You Ask, I Answer: Overcoming Similarly Named Brands in SEO?

Natasha asks, “I found out that SERP for your name is shared with a namesake, an actor. I wonder, what would you recommend to someone in a similar situation, but who doesn’t have online presence of your magnitude, and just starts working on a personal brand and sees that an influential namesake occupies most of the positions?”

There are a few ways to handle this. Some people will adopt a stage name that’s more unique, so that they’re more easily found. Others, like my friend and colleague David Meerman Scott, will use their full name. Finally, you can optimize for your topic area with your name. Otherwise, the SEO strategy is pretty much the same. Watch the video for full details.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s video Natasha asks, I found out that the search engine ranking position the search result for your name is shared with a namesake and actor I wonder, what would you recommend to someone in a similar situation but who doesn’t have have online presence of your magnitude or just starts working on a personal brand and sees that an influential namesake occupies most of the positions? Well, it’s true.

I do share a name with the late actor, Christopher Penn, he died in 2007, I believe so that that was a challenge in the early days.

Now, there are a few ways to handle this.

First, some people adopt a stage name, some people will pick a stage name that is more unique, that is something that they can brand that that something they can own and not have to worry about the name conflict.

And that approach probably takes the longest but is certainly the most, I would say most effective.

Because you once you’ve created an unusual name, it’s yours, it’s highly unlikely somebody else is going to choose that name.

celebrities do this all the time.

Stephanie Giammetti is actual Stephanie GMA stage name is Lady Gaga, everybody knows that one, that one’s pretty easy, but it took years for, for her to be able to have a brand around that.

Other folks use full extensions of their names.

My friend, David meermann, Scott said that he chose that name for his for his professional career, because there are a tremendous number of David Scott’s in the world.

So by using his middle name, he was able to do that.

And I know for, for folks, depending on your culture and your heritage, you may have choice of middle names.

If I recall correctly, Russian folks use Patrick him as part of the middle name.

So certainly, if you were to use your patronage, along with the rest of your name, that would be a distinguishing factor.

And finally, and the approach that I ended up taking was that it’s actually funny because even the deceased actor and I have the same middle initial.

The you can optimize for your topic area with your name.

And you’ll see this the most in Search Console and your search results when you see like Christopher Penn and marketing or Christopher Penn and artificial intelligence or Christopher Penn and machine learning.

However, the overall SEO strategy is pretty much the same as anything else.

Regardless of the naming conflict.

Reporting is more difficult gold, but this your strategy is the same.

And that is you have to create large amounts of high quality content, you have to create large amounts of newsworthy or search worthy content that people will look for.

And my recommendation is if the name is a problem, like Chris Penn, then you focus on unbranded search.

First, you focus on dominating search results for an unbranded term to attract traffic to your website.

And then over time, and it takes a lot of time, you will start to see the branded searches creep up as well as you become better known as you become more authoritative on your topic.

For years, my blog had nothing to do with my name, but was about the individual topics that I wrote about social media monitoring, and Google Analytics and things like that.

And that still forms the majority traffic.

So regardless of whether or not you have an easy to find name, you have to go after the unbranded search first to attract that new audience.

And then use that traffic retargeting and every other tactic you can think of to bring in to bring that audience back for branded search these days, still true, you need to have a lot of content, you need to have a tremendous amount of high quality content.

What I’m doing today, probably isn’t enough, right.

So I’m doing a daily video plus daily audio plus, a blog post plus social media promotion plus a weekly newsletter.

That’s not enough content.

Today, you need to be doing ideally, if you have the budget, and the the resources and the time to pull it off, you should be doing probably five to 10 pieces of content, if you’re doing nothing else that was there.

If building your personal brand was your sole focus, that’s what you should be doing.

Who would be who would have the time to do that somebody who’s a job seeker.

For example, if you are in between yellow sending out 50 or 100, job applications a day, and doing outreach and connection on LinkedIn and building a community you should also be cranking out content like crazy.

This is going to get worse.

As companies, particularly deep pocketed companies have the ability to use artificial intelligence and natural language generation to have machines write content for them.

This is going to become a much greater challenge for the smaller entrepreneur who may not have access to that kind of technology.

So my advice and counsel would be, regardless of the uniqueness of your name, regardless of the current strength of your brand, good or bad.

You have an urgent need to be building content to get creating a community to be building loyalists to you and your company as quickly as possible and as soon as possible so that when companies do start flooding the their websites with 1000 blog posts a day.

You will not see organic search for unbranded search dry up, right, that’s where that’s where you’re going to see the biggest impact of these natural language generation technologies.

So if you want to build that personal brand right now you need to be creating content that is that can occupy a niche niche in unbranded search.

Right now get the traffic, get the conversions, get people on your email lists, get people in a private group of some kind, not Facebook groups.

Please are not LinkedIn groups, not anything that has an algorithm that can suppress people seeing your content, slack discord matter, most any of those would be fine.

build those champions for your brand today.

The one thing that the AI approach can’t scale is human interaction too.

So make sure that you are attending as many events and as conferences and things as is reasonable and affordable with whatever budget you have to work with whether it’s local meetups, if you have no budget, whether it’s the biggest conferences in the world, if you can, you know pay to be on the stage, whatever range that is.

That’s what you’re going to need to build your brand.

So good question.

Natasha interesting question because there are a lot of considerations now that there weren’t when I first started my website 12 years ago, but when you’re competing for a popular term, you got to create better stuff than then what the leader is creating and ideally in a different niche.

So as always, please subscribe to the YouTube channel and to the newsletter.

I will talk to you soon.

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