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I have just started running ohanafilms.co.uk (Northamptonshire UK) and I have received a email from a chap who runs ohanafilms.com (Hawaii USA) who has advised me and asked me to change my name as it will directly affect my google search results and ranking but will also affect his.

Firstly, is this true?

Secondly, I would have thought with the content on my site referring to everything Northamptonshire UK Google would be smart enough to ignore the name and base its results on content?

Thridly, should I change my business name considering I have just spent some cash on business cards, domain etc?

I'm looking for the best advice please, the above might seem stupid or dumb but I want to make things right and not burn any bridges or go into legal matters etc.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I do agree in the most part with the other answers, and I want to say "No; it doesn't matter", however, there are a couple of points I'm having trouble to shake in this instance that I can't help but feel will at least cause some confusion and worst lose some business...

You both have the same company name and you both offer the same service in the same language (but in different locations).

In local search for targeted keywords you will hopefully win through, however, for searches on your company name I feel this might be a bit of a struggle. I'm in the UK and if I search for ohana films on google.co.uk I get the .com company at #1 (in fact they appear to occupy the top 4 spots in one form or another - they have two similar domains). Your .co.uk appears to be at #7 currently. Now the problem here is that if I click the top result I get to a site with the subject matter I am expecting - it looks like it could be the site I'm looking for! It could take me a while to realise that it's not the company I'm after, particularly since they don't publish an address at the top of their landing page.

So, at the moment at least, you can't just say to someone, "search Google for ohana films", or if someone has remembered your name from a flyer or been passed on by word of mouth - they need to be specific about the tld.

This might just be the newness of your domain (a few months, as opposed to a few years for the .com), but it's hard to say.

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Exactly what I was looking for –  Adam Mann Pro Feb 17 at 7:10

This isn't true but, there is some merit for the concern. The following quote, although argues a different issue, covers this (and I explain more about it later on)

Some businesses are worried that competitors will buy keyword oriented domains thereby pushing their own site into obscurity. This can lead to a panic shopping spree of domains. The idea is that as long as they own the available domains, there is less chance of a competitor beating them in the rankings. While there is some merit to this tactic, it will have no effect on your SEO at all...

Source

As you can read in the abstract article above, having the same or similar domain names doesn't mean it will have an impact on your site.

My advice, is you keep your business name and the domain name. Unless you both happen to be selling the exact same products, with the exact same descriptions etc, then Google will read the content and realise both the sites are unique and (assume) independent of each other.

Now, I can't view your site at work (it is blocked) but since the domain name has the words films in it, I'll assume you both have somehting to do with films. If you're both advertising films/selling films then this may be confusing for Google, especially if you're using the same films (the same content). However, even if that is the case, it still doesn't mean you'll be penalised, esepcially if your audience is different (EG, you only sell film to UK and they only to USA):

Websites that provide content for different regions and in different languages >sometimes create content that is the same or similar but available on different URLs. >This is generally not a problem as long as the content is for different users in >different countries. While we strongly recommend that you provide unique content for >each different group of users, we understand that this may not always be possible. >There is generally no need to "hide" the duplicates by disallowing crawling in a >robots.txt file or by using a "noindex" robots meta tag.

Source

And lastly, since you're separate from the other company, I'm going to guess the content is different, despite the focus/topic may be similar. Even little things, such as spelling will help Google realise that the focus is for a specific demographic.

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your a gent and scholar, I had already looking at this examples and pretty much made up my mind on the same conclusions but was looking for a definite answer from someone who know what they are doing –  Adam Mann Pro Feb 17 at 7:11
    
@AdamMannPro, pleasure, hopefully it will work out fine for you. –  Dave Feb 17 at 8:42

I also say no! Don't make any changes. Another point to consider is that major search engines do look at domain name registrations and other metrics and will see that these sites are completely different and will treat them as such.

I would however, make sure that your content is different enough that it is clear that they are two separate sites. As well, make sure that you mark-up your address, telephone number, and such to help make the distinction clear.

I would put this one out of your mind. It sounds like a whacked out request to me.

Take this point: One day I realized that another consultant was working the same IT circuit as I was in D.C. with exactly the same name. He also lived one block over and around the corner a couple of houses. I introduced myself. It was an honest situation and we laughed about it. I incorporated my name and flew under that banner (as an Inc) while he continued to work as he always had. There never was any confusion. Just a funny story to tell. It sounds like you have a funny story to tell too. Stick with that.

Good Luck!

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these are all great answers and exactly what I was looking for and had come to the conclusion anyway, I just wanted to make sure Iw as thinking straight –  Adam Mann Pro Feb 17 at 7:10

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