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What prompted University of Arizona to change its acronym for SEO?

The ways of implementing SEO are changing very fast. Therefore, marketers must learn the ropes quickly to stay relevant and effective. As SEO is changing, so also the mindset of marketers must change to embrace new strategies and techniques based on the latest technological developments. Gone are the days when keyword volumes and links were powerful enough to change the SEO fortunes. As the SEO landscape undergoes quick changes, webmasters are engaging in innovative techniques to maintain high visibility of websites.

If you have followed the search results of the University of Arizona, you would have observed the use of the acronym ‘UA’.  To describe the university, and it appears everywhere, including the knowledge panel. Last week, the University changed its acronym from ‘UA’ to ‘UArizona’ as reported by AP News to bolster its SEO. What made the shift in University the acronym? The reason is that the University was unable to occupy the top spot in search rankings for search queries containing ‘UA’ because it ranked below other entities like Under Armor, United Airlines, and another university by the name of the University of Alabama in that order.

What prompted the change?

Occupying the top spot in search results is the goal of any business. All top brands and businesses believe in this approach and take measures to ensure that they succeed. To attain high rank, it is imperative to uphold the identity of a business in unambiguous terms. This was not happening for ‘UA’ or the University of Arizona. The simplicity of the acronym created more ambiguity for search engines. That leads to increased competition for the search term on the search result page.

Bad for SEO

When people typed the term ‘UA’ while looking for the University of Arizona, the results threw up several other names. They are with the same acronym and users had to wade through those irrelevant names to find out what they were looking for. This caused a lot of distraction, which worked against the SEO objectives by providing a less than satisfactory search experience. When people were searching for the term ‘UA’ with the University of Arizona in mind, not only would the University fail to rank first, but at the same time, a competing school overtook them.

An easy tweak

Tweaking the acronym from ‘UA’ to ‘UArizona’ has helped to regain the first place in search results very well. The tweak was relatively easy because it did not require changes to the domain name or URL structure that could have made things quite difficult. Since the keyword is an acronym and not the full official name, it helped to avoid building its SEO right from the start.

Most importantly, it was far from anything like rebranding but just a little tweak in a keyword that is more generic. The change might be small. Still, the ramifications are quite significant as the original name remains intact, as evident from the tile of the website that displays the University of Arizona. The Twitter handle has also changed and appears as @uarizona.