you type the new agency's name into Google, the top result is a Travel Weekly story about the old agency going out of business.
The story is factually correct, and clearly dated months before the new agency even opened its doors.
So my caller asked that we clarified the distinction, and I placed a line at the end of the article to reassure any worried consumers who land there (I'm nice like that).
But the request laid bare how much work some small agencies need to do towards understanding and leveraging search. Here's how the decision process could have looked:
- We want to use this name
- But it comes with baggage
- The baggage is archived online
- We need to make sure we rank above the baggage
That means building a website with ninja SEO, which might incur more cost or manpower than an independent start-up can spare.
But the cost of not doing it, as these guys found, is worried customers.
Ultimately the choice was between keeping the name and spraying cash on SEO consultants, or choosing a different name and saving a few bob.
And while Travel Weekly supports independent agents, we can't fundamentally alter correct stories to mitigate the results of getting that decision wrong.
Like it or not, it's every man for himself on the Google Plains...