Monday I discussed several of the featured speakers from Search Engine Strategies and looked at their search results branding for their names and businesses. It turned out not to be as enjoyable as I had hoped as all of them have very high visibility. Not that I wanted to point out anybody's faults, but hey, that's kinda the fun.

Today I want to look at several of the search marketers themselves. To see how well they are branded in the search results and see if we can pinpoint any gaps. In Monday's post I added a disclaimer that you might want to read if you feel you or someone you love is being attacked. They're not.

Matt McGee

Matt has done a great job of dominating the top results in Google. The first result is his Small Business SEM blog, with a handful of site links to boot. The next spot is his "about" page from the same blog.

The third result is a different Matt McGee but then Matt's personal blog is back in the fourth result. The next two results are Matt's Flickr pages. Next is another unrelated result, then Matt again, with a link to his Twitter profile, profile for the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference and then a blog post interviewing Matt and some others.

Not a bad roundup, with all but two of the top 10 links pointing to Matt. What is noticeably absent here are any links to the company where Matt works, KeyRelevance. While Matt is relatively new to the company, this shows that they have some work to do in order to capitalize on his name.

So let's move on to searches for the company. I started with a misspelling of the name, by adding a space between the two words, "key relevance". Even still, the company's home page came right to the top of the results with several sitelinks. The second result was another page from the site.

The next three results were all unrelated job postings looking for "Key Relevance Engineers". In fact, there are no additional top ten results related to the company in question.

I perform one final search for "keyrelevance" and find that all 10 results are related to the company in some form or another. Again, the number one spot and sitelinks go to the company and the second result is another article from the site. The next couple of of results are blog postings on Search Engine Watch by Liana Evans, also of KeyRelevance. There were also a couple of blog posts about Matt McGee joining the KeyRelevance team.

If you're looking for either Matt McGee or KeyRelevance, there is no doubt that you will have no trouble finding them on Google.

Scott Allen

Scott has the distinct privilege of having one of those "common" names that make it extremely difficult to brand in the search results. In fact, none of Google's top ten spots point to the Scott we are looking for. This leaves us to perform searches for his company.

I started, as I usually do, with misspellings, just to see what comes up. In this case I start with "hybrid six." Unfortunately, nothing here leads me to Scott's company.

Let's try again with "hybrid 6". While there is still an extra space in there, Scott's company pops up in the first two results, one to his home page and the next to the page dedicated to the WordPress SpamFree plugin he developed. That's all we get from that search. While that is enough to get us where we want, let's try the correct spelling.

I search for "hybrid6" and saw a pretty drastic change in results, though Google asks if I meant "hybrid 6". Scott's not quite enough of a name to prevent that. Anyway, the first two results are the same from the previous search. The next couple of results are profile pages from other site's, with the fifth result unrelated. But that's the only non-related result. The rest are more profile pages all related.

Joe Abraham

Joe has the same curse as Scott, when it comes to branding ability. A common name makes branding hard. There were several Joe Abrahams in the SERPs but none are the Joe we are looking for.

So let's move on to the company search. I start with "sage rock" and the company name gets top billing. Second result is one of Sage Lewis' videos on WebProNews. There are several more results dedicated to SageRock and Sage Lewis. There are few oddball listings for Sage's Rock Rat, Sage Rock Ranch, Sweet Sage in Rock Springs, etc. but Sage (Rock and Lewis) have a good handful of top ten results.

Performing a final search for "sagerock" and we find that all top ten results are dedicated to the company and various profiles and portals. Everything from Twitter, to YouTube to his own .org site, Sage dominates these results.


I'll offer a disclaimer here, both Matt McGee and Scott Allen are good friends of mine. I don't think that in any way biased my findings or the way I presented them. The only caveat is that I actually knew that Matt was new to KeyRelevance. I may not know of similar situations with others.

August 26, 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.


Kinda sucks for Matt McGee dentist, worship leader, and others. :)

well, there is that. But then they are not search marketers... they got no business being there! ;-)

Stoney deGeyter
Pole Position Marketing

Stoney, unlike the rest of us, is blessed with a totally uncommon name. A Google search for Stoney de Geyter, with all of the spaces pulls up an incredibly brief blog post on some site called Hazelnut Tech Talk. It references Stoney in the title and has a few brief sentences that may or may not be quotes, but who knows. Number two is a lovely Flickr photo of Debra pursing her lips at Stoney at a SmallBusinessSEM get together. Number three is a short blog post from Stoney's site, letting people know he's headed to Portland. Other top 10 results include recaps from conference sessions in which Stoney was a panelist. My personal favorite is a blog post comparing SEOs to super heroes - Stoney was the Green Arrow.

Stoney deGeyter no space isn't quite as interesting. It pulls up several pages first, then a Search Engine Guide bio, another SEG page, and some conference bios and recaps. He's got it easy though; with a name like Stoney deGeyter he should be able to dominate!


now see, I was going to do me last... but you beat me to it.

Face it, Jackie... I dominate anyway!

Back in the old days new movie stars changed their names to fancier ones that smacked of glamour and success.

Maybe 'people branding' will have to include name changing too. After all, our names have become keywords haven't they?

That's a good point, Carolyn, but remember we actually did that in the early days. Everybody used an alias. It's only been in the last several years that search marketers have been using their real names. That, I suppose, was so people actually knew who they were when speaking at conferences and the like!

With a name like Kennedy I have some tough competition to beat but searching on ewan kennedy (without quotes but with a space) currently brings my personal website,, and business website,, onto page 1. There's no doubt that personal branding will become more and more important in future.

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