get in touch
No. 507
September 24th, 2009


The Ultimate Local SEO Vanity Search

With all due respect to Andrew Shotland, whose great writing and insightful tips (along with a keyword-rich domain name) have earned him not only a #1 ranking for all kinds of Local-related searches including this one…I believe that what I am about to share with you is more impressive than even his dominance of search engine results.

Last week I was doing some research into citations for my own business (importantly: Google seems to be obfuscating them even more than usual these days, but that is a more serious post for a different day).  Probably like most of you would do, I naturally started Googling my official business name, “David Mihm Web Design / Local SEO,” to see what sites were showing up.  A couple of the usual suspects showed up like DirectoryM and OpenList.  But there were only six results (I just recently started to update all my information across the data providers) that matched, so I went a little “broader” and just did “David Mihm.”

Here’s what I found:

Evidently the powers at the Googleplex are worried that I might start sending customers away from the LBC and over to Yahoo and Bing.  It seems like a fairly broad-match campaign.

Intrigued (and vaguely irritated, for some reason), I did a few more searches; Mike Blumenthal was the only other expert receiving this kind of treatment. Never one to let an opportunity to tweak Mountain View, he recently launched a highly amusing counter-attack:

Names of high-level practitioners and analysts whom Google does not deem important enough to bother advertising on:

Not even famed locomotive consultant Will Scott or White Sox fan Steve Espinosa get this kind of attention from the Googleplex.

At the very least, I now have my answer to the inevitable “why should I hire you?” question from clients: because even Google tries to get traffic from me!


  • Mike Blumenthal

    I expect my phone to be ringing off the hook. 🙂

  • Mike Ramsey

    That is really funny, In a fight against Google and Mike Blumenthal….I would choose Mike any day of the week. He would severe the “gle” from their name until they were just Goo…

    I also am wondering if the other local searchers should feel offended they didn’t make the list. Maybe everyone should start a big pool of money together and advertise on the word google. That would show them.

  • earlpearl

    Evidently you guys are a big threat to Google Maps and PPC revenues from smbs. The question is are you guys more threatening than the IYP’s, Yahoo or Bing Local,, Merchant Circle, Yelp etc. etc?

    I suspect you are.

    On the other hand…maybe its just damn GOOD LOOKS!!! That is probably why your names generate those competitive ads and the other superstars aren’t getting that kind of attention from Google.

  • Lisa Williams

    That is awesome, now I need to get you my favorite T-Shirt, “You might already now me, I’m kind of a big deal”

  • Dev Basu

    Once again, Canadians get no love from the big G. Hilarious post David and well done for catching Google’s attention.

  • Mike Blumenthal


    Can you send me one too? I should get something from this deal….I have yet to get a call on my PPC ad. 🙁

  • Adam Webster

    At the very least, I now have my answer to the inevitable “why should I hire you?” question from clients: because even Google tries to get traffic from me!

    What a great line! And the rest of us just want traffic from Google.

  • Jan Riley

    David and Mike,
    Ya’ll have really made it now!
    Perhaps the local Google algorithm has a little crush on you guys?
    I think another way to milk the moment could be to sell square inch advertising space on the t-shirt, then make a video and optimize the video for local seo (your town)!
    At least this way you can cash in on the Google advertising.

    And if that doesn’t pan out, just wear it for a few months and auction it on eBay, who knows what SEO groupies will pay for a piece of Google gold?


  • Steve Hatcher

    Perhaps the fact that my name matches that of a prolific male porn star keeps me off Google’s radar 🙂 That or, like Dev said, the big G got it in for us infidels to the north.

    And who the heck is writing copy for Google’s Adwords campaigns? “Get your business Google”, wtf is that supposed to mean? I wonder what the QS is on that ad?

  • Shagun Vatsa

    This is a hilarious find David! I wonder how long it’s been up for. Like Mike says, your phones should be ringing off the hook! Might be irritating but a great ego boost nonetheless 🙂 I absolutely love Mike’s response through his add.

  • Mike Blumenthal

    I wanted to report back on my Adwords campaign results from yesterday 🙂
    4 Clicks 41 Impressions 9.76% CTR

  • Mike Ramsey

    Hopefully those clicks weren’t from fellow local seo’s. My guess is Google was trying to click you out of a budget!

  • Steve Hatcher

    When I checked last night none of the ads were showing in Canada and when I used Google’s ad preview with location set to the US and again for Portland, OR I could not see that ad from Google. Have they turned it off already. Saw Mike’s ad though, and I was NOT one of those that clicked.

  • Mike Blumenthal

    I saw Google’s ad this morning. So it is still showing although apparently my high ctr and or quality moved me to #1 🙂

  • MiriamEllis

    Clearly, Google is onto you guys. Too funny, David. Mike, you are wacky. Your ad is terrific. David, will we be seeing a similar ad for you soon?

  • Andrew Shotland

    Google actually has advertised against my name before but apparently their quality score is not that good so the ROI just wasn’t there.

  • David Mihm

    Thanks for all of the comments, guys, sorry I’ve been slow to respond. As Mike knows, it took me long enough just to get the post up in the first place!

    Mike, your CTR is amazing and coupled with Steve’s comment about the grammar of Google’s ad I am sure your QS is off the chart!

  • Matthew hunt

    Too funny! Love mike’s ad.

  • Steve Wiideman

    Just catching up on my RSS reading and found your post. I guess we all should start allocating a piece of our marketing budgets to buy our brand names, being that we’ve collectively captured enough saturation between “local seo experts” and just “seo experts” among hundreds of online articles and syndication.

    I ran a similar campaign for a client of mine who is a popular business/keynote speaker. We bought 1.5k names and 20 speaker bureaus and only spent about $100/mo. capturing nearly 1.2 million impressions (with phone number of course). Very low conversion of course.

    Which brings up the next question, who is going to build an optimize the “Trademark Your Name for $99” website? or whatever. Seems to be the only way to not have to waste money on this type of nonsense.

    Thanks for sharing – outstanding post!

  • Jim Rudnick

    great post David! just checked and your own G adsense advert is gone, but Mike’s is still there on!

    Now, gotta line up my own “Jim Rudnick” thingy too!



  • Dennis


    Good stuff…thanks for sharing.

    Ironically, I just performed a search for “David Mihm” on Bing and received a sponsored ad for “Free Exposure on Google”


  • Boris

    I would like to also point out that if you did a search for Local Internet Marketing or Local Website Marketing the same is true. So it appears Google is going after major Local SEO players and keyword phrases.

  • http://www.webdesigninphiladelphia Seth Goldstein


    What an ultimate compliment. Seriously, it’s really funny how scared Google seems when it comes to you. Keep up the good work and who knows what they’ll do next. Maybe a blinking ad.