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Does Your SEO Rank Or Rankle You?
Here's What Really Happens, And Why
February 8, 2014

By Doug Turkel
Voice Actor
It’s the modern-day version of a treasure hunt; the quest to get your website to the top of the first page of Google’s search results, in hopes of finding more voice over work.

Trouble is, there’s no map with an X scrawled on it. Never has been.

Even though there are tons of strategies, theories, and even "experts” who’ll gladly take your money while making vague promises about organic results, first-page rankings and keyword optimization, there are no guarantees.

And as if regular updates to Google’s search algorithms and the changing relevance of keywords, backlinks and keyword density aren’t enough, there’s plenty more to consider.

I always laugh when people tell me,
"I’m on the first page of Google,” or 
"I’m in the top 5!”
I laugh because there’s a logical explanation as to why we end up at - or near - the top of the results when we search for ourselves. And they’re the same reasons why we’re less likely to show up at - or near - the top when someone else searches for us.


Google’s search results are different for everyone. They’re based on a ton of factors:

Location. Using your IP address and other data, Google tries to detect your location and gives you personalized results based on that location.

History. Your Google search results are based on your previous searches. In fact, if you’re signed in to any Google service, your results are also personalized based on your browsing history.

Algorithm tests.
It’s said that up to 40% of all Google searches are part of Google’s algorithm variation testing. So if you and a friend are in the same room, both signed out of Google, and both using the same IP address, you might both see different results.

Google+. If you’re signed in to your Google+ account, your search results now include "Personal Results.” So if a friend has +1′d your voice over site, then your page is likely to come up higher in their search results and in your own. (Even if you’re not signed in, Google’s search results are still personalized based on your web browser’s cookies.)

Surfing. Plus, think about how often you visit your own website(s), and those of your voice over buddies . . . that surfing history is factored in to your search results too, meaning that you and your friends are more likely to show up closer to the top of your search results.


Sure, there are ways to do "Google neutral” searches, which might give you more honestly "organic” results, but are the people searching for voice over talent doing that? Not a chance.

The bottom line is that there’s no way to know (and only somewhat effective ways to influence) what someone else’s search results might look like.

That’s not to say that good, grassroots SEO, not to mention consistent, quality blogging, aren’t worth the time. They are. But there’s no way to game – or even predict – the system. Google’s way too smart for that.


So what’s the best way to use SEO to find more voice over work?

Experts on the Interwebs these days have all kinds of theories, including:
Content is the new SEOMarketing is the new SEOOAO (Online Audience Optimization) is the new SEOSocial is the new SEOPR is the new SEOAudience Engagement is the new SEOConversion is the new SEOUser-generated Content is the new SEOApp Store Optimization is the new SEOVideo Course Inbound Marketing is the new SEO and even Semantic Metadata is the new SEO.
I can’t say that any of them are right or wrong.


But I can tell you that the best way to find more voice over work on the Internet isn’t new at all. In fact, some of the most successful voice talent I know can’t even spell SEO.

These folks aren’t the voices of television networks, beloved cartoon characters and major motion picture releases because they’ve hired the right people to fill their website with the perfect 1.5% keyword density on every page, and have submitted their site to the right search directories.

Heck, some of them haven’t even updated their websites in years.

Nope. They’re incredibly busy and successful because they’re extremely talented. Talented enough that when clients go looking for them, they don’t start by doing a generic search for "voice over talent,” they look for them by name.

Is that a goal that’s impossible for us mere mortals to attain? Of course not. All of those über-talented voices were once new to the world of voice overs, and no one knew their names.


So what’s the best SEO for voice over talent? Simple. Be really good at what you do.

And believe it or not, the keyword in that last sentence is you.

Don’t try to emulate the latest "in” sound. Don’t try to sound like something you’re not. Just figure out what you sound like . . . what makes you different from (and better than) everyone else.

Then just do you. And do what you do best. That sound, is something no one else can provide. And if you do it well enough, clients will come looking for you.
Doug Turkel has more than 20 years of experience as a professional voice talent. Branding himself as the "UNnouncer” he has "quietly" become the voice behind more than 10,000 spots and several TV networks. His strong roster of clients includes MasterCard, NBC/Telemundo, McDonald’s, The Travel Channel and The Discovery Channel. He is currently the promo voice of the Home Shopping Network.


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Comments (12)
Doug Turkel
2/25/2014 at 9:24 AM
Wow...thanks for the kind words everyone, they're greatly appreciated!

And John, while I've never been burned by SEO, you're exactly right, thousands of people DO search for voice overs every month. But my point is that I'd MUCH prefer to have just a few dozen searching for "Doug Turkel."
John Brand
2/18/2014 at 6:15 PM

I don't doubt you've been burned by SEO and I think you make a few good points. However, the fact is, thousands of people search for voice overs using Google every month. If you haven't generated business from SEO it's because they didn't put you in front of "buyer traffic" with enough volume. That's not an SEO problem, it's a problem with the company delivering the SEO.
Ron Whittemore
2/11/2014 at 3:59 PM
Good stuff, Doug, and well said!!
Roxanne Coyne
2/9/2014 at 7:34 PM
Thank you, Doug!!! Now, at last I can cross this off my To Do list without guilt.
Lynne Darlngton
2/9/2014 at 9:17 AM
Timely article for me, Doug. I am currently evaluating two companies with different approaches to SEO for my husband's company website and mine. One price tag is $750/month. The two companies are politely denigrating (quite an art) each other's approach. My head has been spinning - your insight has me thinking, maybe I should just throw in the towel?
Chuck Duran
2/8/2014 at 5:00 PM
Nice article, Doug! I totally agree with everything you said. The things that has always worked for me with all my sites:, and when it comes to SEO is: I’ve always done everything I could to make sure I have great “Relevant” content, the right keywords, meta tags, meta data, submit my sites site map to all the major search engines and all that fancy stuff. But (like you said) the one thing that has help tremendously is having people searching for me because they want or need what I have to offer them. Become so great at what you do that people and or potential clients are searching for you by name. BRILLIANT!! You can’t buy that kind of SEO. :) Thank you for writing such a great informative article. You ROCK, Doug!! ~CD
Dan Hurst
2/8/2014 at 1:19 PM
Spot On, Doug!!! Thanks for taking the time to write that.

I can attest to what you're saying. A few years ago I quit worrying about trying to boost my SEO, and I haven't noticed one iota difference in the number of calls from potential clients who call or email and say "I found your website and..."

Make it clean. Make it quick. Make it compelling.
Rick Lance
2/8/2014 at 1:04 PM
Very uplifting and true! Good old fashioned marketing and name recognition... what a concept!
Thanks for presenting it as you have!
Lisa Lupari
2/8/2014 at 10:14 AM
Years ago I told Doug I wanted to be the female version of him. That has not changed! Excellent information, Doug. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
Christian Rosselli
2/8/2014 at 9:10 AM
Bravo Doug! Great insights! Coincidentally, I was scratching my head over this yesterday. Thank you!
Chuck Davis
2/8/2014 at 8:26 AM
Well said, Doug! As usual. :)
Debby Barnes
2/8/2014 at 8:25 AM
This is a brilliant post, Doug. And I appreciate every thing you have to say. :)
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