While I was live blogging the search engine strategy sessions last week I was often in a hurry to find links to each presenter's website. Come to find out it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. In some cases I was able to find a speaker's company name fairly easily with a quick Google search. But other times I was left actually guessing to make sure I found the company I was looking for.

The thing about branding yourself, or at least positioning your brand name where people look, is that those looking don't always know your brand they way you think they should. Even when it's right in front of them. More than a few times while I was searching for some of these companies I inadvertantly searched for the incorrect name. For whatever reason my brain transposed words or letters that made perfect sense as I searched, but wasn't the "branded" name I was looking for. This made finding some companies ever more difficult.

So for fun, I thought I'd run through the speakers of Search Engine Strategies, San Jose 2007 and see how well each of them are branded for their name and company name. For the sake of brevity, I'll only discuss those speakers who's sessions I had the pleasure of enjoying.

Matt Bailey, Site Logic Marketing
A search for Matt Bailey brings up Matt's blog in the #1 position with his bio page directly below that. In the third position is his bio at search engine guide, then his business website taking up the next two spots below that. If you're really looking for Matt, you can't miss him! Looking for his company name, a search for Site Logic and Site Logic Marketing both produce the company's website in the number one and two spots. I did notice something interesting here, both sitelogic.com and sitelogicmarketing.com produce the same sites. 301 anyone?

Stephen Baker, Everyzing
Searching for Stephen Baker doesn't produce any results that jump out at me as being for the person I'm looking for. Except one. The number nine position is to Baker's SES bio page. Not surprisingly a search for Everyzing puts the company in the top spot, not to mention other pages mentioning the company name filling out the results.

Brad Berens, iMedia Communications
A search for Brad Berens brings up his bio page on the iMedia website in the number one position, while also claiming results in the number two, six, seven, eight and nine positions. Brads blog is the seventh. I searched for iMedia which shows the company I'm looking for in the top spot above several other "iMedia" sites that don't look to be related.

Chris Boggs, Brulant eMergent Marketing
Results for Chris Boggs dominate the top five positions and holding eight of the top 10. None of these, however, appear to go to any kind of official company site with the exception of the number two spot pointing to his blog. A search for Brulant puts his company in the tops spot as does the alternate name of eMergent Marketing. A search just for eMergent is a bit more troublesome with no top ten results appearing to be relevant.

Jeremy Clem, DoubleClick
A search for Jeremy Clem produces his SES bio in the top spot and then recaps of his SES session in the three and four position. Searching for Double Click puts results related to the company in eight of the top ten spots (including a wikipedia entry) while Doubleclick fills all then results. Company website takes top honors for both searches.

Barbara Coll, WebMama.com
A search for Barbara Coll brings her website up in the top two spots. The number three spot is a not-so-flattering Threadwatch thread regarding her and SEMPO. The rest of the top 10 results all look to be directly related to her. Searching for the company name can be a bit tricky. Options include webmama, web mama, webmamma and web mamma. The proper company name is WebMama. Let's start with a search for WebMamma. Top result is a B to B directory which contains a link to the true site. Four results down is the webmama.com site in the search results with a profile of Barbara one spot above. A search for Web Mamma produces ten non-related results. If you perform a search for Web Mama Google is kind enough to suggest "Did you mean: webmama". Barbara's website still comes up first and foremost, but none of the other ten results are related. Which leaves WebMama, putting her site and blog in the first three spots with a few others scattered among the top ten.

Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz
The top result on a search for Rand Fishkin is Rand's profile page on SEOmoz, with the home page directly beneath. A couple of spots down is Rand's personal blog which I didn't even know he had and appears to be no longer active as of earlier this year. No suprise that all of the top 10 results are all Rand all the time! My first company name search is for SEO moz which put the company website front and center with the blog directly beneath. Google is helpful to suggest SEOmoz which produces the same top two results and the rest related.

