My Domain Listings

When Using Your Last Name for Your Business May Not be Local Search Friendly

A Pattern with Doctors and Attorneys

Why do so many doctors and lawyers use their last name for their private practice and for the name of their website?

Using the fictitious names “Stanley Doakes” and “Louise Doakes,” let me present a few examples to illustrate this phenomenon.

Scenario #1

A doctor named Stanley Doakes lives in Ashland, Georgia. Doctor Doakes has decided to start a small medical practice entitled “Doakes Medical Clinic.” He then purchases the following domain name for his soon-to-be-built website: DoakesMedicalClinic.com.

Scenario #2

An attorney named Louise Doakes lives in Fairview, Missouri. Louise Doakes just graduated from law school and has decided to form a small legal practice called “Doakes Law Firm.” She then registers the following domain name for her website that soon will be constructed by her webmaster: DoakesLawFirm.com.

A Pattern Emerges

Do you see a pattern here? I do and I have a few ideas what’s going on. First, naming a business after your last name seems to make a lot of sense. After all, doctors and lawyers have spent many years in undergrad and grad school and have probably worked very hard for their degree. As the saying goes, why not “make a name for yourself” in your chosen profession by using your last name as the name of your business? And second, I think that doctors and lawyers have been using their last names for their business for so long that doing so has become part of the “conventional wisdom.”

What if the Conventional Wisdom is Out-of-Date?

Question. What if the “conventional wisdom” of the past doesn’t make much sense in today’s business world due to some major changes? For instance, back in the day before the Internet, naming a business after your last name seemed to be a logical choice. Now, however, with the Internet, small business owners need to be concerned with how new customers and clients find their business online. Translation: local businesses need to be found via local search if they are to be successful.

A Different Perspective

Building on this thought, let’s put things in a different perspective regarding the above two scenarios.

In the first scenario, we have Doctor Doakes from Ashland, Georgia who is starting a medical practice called “Doakes Medical Clinic.” Question. From a local search and from a realistic business perspective, wouldn’t Doctor Doakes be better off if he were to buy the local domain name “AshlandDoctors.com” rather than “DoakesMedicalClinic.com?”

In the second scenario, we have Louise Doakes from Fairview, Missouri who is starting a small legal practice called “Doakes Law Firm.” Again, from a local search and from a practical business standpoint, wouldn’t Louise Doakes be better off if she were to register the local domain name “FairviewAttorneys.com” rather than “DoakesLawFirm.com”?

What say you?

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