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4 Strategies for Optimizing Name Tags

How Changes in User Behaviors and Search Results can Increase Traffic, Drive Engagement and Deliver Relevance for Your Name, Event, Brand and Product

NametagI have noticed an interesting referrer trend in my analytics. A growing number Organic search traffic visitors are coming to my blog off name queries. Not my name but names of those that have posted comments. The search (Google is really the only source of search traffic I get) result they are clicking on is a comment link. Now while that means I get the occasional heavy hitter commenting here at OP, it also means there is value to getting Name Tagged or Name Tagging someone else. In the scenario described above it involves no more than adding a comment to a blog or message board. However, this concept has much more value that can be unlocked and that value is growing fast.

Part of the newfound currency in name tagging is related to the recent high rankings and even more referrers from the Technorati page Everything in the known universe tagged ___. This page gets first page results for name queries all over the place from Sanjaya to Streisand. Also, it is no surprise the YouTube pages have recently also started ranking well in the SERPs (see a previous post on optimizing YouTube tags). You will also see the occasional Flickr and del.ico.us results. Yahoo Pipes in another up and coming source of tagged search.

Not only are these tags coming up in the natural results. People are doing tag searches and looking for results from the aforementioned “taggregators.” Greg Jarboe who just mentioned his use of various SES tags to find information on the recent Search Engine Strategies New York is not alone. I find myself doing tag searches almost everyday now.

So if people are starting to search this way, how do you optimize for it?

1. Understand the Goal: These users are searching in discovery mode. The user is likely looking for and expecting to collect a large amount of relevant content related to the tag and then sort through it, as they desire.

2. Bandwagon: Think of the things that get tagged quite a bit. Don’t hesitate to hop on the tag bandwagon so your content will get picked up and linked to from the taggregators.

3. Be Consistent and Persistant: Use a common tag where you have just one option. If multiple tags are allowed use common derivations and misspellings.

4. Create Tag Conventions: Get the people using tags related to you to use the same tag.

SES could have helped optimize the content related to the event by promoting a common tag that should be used across all related content. This would make life easier for Greg Jarboe and other users by creating better repositories of data (back to their discovery goals). That in turn creates a deeper and more relevant index thus returning more relevance to user queries. Everybody wins.

I’m also left to wonder if name tagging has been held back as optimization strategy since so many in SEO use name tags on message boards and comments that are rarely real names or business names. Someone like Rand Fishkin hasn’t suffered since he has the 6th rated marketing blog in the world, however, I wonder what type of impact would have been created had Rand’s message board alias been Rand Fishkin or SEOMmoz instead of randfish? I asked Barry Schwartz Executive Editor of Search Engine Roundtable and News Editor at Search Engine Land about this. For many years Barry has posted under his company’s name “rustybrick.” Barry felt this did indeed help build his company name.

As SERPs comes to rely more on tags and with the convergence of search and social media, name tagging will become more important. If it has not already it will extend beyond personal names and event names into brands, products and services (check out this SERP for “gmail.” Emerging ad platforms and microformats will also make use of tags (in fact Technorati already uses the microformat Rel-Tags) to drive the delivery of contextually relevant data. Starting to optimize your use of tags now will only serve to help yourself, your brand and your business in the future.

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