Personal Branding – What a Difference a Year Makes

by danperry on November 16, 2008

in Online Marketing

This post has been named “Best of 2008” by Techipedia.


I started a blog in November of 2007 and took note of where I ranked in the SERP’s for my name (dan perry, no quotes.) This blog post will outline where I ranked then, where I rank one year later, and some lessons learned along the way.

I bought the domain name “” in May of 1998, and used it for a few years as a personal site, but basically abandoned it in the Summer of 2004, and didn’t do anything with it until November, 2007.

I decided to play in the 2007 Pubcon Poker Tournament (which I won, believe ot or not), so I revived the domain, slapped WordPress on it, and added my first post. While I was reviving the domain, I decided to take note of how I appeared in the SERP’s (Google and Yahoo) for my name.

Let’s start with Google. On November 15, 2007, searching for “dan perry” (no quotes), I appeared under the following:


On November 15, 2008, searching for me name yielded the following result:

Couple things to point out.

  • In 2007, I had 6 of the top 40 results, or 15%. In 2008, it ballooned to 16 of the top 40, or 40% (almost tripled).
  • Only two of the results from 2007 are still in the top 40 (LinkedIn and Lee Odden’s TopRankBlog).
  • provided 2 of my 6 results in 2007, but it’s disappeared for 2008.
  • Finally, it’s interesting that a specific picture on Flickr (of my fat cat) appears higher in Google when searching for my name (ranked #11) than the homepage of my Flickr account (#23).

Now let’s look at Yahoo! On November 15, 2007, I ranked for the following searches on my name:

One year later, I rank for the following on Yahoo!:

What sticks out? First, only 5 of the top 40 results in 2007, equaling 12.5%. In 2008, it’s grown to 10 of the top 40, or 25% (doubled). There is zero overlap between 2007 and 2008. None of the sites that I ranked for in 2007 are included in the 2008 list.

Now let’s compare Yahoo and Google together over the past year. Here’s where it gets interesting (at least to me.)

  • In one year, my domain ( is ranked second and first in Google and Yahoo, respectively.
  • Six sites overlap (denoted with bold), and appear in the top 40 for Google and Yahoo both (, FaceBook, Pbase, MyBlogLog, Pubcon and SEOMoz.)
  • Conversely, there are 13 sites that don’t overlap at all.
  • In 2007, I had one ranking in the top 10 for either engine, and now I have 4.

So what are the takeaways? For me, it’s a couple things.

  1. Social media’s worth the effort. Looking at my 2008 Google results, most of the sites are Profile pages from Social Media sites (LinkedIn, Flickr, Facebook, Pbase, MyBlogLog, Twitter, YouTube, AdGabber, Ning, and That’s 10 of 16 listings that I can credit to Social media. If you didn’t believe in it before, here’s your proof.
  2. Don’t only sign-up, but become an active user. I’m very active on LinkedIn (>800 connections)  and Flickr (> 7,000 images and > 3,000 contacts), and Google’s noticed. Those sites rank #3 and #11. Conversely, I’m not that active on YouTube or Digg, and my accounts for them rank at #22 and #39 respectively. My consistent engagement with LinkedIn and Flickr is not going unnoticed by Google.
  3. A personal blog is worth the effort. I’m not the only person named “Dan Perry” in the world, but I do think I may be the only SEO. By applying best practices, and actually blogging on a semi-regular basis, I’m in the top 2 on Yahoo and Google in one year, which is pretty good in my book.
  4. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong domain. The only thing that my name and the picture on Flickr of my fat cat have in common is that my name is in the tags on the page. Take a look at the SERP, and you’ll see the following:

Dan Perry

I guess the takeaway is this: Don’t just use Flickr, but use all of Flickr. Include tags, and don’t forget the obvious.

That’s all I have folks. It’s been a wonderful year, and I can’t wait to see what my SERP’s will look like in 2009.

So what do you think? What did you notice in my SERP’s that I forgot to mention?

If you like this post you might enjoy following me on Twitter:

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