BrandYourself is not doing anything very new or complicated – and they’re the first ones to admit it.
Instead, they’re aiming at the sweet spot of convenience and price for search engine optimization. On one extreme, if my Google results are buried, I could hire a reputation company to work their magic for thousands of dollars. Or, I could read SEOmoz’s free, 10-chapter Beginners Guide to SEO. Neither is very appealing, so most people opt for none of the above.
But that’s where the cases of mistaken identity creep in. “Pete [Kistler, BrandYourself founder] was being mistaken for a drug-dealer in Google and couldn't get an internship in college,” explains cofounder Patrick Ambron. (I sympathize; my name-twin is a ridiculously ripped body builder, whom I have thankfully outstripped in SEO glory.)
Based in Syracuse, New York, the venture-funded startup guides you through the SEO process for free, with premium features like monitoring who visits your sites. Their strength is UI: they hold your hand through the process of analyzing your current Google results, creating a pre-SEO-optimized BrandYourself profile (according to Ambron, 80% of profiles show up on the first page of Google results in 2 weeks), submitting links to your content, and boosting those links. In case you get lost, there’s always a “What’s next?” button that will suggest an action to take.
None of this is rocket science: to boost links, you are advised to update their content, mention your name a lot, and share on social networks. But I would never do these things without BrandYourself.
Could Google see all this as gaming the system, and downgrade BrandYourself results? Not at all, says Ambron:
“We are completely open and transparent about how our product works, and only use tactics that comply with ‘White Hat’ techniques that search engines approve because it helps them find more relevant results. That's very important to us. In fact, many of the people behind our company, including investors, have founded, worked, or still work as executives for the most popular search engines in the world.”
BrandYourself is a finalist at the 2012 SXSW Accelerator in the innovative web technologies category.