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A client's site and company is called 'Tranin Communications' (Tranin is her last name).
It ranks well in searches for her name but rather poorly in searches for the name of her site/company.

I realized that this is largely due to* search engines (Google especially) assuming that the query was misspelled and automatically including results for both 'train communications' and 'communications training'. Both of those queries yield many high-ranking sites that completely drown out hers. Sometimes Google even shows results for 'communications training' instead of 'tranin communications', hiding her site altogether.

Is there a way to report an incorrect auto-correction to Google or something I can do to discourage this behavior (e.g. a meta tag)?
My searches have come up cold, any suggestions would be appreciated.

*I've come to this conclusion because her site ranks very highly when the same queries are put in quotes.

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2 Answers

The problem in this particular case is that whilst the "auto-correction" looks wrong to you, for most people on the planet it's probably correct.

But either way, I really don't think there is much you can do about it unfortunately. What you are asking for is a potential tweak in their search algorithm.

Google's default site search does a lot more than simply auto-correct, it attempts to "improve" your search in several ways:

  • suggest spelling corrections and alternative spellings
  • personalize your search by using information such as sites you’ve visited before
  • include synonyms of your search terms to find related results
  • find results that match similar terms to those in your query
  • search for words with the same stem, like "running" when you search for [ run ]

Source: http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&p=g_verb&answer=1734130

However, a user can turn off all these 'improvements' by using the Verbatim tool (option at the bottom of the left hand column). You do not need to use double quotes.

But this is obviously an end user option, it's not something that an individual site can influence. I don't even think a user can set this as their default search.

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This is the answer I was afraid of :) Makes sense though. –  Nathan G. Sep 2 '12 at 17:12
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Also, these things are generated algorithmically. Over time, as users "demand" to see this website directly (ignoring the suggestion), the algorithms will learn not to provide those kinds of suggestions. –  John Mueller Sep 12 '12 at 21:33
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Although I agree with w3d's answer, there might be something that you'd want to try.

I had a quick look at this, and although the unfortunate name/correction it appears that the site doesn't rank #1 for Tranin Communications (in quotes), assuming the site is traningrants.com, and the first page to rank is the about page.

A quick look to some backlink analysis tool revealed that no link is linking that site. (there might be a few, but those tools cannot see any). Some backlinks with the words "tranin communcations" (as the one in this post) pointing to your home page should help to rank #1 at least for the quoted query, and if Google sees some links with the word "tranin" in it, it could think that it's not a spelling mistake afterall. Probably Google will still consider it a spelling mistake even after a few links, but it's worth trying, and if anything you would improve the position of the quoted query.

By the way, be careful not to overdo: overoptimised anchor text might incur in a penalty from Google. (use variations of the anchor text just to be safe)

PS: the homepage might start ranking slightly better in a couple of days or so just for the link in this post, especially if this is the first external link with targeted anchor text to your site.

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Maybe a hyphen in the domain name would have helped? tranin-grants.com? Although a verbatim search for tranin grants does return another page on the site at #7 and hightlights the URL as the match. (I wonder why "communications" was omitted from the domain?) –  w3d Sep 1 '12 at 22:52
    
Interesting point. Apparently Google recognises that "grants" word in the URL (as you noted with the highlighting part), I wonder if an hyphen would've improved the situation? Definitely communications in the URL (even if not in the domain, but in the right part) would've helped ranking (for "tranin communications"). –  milo5b Sep 2 '12 at 9:12
    
Good point, thanks. The site just launched and only has a couple links to it so far. And yes, a different URL likely would have helped, but the client picked that. Not sure of the rationale there. –  Nathan G. Sep 2 '12 at 17:11
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