Previously only one of those words was an Apple product. After January 26th, however, Apple now sells iPads along with iPods. What may be a silly name or a great name briefly caused a bit of confusion with the search engines.
IPED and IPEDS are acronyms that have quite a few results in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. But, the other spelling brethren to the iPod do not have much meaning. Because of this, all three search engines show spelling corrections for those words and typically include “iPod” search results as well. Today, we still see this for iPud and iPid. And, immediately after the Apple announcement, we saw it for iPad, too.
This was soon corrected, whether naturally or through intervention, in Yahoo and Google. Bing is still showing results for iPod when you search for the new iPad. This instance appears to show a small flaw in the search engine algorithms. How do you quickly add a new term when it had been written off as a typo?
The iPad announcement is the most recent example of this, but many web 2.0 companies experienced the same problem. When companies began to emulate Flickr’s naming convention of adding an ‘r’ to the end of their name, it also confused search engines. Is Snappr a service, or is someone looking for a lawn mower. This is especially apparent when services first launch, which is exactly what we witnessed with the launch of the iPad.
What does that mean for Search Engine Marketers? It means that Google may have a bit more to say about brand names then we would like to think. Is the new product you are launching or marketing a typo for something else? Then you may want to think about a name change. Of course, a strong product can overtake the ‘typo’ designation as they iPad has done in Google and Yahoo, but you may not have the marketing gusto and hype power that Apple carries. If you have flexibility in the name, then do your homework.
It may be time to add “Googleability” to the traditional product naming guidelines. Not only do you need to distinguish your brand from others, but you need to have a brand that isn’t even a close spelling of another product. If I sold a product called a “pespi,” I would be in a world of pain trying to market it online.
We would like to keep the search engines out of these types of processes, and they want to stay out of them as well. Google’s vision is to “organize the world’s information.” No part of that says anything about governing or changing that information. The unfortunate truth is that online marketing is growing rapidly, and to keep up you need to capitalize on the traffic that Google and the others can drive. So, pick your product names carefully, and market the heck out of them.