Just a few short days ago, I wrote a lengthy post about controlling search results for your own personal brand (see: your name). Part of the post details my decision to control results for “Dave Buesing” as opposed to my full name, David Buesing. The main reason was I found David Buesing to be a surprisingly competitive search result. I knew I could own the search page for the abbreviated Dave, and felt comfortable enough embracing that persona online.
Well, after thinking about it a little more, I’ve decided I’m not going to take this David Buesing competition lying down. Do the other David Buesing’s of the world know we’re in a competition? Probably not. Am I going to be writing my own name in this post with a frequency that would make Ricky Henderson question my ego? Probably. Will any of that slow my thunderous ascent to the top of the rankings for ‘David Buesing.’ I really don’t know, but I hope not.
So here goes nothing. Over the course of however long it takes, I’m going to set up a David J. Buesing redirect to my website. My goal is to get this post ranking for my full name, so that, on the off chance that anyone is looking for me, they’ll be able to find me. I’ll be detailing how I approach this here in this post with updates every time I try I new strategy.
Strategy #1) Create This Post – September 3, 2012 – Hey, who knows, maybe including David Buesing in the URI of this blog post, along with a strong page title (and an absurdly high keyword density) will be enough. And if it’s not? Well, then we’ll have to move onto strategy #2.
Update – 9/11/12
After posting this, my primary URL (davebuesing.com) has moved to the 6th position for “David Buesing.” It’s not entirely surprising to me that the home URL (as opposed to this specific post) has taken hold of a ranking. For starters, the site is very new and an XML sitemap has only recently been submitted. It was only a matter of time before Google started indexing the site, and Google’s increasingly impressive (see also: disturbing) ability to interpret searcher intent means searches for “Dave” and “David” could lead to the same results.
So what’s next? Strategy #2 will involve a couple things, namely Schema structured data and a very small sampling of link-building. To come soon.
Strategy #2) Schema – Type=Person
Who Is David Buesing?
[schema type=”person” name=”David Buesing” orgname=”L2TMedia” jobtitle=”Senior SEO Manager” url=”davebuesing.com” description=”SEO Manager, Creative Marketer, and Writer in Chicago.” bday=”1988-04-17″ city=”Chicago” state=”IL” country=”US” ]
I’ve gotten into the potential of structured markups lately, and as you can see, this is my blatant attempt to see if schema info in this blog post will help rankings for David Buesing.
If you’re unfamiliar with Schema, RavenTools recently put together an excellent overview of the subject matter. Coincidentally, Raven also developed the WordPress Schema plugin I’m using to boost my site for “David Buesing.”
Update – 9/29/12
Big news for David Buesing, Chicago’s favorite SEO and borderline megalomaniac: Davebuesing.com is now in the number 3 spot for the search term “David Buesing.”
A few points of interest. Number one, Google is definitely and clearly equating “David Buesing” with “Dave Buesing.” As you can see in the above screenshot, both instances of “Dave Buesing” are bolded for the search “David Buesing.” In this case the Google searcher intent algorithm is spot-on, and I’m glad to see they’re making the connection.
The second thing I noticed, though, was that I was actually able to hold down spots 4-6 with various “davebuesing.com” related posts. One was an archived tags post for “David Buesing,” and another was my resume upload. The other was this post, which of course was my original plan.
In the span of a few days all 3 of these results were dumped off the first page of results. My primary domain is top 3, so I’m not overly concerned, and would actually agree that as far as quality search results go, it’s better to have a tags page from my blog removed. Nonetheless, Google is a constant reminder that your results are constantly in fluctuation.
Strategy #3) DMOZ & Social Profile Linking
Given the above developments, I’m pretty much out on trying to get this specific post to rank for my targeted brand term. My primary site domain is too closely related to the targeted keyword to make a post-specific push, and there’s really no advantage for me here to make that push.
So my latest strategy employs some very basic link-building for davebuesing.com. This is not advanced link-building, and it is not particularly active strategizing. It’s simply the bare bones basic, most passive way to make sure you’re linking to your site in all the right places.
Update – 10/6/12
So how was I rewarded after the simple base of social profile link-building outlined above? Well… I fell a spot to #4 in the SERPs. The good news? Deeper links on davebuesing.com, including this post and 2 tag archive pages now hold the 4-8 spots on the “David Buesing” SERP.
