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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin Strempel

3 Reasons Why UArizona's Name Change for SEO is a Bad Idea

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

University of Arizona (U of A or UA) officially changes its nickname from UA to UArizona for SEO and there are big opinions on this...

Looking at this from the perspective of brand strategy, SEO strategy and an Arizonan, I think "UArizona" did it all wrong!

UArizona made a statement that this name change comes due to SEO purposes and improving their SEO; however they didn't go into detail about what exactly they wanted to improve, how they wanted to improve it and and why! So today we are going undercover to look at this from a few different angles...

What WERE they really thinking? And Why does this still not make any sense for SEO? Time to get to the bottom of this!

From an SEO standpoint, I want to walk you through what I'm seeing and what I think U of A should have done to improve their SEO.

1. U of A Currently Shows up 2nd When you Search for "UA" in Google

Why it's a good thing that they are showing up 2nd...

When you type in "UA" into Google, Under Armour shows up first in Google THEN University of Arizona, and then United Airlines. They are obviously getting found here!

And according to UberSuggest there are currently 90,500 searches for "UA" a month! That means University of Arizona is currently being seen around 90,500 searches for that term!!

My bet is that a huge chunk of these people weren't thinking about UofA before this search. And while some of these people might not be UofA's target market I would still argue that a big part of Under Armour's target market (young athletic men and women) IS actually a great target for U of A too!

These people who wouldn't otherwise think of U of A are actually SEEING that school and therefore U of A is automatically making their way into these people's lives who otherwise would never have actually searched for "University of Arizona."

Why it's bad to switch focus from UA to UArizona...

Changing their SEO focus from "UA" to "UArizona" will devalue their SEO strength in UA and it will ultimately affect their rank, and then will decrease their reach to those 90,500 searches EVERY month!

What could have been done instead...

Alright at this point I have to speculate that there is some ego-play here and that they just really want to be #1 and #2 isn't good enough for them. Well, ok, we all have our POV's here so can't argue with that, but then why just not pay for Google Ads?

According to the screen shot I shared above, the cost per click is dirt cheap for the keyword "UA". You have enough money to get to the very tip top, U of A! ...Maybe you should look into this (and p.s. my team can set this up for you)

2. If Searchers Are Actually Looking for University of Arizona when typing in "UA" they will STILL Find the School Even Though They Aren't #1

Why this makes no SEO sense..

Ok, so it doesn't make sense that they are changing their name for SEO purposes for more impressions because "UA" has WAY more search volume than UArizona and it more than likely always will as long as Under Armour and United Airlines are around.

SO Maybe they think that people actually searching for University of Arizona are typing in "UA", then not looking past the first result? Okay, I really hope that's not the case because that's just crazy talk and I hate to entertain this idea because it really shows how bad this SEO professional is if this theory holds true...

Even if this theory were true...

Even if this were to be true (people not looking past the first result listed), more than likely these searchers will just go back to the search bar and type in "University of Arizona" or "U of A" if their first pass at "UA" didn't work out for them... so either way they are going to make their way to the U of A website.

Truth-bomb time...

Let's get real here...If you are searching on Google for a brand of shoes that your kid really wants for Christmas and you (are lazy so) just type in two letters in your search bar and the shoes don't pop up, are you really going to give up hope that easily and just tell your kid Santa isn't coming this year? Hell to the NO, you are going to get your lazy fingers in gear and actually type in the full name of the brand and maybe even the product name until you find that damn shoe... amiright?

3. But What About the Brand??

I realize that I'm biased here because I'm an Arizona native and have strong ties to the University of Arizona and I've been born and raised on "U of A" ...and everyone I know calls the school U of A. But c'mon...

  • UA = 2 syllables

  • U of A = 3 syllables

  • UArizona = 5 syllables

... who wants to say UArizona? It's a mouthful!! And yes, I know I just gave 90 thousand people shit for being lazy for typing in 2 letters (LOL) but there are generations of football chants, drinking songs, etc. Heritage people... HERITAGE! I just don't see this sticking AT ALL. I don't.

End Rant...

OK, I'm still super confused as to why any SEO expert would have them change their entire nickname just for SEO... SERIOUSLY, though, if you are an SEO professional and you have a theory I truly want to know...

I see no real benefit, especially when weighed against any brand benefit and the amount of work this is going to take...


If this is all a publicity ploy!

If that's the case then touché to you UARIZONA...(cue slow claps)... tou- freakin -ché

Let's open this up for discussion! What are your thoughts? Are you an SEO professional? An AZ local? Let's chat!

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