The Best SEO for Voiceover Talent

Voiceover Treasure Map

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 voiceover 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.” That’s 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 voiceover 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.)

Plus, think about how often you visit your own website(s), and those of your voiceover 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 voiceover 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 voiceover work?

Experts on the Interwebs these days have all kinds of theories, including:

  • Content is the new SEO
  • Marketing is the new SEO
  • OAO (Online Audience Optimization) is the new SEO
  • Social is the new SEO
  • PR is the new SEO
  • Audience Engagement is the new SEO
  • Conversion is the new SEO
  • User-generated Content is the new SEO
  • App Store Optimization is the new SEO
  • Video 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 voiceover 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 “voiceover 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 voiceovers, and no one knew their names.

So what’s the best SEO for Voiceover 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.

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28 Responses to “The Best SEO for Voiceover Talent”

  1. Lovely thoughts, Doug. Very nicely done. Play to your strengths, practice, and work hard. Save the big bucks your tempted to spend on an SEO “expert”.

    Dave Courvosier

  2. Derek Chappell says:

    Doug,

    I know you don’t blog often, but when you do its like everyone should stop, be silent, sit still, and just soak up the knowledge from The Master. Thank you for being such a voice of reason, reality, and common sense, without pretense and bravado. Another spot on article. Thank you!

    Derek

  3. Lance Blair says:

    Excellent post! I’m happy with my SEO on Google, and people do find me…and then I go to Yahoo and Bing and I wonder what I’m doing wrong. Then there are international clients. Who knows how our sites come up in other countries? Ultimately, it’s all about talent – be your best self naturally and the word will get around. As Google integrates all of its products, I’m not so concerned about Search as much as using G+ and YouTube, etc. to engage with others. I find myself searching on G+, Twitter, and FB more and more rather than on dedicated search engines.

    • Doug says:

      Thanks, Lance! With as many international clients as you have, I know you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these issues. As you alluded to, the ever-changing face of web searches will continue to make predictable SEO results even more difficult than they are now.

  4. Doug, all I can say is… WHEW! Now I can go back to the rest of my VO business and not have to stress so much about SEO… 😉 Thanks.

  5. Jen Gosnell says:

    He shoots — he scores!!

    Well said, Doug, as always. In fact it’s my biggest professional goal this year to simply make myself a better voice talent. Not that anyone’s complained, mind you… 😉 but we all change as life happens, and there’s always room for refinement or even for great leaps forward. So here’s to being excellent!

    Jen

  6. Thanks for this post. I’m sure it will open some eyes… I may forward this because I was unable to convince a P2P site owner in Germany that he was just showing up on HIS first google page because of localization and history, but he insisted on arguing with me about it, so I let it go, but then he started to rave about his page impressions … sigh … 😉

  7. Paul J Rose says:

    An excellent article. I’m always amazed when designers tell me that their clients are at the top of Google when people search for them by name! Good SEO is an ever changing puzzle, and they’ll never show us the picture on the front of the box.

  8. Monk says:

    Blue Ocean strategy, capture the uncharted waters, and those waters are you. No one, is you. Sounds simple enough!

  9. Lisa Rice says:

    Another nugget of priceless insight I’ll be holding onto. Thanks, Doug, for reminding me to focus on what matters.

  10. Gee, how old fashioned, Doug!
    And well put!

  11. A nice and honest post, cheers fella. It’s easy to get caught up in the marketing and SEO stuff and forget what we should be focusing on, which is being vocal!
    Nicola
    Irish voice
    http://www.nicolaredman.com

  12. This could have been the shortest blog post in ever, “Be really good at what you do” and applied to everybody to infinity. Thanks for SEO coverage. It seems like voodoo to me.

  13. BethStewart says:

    “Be really good at what you do” … What a super-secret and powerful idea! Thanks for the blog post, Doug!

    • Doug says:

      “Super-secret,” huh? I like think of it as more of a “blatantly obvious” concept, but one that’s easy for folks to forget. I think that the power comes from refocusing on it, and making the most of what you bring to every project.

  14. Jason Culver says:

    Even though it’s been a while since you posted this Doug, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lot’s of good, basic, commonsense information that we can all use reminding of, thanks.

    • Doug says:

      Thanks, Jason! I like to think that this is “evergreen” info that’s gonna be applicable for a loooong time to come.

      And thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed the post!

  15. Terry Daniel says:

    This just in. Doug Turkel is a smart man.

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