Jonathan Hochman, Hochman Consultants
Google suggests "jonathan richman" after a search for Jonathan Hochman, but we do find his website in the top two positions with the rest of the results related to him. Searching for Hochman Consultants returns the same two top spots and the rest of the results related.

Gordon Hotchkiss, Enquiro Search Solutions
A search for Gordon Hotchkiss shows some branding issues in the results. The top spot goes to his SES profile, third to his PubCon profile and it's not until the fifth result that you get his company site. A search for Enquiro returns the company site in the top two positions with a related site in the three and four positions. Company related results fill all top ten spots.

Greg Jarboe, SEO-PR
Top spot for a search for Greg Jarboe goes to his company site. In fact, all top ten spots look related, including a link to a YouTube video. A search for SEO PR isn't much different, though TopRank holds the number three spot with a few other spots not company related.

Detlev Johnson, Position Technologies
You can certainly find Detlev Johnson on a search for his name, but I'm having a hard time pinpointing a company website within the results. Lots of profiles and article pages, though. I then performed a search for Position Tech to find the company site taking top honors as they do with a search for Position Technologies.

Rebecca Kelley, SEOmoz
The top of the results for Rebecca Kelly show three images, one of which is the CutieMoz in question. Top results below that are Rebecca's profile page on SEOmoz.

Jennifer Laycock, Search Engine Guide
No surprise here. A search for Jennifer Laycock puts her Search Engine Guide bio page front and center. Number three is her Lactivist blog. An interesting number ten entry is a bio page for Wendy Boswell on About.com. Jennifer's name is nowhere on the page. Guess them old links are still providing juice. Just to stir things up I search for Search Guide instead of Search Engine Guide. SEG comes up number two and three. Searching for Search Engine Guide puts the site in the top spot.

Bonus: Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Strategies
Danny didn't moderate any sessions I attended but he serves as a great example of how name branding should be. A search for Danny Sullivan brings up several websites, all related to the Danny Sullivan we know and love. These include Search Engine Watch (which Danny is no longer associated with) first, then Daggle, Danny's personal blog. Below that is Search Engine Land, the site that replaced Search Engine Watch as Danny's first love and Calafia, Danny's consulting services site. Finally, the #10 results brings up a Wikipedia page for a different Danny Sullivan. If you perform a search for Search Engine Strategies, the main website comes right to the top of the results. Exactly where it should be. Just for fun I performed an additional search for SES San Jose and the page for the 2007 conference actually came up second, just below the 2005 San Jose conference.

There is still some interesting stuff to come in Part II, including dissecting my own branding, or lack thereof. Stay tuned for that post next week.

August 29, 2007

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Hi there,

Just to help your readers find my site, I have operated a site (www.searchreturn.com) for some time. I recently left PositionTech and now operate SearchReturn full time.

Thanks for the mention!

Best regards,

Stoney deGeyter's alphabetical rankings of speakers at San Jose is interesting but not terrbly relevant. Whilst it may display the ability to show up their various sites for their name search I always say to clients they must assume their potential customer has never heard their name and instead searches for the product or service they are looking for.
Regards from Australia,
John Leach

Sorry John, but you're 100% wrong on it not being relevant. Each of these speakers put themselves in front of hundreds, if not thousands of people who are looking to learn. Many of these learners will go back home and want to learn a bit more about each of the speakers. Not all will immediately reference the SES handbook, but instead go to Google or other search engine of choice. What searches will they perform? The very searches I performed.

On the other hand, to the average SEO customer, getting listed for keywords is usually more important than their name, but if you can't even be found for your name, you're in a place to LOSE a lot of repeat business. You can't build a business on new customers alone. Repeat business is essential.

I am glad to see that Google has finally stopped asking people if they mean 'webmemo' when they type in 'webmama'. [Thanks to webmama team member Lid Davis for working with Google to make this happen.]

Comments closed after 30 days to combat spam.

Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > A Look at Search Engine Strategies Speakers and How Well They Brand Themselves, Part I