This week I've been looking at the speakers from Search Engine Strategies in San Jose. I first covered a handful of featured speakers and then moved on to the search marketers themselves. I've found that that many of us in the industry are good at teaching things that need to be done but often overlook those very things when it comes to our own stuff. I'm no exception, of course, as Jackie pointed out in the comments yesterday.

Jordan Kasteler

I started my search for Jordan with his name. Topping the list in the first two spots is Jordan's personal SEO site. Next is Jordan's LinkedIn page, followed by an interview on another blog. The rest of the results are all Jordan centric with various profiles and interview links. Jordan had done a fantastic job branding himself and tying it in with his Utah SEO Pro site. Unfortunately that doesn't provide much benefit to his employer,, who I assume pays his way to these shows. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm going to skip the search for the company name as I'm sure we all know how that will turn out.

Jill Whalen
High Rankings

Jill has been a household name in the industry for just about as long as the industry existed. It's no surprise, then that a search for her name produces results that are all about her. Her company with sitelinks appears in the top position with her newsletter page coming up in number two. Next is her wikipedia page and then several profile pages, blog posts and interviews.

What I'm most surprised about is that Jill also dominates the top results for her business name. Not because she shouldn't, but because her business name is also a generic keyword, in a sense. The first two spots are taken by her site, with sitelinks, and then her forum. Jill has two more spots on the first page with the rest going to various pages discussing how to get high rankings.

Randy Pickard
User Centric Inc.

Looking for Randy Pickard in Google isn't as clean as the previous two. There isn't anything that immediately jumps out at me as ensuring me that the Randy I'm looking for is actually in these results. I actually have to click around to see if I've found the right guy.

I did find him in the second position which linked to his profile in a business directory. The next few results are various profiles, but it's difficult to know if any of these are the Randy we are looking for. Some make vague references to marketing so it's likely him, but I just don't know. There is a definite 9th spot result that leads to Randy's Search Engine Strategies profile. Again, in these results there is nothing that might lead me to Randy's company, User Centric.

That leads me to perform searches for the company name. The search produces the company in the top spot, but because that the company name here is also a general keyword, none of the rest of the results appear to be relevant.

While Randy can obviously be found with either search, a lot can be done to improve his branding in the search results.

William Flaiz
Avenue A | Razorfish

First results for William's name, if you spell it correctly, is his Search Engine Watch profile followed by a recent article he's written on the same site. Next up are several profile pages, what appears to be a personal blog and a few other miscellaneous posts. There is but one lone link to a PDF on the Avenue A | Razorfish website.

Next I performed a search for the company name, or rather, a part of the company name, "avenue a". Not suprisingly they take the top spot immediately followed by a wikipedia page and then a link to their parent company, aQuantitive. Two more of the top ten results reference the company with the rest going out to different companies and products by the same name.

A third search, this time for "razorfish" produces results more dominated by the company. In fact, all 10 results have something or other to do with the company or its employees (or ex-employees in one case).


Well, I think that will wrap this series up for this year. It seems that many search marketers are doing a far better job branding themselves in the search results than they were last year. Overall I found fewer gaps and almost all were much easier to find. Last year I remember having to perform several searches just to find some of the people I was looking for. Not so this year, where most were readily found, and in the top spots.

This either means that search marketers are paying better attention to their own names or that search engines are doing a better job and finding them. Or a combo of both.

August 27, 2008

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.


The other thing to consider is what happens when two people have the same name in the same industry.

Earlier this year, we discovered there's a Robert Clough who works in the search industry that is NOT our Robert Clough. Oddly enough, I once boarded a flight from Atlanta to San Jose behind him and saw his airline ticket. Since I hadn't yet met our Robert, you can imagine my confusion. Sheer coincidence.

There's also a Jennifer Laycock that works in search marketing who lives in Australia. I've seen her on LinkedIn.

Seems far more interesting to me when you're not simply getting mixed up with a million other Scott Allen's (though there are none like ours) or the race car driver that shares your name (the other Danny Sullivan) but when there really are two of you doing the same thing. ;)

Of course I think we all know we'll never find another Stoney deGeyter in the world of search.

"Of course I think we all know we'll never find another Stoney deGeyter in the world of search."

Let's hope not. We don't need another breach in the space time continuum. Oops, I've already said too much.

Stoney another great post. More and more consumers who've become dissatisfied with their SEO firms will no longer rely on a potential consultants web site. They'll Google their name. Whether they like it or not, each consultant must look as their name as a brand.

Thank you for helping out with my mediocre visibility on search engines. A challenge is that I recently changed employers, and spend most of my time working on product development on enhanced user experience service that are not quite ready for prime time. So I have not done much to brand myself in the new position with User Centric. However, your well written series of posts makes a good point.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > How Well Do Search Marketers Brand Themselves?, Part II