Every group has one. In the SEO industry, there are far too many – the folks who call themselves SEOs but are neglecting the knowledge behind on major factor – Online Reputation Management.
Read the story of SEO Columbus by my SEO friend Mike Halvorsen. If you don’t read it (though you really should), here’s the coles notes version.
Mike is an SEO. He recently moved to Columbus so on his PERSONAL blog, he created a navigational link with the anchor text “SEO Columbus”. Apparently there’s another SEO in Columbus (Joe) who is insisting he “owns” the term and is insisting that Mike remove instances of that keyword that confuse him with Joe’s business.
Except Joe doesn’t own the trademark for SEO Columbus. In fact, you can’t even trademark the term SEO Columbus, SEO Toronto, SEO Canada, etc.
After a bit of back and forth (mostly forth), Mike did the sensible thing – reach out to the SEO community. The result is many, many comments by Mike’s supporters and a few attempts at rebuttle by Joe.
Here’s the thing. Now Joe has made some enemies. Now there are comments and blog posts and even spoof sites against Joe and his company (which, by the way, is KaLor Technology, not SEO Columbus).
Joe’s got himself a biiiig online reputation management (ORM) mess. It’s one thing when negative comments are posted organically through user review sites, but when those reviews are coming from professional and proven SEOs… well. That’s pretty much disaster. If Joe didn’t realize that branding with a generic phrase wasn’t wise before, he needs to realize it now and seriously consider rebranding himself to a) escape this mess and b) avoid it in the future.
I’m sure we’ll all be watching the SERPs for any movement in the top spot for “SEO Columbus“. Despite Joe’s exact match domain and years of reputation building, I don’t think it will stand against a community of search professionals banding together for the right cause. Stay tuned.