Grateful Dead Marketing Magic 7 Own the search results for your name
Go ahead and Google your name.
The first thing to do is, you guessed it, search Google for your name. What do you see there? If you only see the very best of the personal brand, things are pretty good for you. However, that’s not the case for most people. Analyze the top 10-30 results for your name and see if any match these criteria.
The search result:
Contains something negative about me.
Gives away more personal information than I’m confortable with having online.
Is a boilerplate, spammy, or irrelevant result.
Is about someone else with the same name as me.
Grab the URLs of these results and keep them in doc. We’ll deal with them later.
Now, if you have any experience with SEO, you know that SERPs change all the time. You can check the results for your personal brand on a weekly basis, but who has time for that? To simplify the process, set up a Google Alert for your name (you may need a couple if you have multiple spellings or names). Go here to set one up: Google Alerts. Whenever Google finds a new result that contains your name, you’ll get an email about it. You can then deal with it if needed.
2. Optimize your Social Profiles
The first actual step to dominating the search results for your name is optimizing social profiles. If you have profiles on any major social networks, these are almost invariably going to appear in the SERPs for your personal brand. Social networking websites have tons of search authority which allows them to rank extremely well. If you don’t have any social profiles and you found results that matched the negative criteria in step one, you may want to consider creating profiles to push down the less-than-ideal results.
Beyond just having these profiles, you can take steps to optimize them so they’ll show up higher.
Use a consistent name on all profiles that aligns with your personal brand/online identity.
Use an interesting and compelling profile description. In many cases, this will appear as the text snippet under that profile’s search result. By having an optimized snippet show up, you can improve CTR on that result, which can demonstrate that result’s quality; Google will be more likely to return that quality-proven result.
Link to your personal website in your profile.
3. Launch a Personal Website
Having a personal website isn’t just a vanity move. In fact, if you’re any kind of online or semi-online professional in the 2010s, having a personal website is just common sense. If you want to dominate the search results for your name you should really have one result that is entirely under your control. For this same reason, your personal site will be the flagship of your online identity.
Here are the most important tips to keep in mind for your personal website:
Make sure the URL contains your name. Don’t worry about hyphen-separating your name (though that’s totally fine). Keep it simple. Keep it classy, e.g., mikearnesen.com,johnpkoenig.com, adam-ware.com.
Start your homepage’s title tag with your name, e.g., “Harry Lockhart | Private Detective”
Include a descriptive and compelling meta description for your homepage.
Link to your main social profiles from your homepage.
Keep an up-to-date about page with a concise bio.
4. Create an About.me Page
About.me allows you to create a “simple yet elegant splash page” about yourself. Think of it as an online business card. While a page here is very similar to having a personal website, for the purposes of dominating the search results for your name, about.me simply serves as another search result that will be entirely under your control. Additionally, the site has gobs of search authority, so your about.me page will have a good chance of ranking for searches on your name.
Considerations for your about.me page:
Try to be consistent with your username so that it matches what you use elsewhere (e.g., mike_arnesen)
Include links to all your public profiles, your personal website, and/or company website.
Have fun with it
Here are a few examples.
5. Blog and Contribute Content
Blogging regularly on your own site, your company’s site, or through guest blogging opportunities can do wonders for saturating your personal brand’s SERPs with high-quality results. You can also leverage the guest blogging you do to link to your personal site and, as a result, increase your site’s search authority. If you’re truly serious about dominating for your personal brand, you also need to set up author rich snippets.
6. Create or Edit your Wikipedia Page
In case you didn’t know, anyone can edit Wikipedia and add articles. However, as easy as it is to create and edit content on Wikipedia, it’s even easier to piss off the community of editors by not playing by the rules. The rules and etiquette for Wikipedia editing are a topic that’s way too big to discuss here, but remember that not everyone deserves their own Wikipedia page; if you’ve made a significant contribution to your industry or niche, and can back it up with sources, you can probably get your article to “stick”.
The point is, if you’re somewhat influential, consider getting a Wikipedia page put together. If you already have one, go there and ensure it has a link to your personal website (keep brining it back to your flagship).