This what your prospects, clients and peers see when they go looking for you online. Most people won’t look past the first page.
Now, imagine this common scenario: you meet a person socially and hand them your business card. When they get home, they Google you.
Or this scenario: someone sees your advertisement and is interested in getting more information. They might go to your website, but more likely they will Google you.
Or this: someone asks their friend “who do you use” and you are recommended. Again, you’re Googled.
Could people call and get more information about you? Sure. Maybe some do. But the smart ones, increasingly, will Google you.
Here are some things you can do to enhance how your personal brand looks when you’re Googled:
1. Define your personal brand name
If your name is “David Scott”, search sites will have a hard time distinguishing you from other people that have the same name. Consider clarifying your personal brand identity by using your middle initial or name, as The New Rules of Marketing and PR author David Meerman Scott did, in order to help people identify him, and only him.
2. Set up a LinkedIn Profile
Google loves LinkedIn profiles and will often display your profile near the top of your search results page – especially when you customize your URL so your name appears in it.
3. Register your own personal brand name domain
Descriptive domain names are one of the most important aspects of search optimization. What’s more descriptive than yourname.com? You can use your personal domain for a simple blog site or redirect it to one of the various profile page services, such as about.me.
4. Set up profiles on many social networking sites
Start with the major social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, SlideShare, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, etc. Even if you never use a particular social networking site, it’s good to reserve your account name (if it’s not already taken) since each of them can enhance your search results. Of course, it helps to make sure there is relevant, high-quality content on these sites when people click on the links.
5. Set up a Google+ profile
There are many good reasons to have a Google+ account, starting with the fact that it’s the social networking companion of the most popular search site in the world at a time when social is said to be upgrading search. There are also a number of amazing free products and services that you can access only with a Google account, including web analytics, email, document storage, and more.
6. Write and publish great content
Write articles that inform and educate and add value to current discussions in your field, then publish them on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, Google+ can be used to publish full articles. And don’t limit yourself to article writing. You can author and publish great slide decks, charts and videos too. This sounds easier than it is. (That’s why the title of this article has “mostly” in it.)
7. Find and share great content
Sharing other people’s content is a great way to define your personal brand and add value to your followers. If you want to build thought leadership on a topic, then find and share great content on that topic. If you want to attract an audience, then find a share great content they would be interested in. (This is actually way easier for many people that writing their own content.)
8. Set up Google Authorship
On any sites that you publish content (i.e., your blog and/or third-party sites) you can set up Google authorship to link your content to your online brand profile. This will enhance your search results significantly by displaying your Google profile picture on the results page.
9. Like and comment often
If you’re more of a commenter than an article writer, set up a profile on Disqus or Livefyre and use it to comment on blogs. And set up your Gravatar which automatically displays your profile picture when you comment on WordPress sites.