SEO Branding

What do you want in an SEO?

No, no, I’m not talking actual skills here. I’m talking about the other stuff. The fun stuff.

Over at SEO Scoop, Donna has added an What I’m Watching page where readers can find out what primetime television shows she’s due to be tuning into on any given night. Meanwhile, Rand Fishkin shared a few of his favorite Web games (Poom is awesome, by the way) over at SEOmoz this weekend, and elsewhere SEOs are asking for Halloween costume suggestions and sharing a whole lot of personal tidbits that have nothing to do with SEO.

But why are they doing it? Is it “just for fun” or is it part of building that highly sought-after community image?

It’s a little bit of both.

There’s an interesting thread over at SEW that I think goes along with this quite nicely. It’s entitled Link Building vs. Link Branding and asks which is more effective – the building or the branding. Obviously, both are important. You want to build links, but you wanting to be building the right links, the ones that will help strengthen your brand and the image you’re hoping to create.

What I found particularly amusing was that poor Matt Cutts was thrown into the conversation and members started speculating if Matt would still be Cuttlet-worthy if he left Google and starting working for some smaller company. Would Matt still be Matt or would people stop caring?

Personally, I think people would still be interested in Matt because he’s more than Matt from Google. He’s Matt from the blog.

If all Matt Cutts did was blog about Google, then perhaps he’d be in jeopardy of falling away once he left, but he doesn’t. We hear about Emmy and his wife’s vacation habits and his penchant for rearranging the house’s lighting system when it’s time to make an SEO video. Matt’s our SEO friend and he’d be our friend no matter where he ventured off to (but please don’t go anywhere, Matt!).

The personal tidbits SEOs and bloggers reveal in their writings help to brand their professional image. For example, Matt’s a quirky nerd; Rand’s a hot geek who plays with Transformers; Danny Sullivan is the all-business SEO at SEW who turns into an Eliza-Dushku-loving Post-It organizer over at Daggle, and Kim’s the cool mom with the orange pots, etc.

I like the extra insights I get because I like seeing people’s true personalities come out. If we were stranded in a room together and all we were given to amuse ourselves was one rubber ball, what would you do with it? Are you the type of person who would bore me to death playing catch with the wall, or are you, like me, the type of person who would try to get the ball to hit all four walls (twice…and maybe even the ceiling) before dropping?

Knowing how you play gives me a good idea of how you work. If I’m a client reading your blog or a competitor trying to learn how you run your company, that’s invaluable information. I want to know that you’re the kind of person to think outside the box, that you’re wacky with an abundance of energy. It’s also a great way to distinguish yourself from all the other SEO bloggers out there and to show what your company is really about.

I think Donna’s What I’m Watching page is a great idea. I like getting an insight into what Donna’s like beyond what I read on the forums or elsewhere on the Internet. [And I admit I got a giggle reading Rand trying to convert her into the Veronica Mars cult. Why do VM fans do that?] [Because Veronica Mars is great. Tuesday night at 9 on CW. –Susan] — Remember how we talked about you leaving the house sometimes? It may also turn into a great link-to item for SEO Scoop if her TV-watching habits start to get amusing. That What I’m Watching page has Friday Recap written all over it.

And that’s the thing about personal posts, they make for great links. They’re fun and lighthearted and people love passing them around. How many people have probably forwarded Rand’s selection of mindless Internet games? I know I spent my fever-ridden Saturday playing Poom for an embarrassingly long stretch of time.

The personal stuff is important. It creates a friendly atmosphere, it shows you’re not taking yourself too seriously and helps people get a better idea of who you are. I mean, you can only learn so much by stalking people’s MySpace pages, right?


Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

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