Who does Google think you are?

Name badge showing marketing and branding terms

If we’re honest, we’ve all done it.

Some call it the “vanity search” or even “ego surfing”. Whatever you call it, it makes good sense to regularly ‘Google yourself’ in order to proactively manage your Digital Personal Brand.

In an increasingly digital world, many people’s first impression of you will be formed as a result of your online profile, so putting your name into Google and seeing who it thinks you are makes sense for anyone serious about managing their online professional reputation.

So what sorts of things should you be looking out for? Here are a few things you should consider when looking at your name search results:

  • Do you have any namesakes that appear high in the rankings?
  • How visible are your personal social media profiles, and would you be happy for a prospective employer or client to see them?
  • How easy is it to find the ‘professional you’?

You wouldn’t go to a business meeting or interview without clean shoes, a freshly ironed shirt and sharp suit, so why not pay as much attention to your online appearance?

Here are three simple things you can do to boost your online search visibility and make sure the ‘professional you’ is projected in search results for your name:

1) Make sure you have a complete and search-friendly LinkedIn profile

I’m assuming that many readers of this blog will have a LinkedIn profile, but not everyone will have a custom URL containing their name, like www.linkedin.com/in/steverevill. Not only does this look more professional than the default LinkedIn profile URL, it will also help your profile to be displayed in Google searches for your name.

I’ve created this short video to show you how to do it…

2) Secure your name URL, and publish a basic website or blog

Building and hosting a professional looking website is easier than ever thanks to platforms such as WordPress. Even if you have no plans to start blogging, you can still secure your name URL, like www.steverevill.net, and build a site with a static homepage to use as a gateway into your professional online profiles. This will also help to get you up the Google results page.

You can easily check if your name URL is available and get it hosted on WordPress.com. Here’s a couple of screen grabs to show you how to check this without having to sign up.

WordPress.com homepage

  • Then enter your name into the ‘blog address’ field to see if your name URL is available. If it’s taken, you’ll see suggestions that are available. Make sure it contains your full name though- ‘steverevill71.net’ would be better than ‘stevierev.net’.
  • Clicking on the drop down tab will show the domain name extensions available along with their annual cost. This can be a very cost-effective way of establishing an online presence.

WordPress blog address finder

3) Register your name on key social media sites

As well as LinkedIn, I’d recommend that you set up accounts on both Google Plus and Twitter in order to help get you up the first page of Google search results for your name.

Google Plus is a long, long way off being the ‘Facebook killer’ some hinted it may be at launch, but you’d be crazy to ignore it as the vast majority of search traffic in the UK is via Google. It also has other advantages over Facebook through its ‘circles’ functionality, which allows you to create lots of bespoke segments for sharing your updates across different aspects of your network according to the relationship you have with them - friends, family, colleagues, people you play cricket with etc.

Although Google announced in August 2012 that ‘Custom URLs’ were being rolled out to selected brands and celebrities, they are not yet [as at Jan 2013] widely available to general Google Plus users.

Registering a real name twitter account such as www.twitter.com/steve_revill will not only help establish your presence in Google results but will be a small (140 characters at a time) glimpse into the sorts of things you’re interested in and want to share with your network. You can also tweet updates from your LinkedIn account (but not the other way round) so don’t feel you need to have an onerous publishing schedule of content.

Do you Google yourself? Have you found anything that surprised you? What tools have you used to get your name up the  search results? I’d love to hear your experiences.

If you need any help or advice in brushing up your digital personal brand, please drop me a line.

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