I would never want to de-index those pages or anything since they are performing well here, but I don’t feel great about Google grabbing relatively unimportant tag archive results here. I’m not even looking for that and it’s my site.
I do have to wonder as well if Google’s new exact-match-domain algorithm update in some way impacted the drop from 3rd to 4th. My assumption is still that Google is smart enough to treat davebuesing.com as an exact match for David Buesing. The site is relatively new and the amount of content is limited currently, so an EMD-related drop doesn’t seem out of the question.
Update – 11/27/12
It would seem that Google’s finally adopted this post as the logical ‘davebuesing.com’ result for searches for ‘David Buesing.’ Woot woot!
This post currently ranks 3rd (with authorship) for my legal name, which isn’t half bad. Just losing out right now to the LinkedIn directory for the name (alright, sure) and some stud from Pfugerville, Texas (I can’t compete with that).
For the longest time in between updates, my resume on this site was holding this spot, although that result has since moved to the second page of results. I definitely prefer this switch in the rankings, as this is clearly the post I’d like to rank for ‘David Buesing.’
As with all things Google, there’s no guarantee this post will maintain the 1st page result for my site, but here are my takeaways. How did I get the result I wanted?
1) Time – Clearly, it took a little while for the intended post to really get a foothold for ‘David Buesing.’ I think a big part of the 2 and a half month waiting period can be attributed to the freshness of the site in general. This was only the second post on the site after launching, and any new URL is prone to more fluctuations than a solidified web property. Additionally, as I’ve continued posting to the blog and adding value to the site, I’ve given Google a better idea what this URL provides.
2) Patience – If you had asked me a month ago why my resume page was ranking in the 3rd spot on page 1 for my name, when I’ve clearly tried so desperately to make it this post instead, I really wouldn’t have had a great answer. After all, the SERPs are at the whim of Google and their algorithm updates and ranking volatility. That said, saying “Google’s crazy, don’t look at me!” is a pretty terrible answer. In this case, I have to believe the majority of the somewhat inexplicable fluctuation had to do with the freshness of the site. Plus, content like my resume is actually pretty relevant for my name. It’s not like I wrote a blog post about tennis and it ranked well for “Oil Tycoon.”
3) Logical Keyword Stuffing – Ok, so clearly, if you’ve invested any time at all into how SEO should work, you know ‘keyword stuffing’ is uniformly met with derision by anyone who wants to be taken seriously. Nobody, not Google and not your Grandmother, wants to find a website loaded with targeted, exact-match keyword terms splattered across the page in an illiterate desecration of the English language.
That said, this post here? The one you’re reading? Kind of keyword stuffed. I haven’t exactly been subtle every time I mention ‘David Buesing’ as the focus keyword of this post. Of course, this post is a little more meta than the standard content marketing endeavor. That said, it seems to indicate that, for the right keyword, logical, reasonable keyword… concentration… pays off. As it should. Again, with any content, 95% of your effort should be the natural writing of the piece. But a 5% effort on a focus keyword might pay big dividends. It just has to flow naturally.
Update – 1/21/13
It’s official. We did it. This here experimental blog post, stuffed to the brim with references to David Buesing (yours truly), is showing as the #1 result for “David Buesing” searches (just an exponentially vast search market).
It’s nice to see this SERP finally work itself into a logical order, but you’ll note that the #1 ranking didn’t actually come until the 5 month mark.
Presumably this could have been sped up with some mild link-building. Operating almost purely on ‘logical’ keyword stuffing and on-site optimization, though, the SERP results took their sweet time.
And end of the day, even though I like the way this post ranks for my targeted term now this could all easily change tomorrow. SERP results are incredibly volatile, even for something as non-competitive as my full name. Just look at the course of this SERP! The page has gone from not including my website, to including 4 pages from my website, to just including the core targeted post I initially wanted to rank.
Regardless, I’m curious how long this post will hold the top spot. In theory, it should remain the most relevant post for my name, at least until some young up-and-comer named David Buesing invents a chron0-booster that extends your day by 8 hours and steals all my thunder. I’ll be keeping an eye out just in case.