More threads by spadilla

May 5, 2014
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Hi all! I am having trouble finding a definitive answer to this. I know that when building citations we should use the business' legal name or DBA. I have a client, who has not registered a DBA without "Inc" and suddenly feels like Inc is too formal and wants it removed from all listings across the board.

I've warned them about the issues that arise when making name changes, etc. But, while they are mulling it over, I got curious as to how many local SEOs start out building citations without the INC or LLC on the business name. Many businesses are INCs, but rarely do I see "Joe's Pizza, Inc." online, it's just "Joe's Pizza" or what have you. Most of my clients have never filed a separate DBA under their corporation to leave off the moniker, so I know it's probably not common to do so.

I would love to hear from others as to how you go about building citations for a corporation or LLC - do you use the legal name exactly or leave off the INC?

Thanks in advance!
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I know in Google's Guidelines they say
Your name should reflect your business? real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers.

To me that means a silent LLC that exists in records only is something that Google would even prefer you not to use, though I haven't read much about that either way, so that's just speculation on my part. Your name is definitely an important branding consideration, and I'd err on the side of using a clean name, though if a client had the money to pay me to do a full citation cleanup across the local ecosystem, then I'd probably just tell them to also pay to get a DBA filed as part of it. In Oregon at least, last time I checked it was like $60 or something, though obviously you could spend a lot more depending on who you had do it for you.

If there were already 4,000 results or something though for the client's old name, and it was 100% consistent, that'd be a hard project to justify jumping into even with a DBA.
I think the issue we had previously was that there are government type of databases which have listings for the INC/LLC names which for obvious reasons can't be changed. For example a DBA search on a county website or a corporation search on the state's website. I imagine that if indexed, Google gives these government type databases a decent amount of weight as a source of data. I know that on many government websites this data resides several layers deep, but there are also the 3rd party directories like manta, corporationwiki (et. al.) that seem to use public records to seed their listings.

It seems like in a couple of similar scenarios we've seen that a business starts out, depending on age, with citations pulled from public records and either we go and scrub those (if and when possible) to go with a DBA or we just stay with the formal name.

I would love to know that Google could make sense of a stray listing with INC here or there, but I can't say that I personally feel confident that they can, yet. Maybe I am wrong though.
Darren, thank you for this! I knew the answer must be out there somewhere. I greatly appreciate it.

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