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18 Comments on "When to Modify Your Name Due to SEO Concerns"

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Jan O'Hara/Tartitude

To say I’m relieved would be an understatement. Methinks I’d fallen prey to the theoretical worry versus the practical.

Thank you so much, Jane! Will look forward to seeing if your commenters have a different point of view.

John Worsley

Everything Jane wrote makes sense to me, though I have no experience with this issue.

Since your Twitter profile has a link to your website, it doesn’t seem like your Twitter followers would need to search for you.

As for non-Google sites where people might search for you but which don’t properly handle the apostrophe, it couldn’t hurt to send them a message about the issue.  They’re essentially discriminating against a class of people.


I always knew you had a presence, Jan. Now I know it’s consistent and solid. 😉 Scarlett never had to worry over such things. I guess I should start seeking a presence. I suppose having some consistency would help. Cool post, Jane!

Anittah Patrick

I totally agree with your advice here, Jane. One caution about cross-linking: too much of it and Google might think you’re just engaging in link swaps (verboten). For Ms. O’Hara, I’d encourage people to link to you with the correct anchor text i.e. with the apostrophe.  Because, to Jane’s point, Google will suggest the autocorrected version of your last name even if the sluggish searcher omits the ‘

Gabryyl Pierce

My real name is shared by 500+ people in the US alone, at least 4 published authors among them. Years ago I made up the name Gabryyl (my father’s favorite actor Gabby Hayes & my Welsh heritage combined) to use online as my real one was always taken. It’s now very easy to find me…so easy even my own mother has started using it!

Anne R. Allen

This is so important. I published my first two books under the name Anne Allen and nobody could find me. The most common middle name for women in the English speaking world is Ann/e. The most common for men? Allen. Yeah. 

Finally I decided to add my middle initial and use it for everything. Now when you Google me, the first 10 pages are mostly me. It’s amazing the difference one little letter can make!


[…] always wonderful Jane Friedman recently posted and responded to a question from a writer about the standardization of an author name and how search engines interpret (or cannot interpret) the various spellings of a single author’s […]

Caleb J Ross

Hey Jane, great post. This question go me thinking about finally putting together a blog post dealing with this very issue. I’ve been struggling with it for a while (Caleb Ross vs. Caleb J. Ross). I’ve pulled from my extensive knowledge of search engines to solve the issue. All my secrets here:

Jan O'Hara

That was fabulous. Thank you so much for the helpful ideas.


[…] thank you to Jane Friedman who kindly laid to rest a long-term concern of mine. For the past year I’ve worried about using O’Hara as my writing name due to the […]


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Jane Friedman on the Future of Publishing « virtualDavis

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