Here’s exactly how to do this in just a few weeks. Whether you have years of experience, or a portfolio the size of a Big Skinny Wallet, these simple steps will help bring consistency and clarity to your online reputation.
Have You Googled Yourself Lately?
If you haven’t you should, because your prospects most likely will. Just make sure to log out of Google first before you take a look, so that you can duplicate their search result. Google customizes your individual results when your logged in, so you don’t want to have any unrealistic illusions of grandeur!
Social Media Profiles Are The Secret
Most people assume they need lots of glowing reviews and testimonials, in order to craft their reputation. While those are certainly nice, ensuring that nothing negative appears on the first couple of pages of a Google search is equally important.
You don’t demonstrate your graphic prowess with social media profiles like you do with a microsite. Instead you take advantage of their inherent SEO power to dominate the first page of Google, anytime someone searches your name. Optimizing your social profiles won’t take up a lot of your time, yet still provides a great deal of leverage when it comes to establishing your personal brand.
Controlling the first page is critical in case the crazy dude that shares your name posts content of questionable nature. Forget about trying to explain that one to a prospect, you probably won’t even get the chance! It really is better to be safe than sorry, specially when it comes to your personal reputation.
An added bonus is that many of these profiles allow you to link out to other properties on the web, providing them with extra SEO juice to rank higher.
As long as you don’t share the name of someone that’s already famous in their niche, this method will work. So, Andy Sowards of Monowi, Nebraska you’re out of luck! Seriously though, in cases like this there are alternatives:
- Change your name slightly by adding your middle initial
- Use an alternate spelling
- Create a brand new name. Why not? Actors do it all the time.
Whichever route you choose, keep the same name throughout your profiles and everywhere else on the web.
Not All Profiles Are Created Equal
Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter are the top four profiles that are easiest to optimize and rank on the first page of Google. Youtube, Tumblr and Pinterest profiles are also good optimization contenders, as is your own personal website. But the key to getting traction in search results is to make these profiles appear attractive to Google.
Take a look at the first page results of a Google search for none other than Andy Sowards! It’s clean, consistent and provides a certain level of reassurance. We can tell right away that this is the Andy we’re looking for; whether it’s his Twitter, Google+, Facebook or Pinterest entry we’re looking at.
How To Make Your Social Media Profiles Google Friendly
The internal html structure of a social media profile is ultimately what determines its Google-friendliness. Although you have no control over this, there are three optimization tricks you can employ:
- Use your name in the url.
- Put your name in the title.
- Place your name in the description.
The natural inclination when filling out profiles is to refer to yourself in the first person, using the word “I” when talking about yourself. But you need to start talking about yourself in the third person. For example:
Stephen Jeske is a freelance writer who couldn’t draw if his life depended on it. Fortunately Stephen sticks to writing.
Did you see what I did? Or more exactly what I didn’t do. Not once did I refer to myself as “I”, instead using either my complete name or first name only. That’s the typical way bios are done in professional publications and it’s a great search optimization technique.
While your social profiles won’t make you famous overnight, they help set the stage for building out your reputation online. Optimizing them doesn’t require a lot of effort and within two to six weeks, you’ll start seeing results. In no time at all you’ll whip Google into submission… well maybe for your name at least!
So tell me, have you Googled yourself lately?