Lets face it, "googling" someone is becoming more and more common practice among the general populous. Every one from employers to friends (and lets not forget enemies) to just about any demographic looking to dig up the dirt on someone. Do you know what’s out there about you? Click here to find out and then come back.
How did you do? Was there something about you on page 1?
Don’t worry when I first looked I wasn’t even listed in the first 10 pages which was a surprise to me because my full name is not common. I soon discovered that I shared a name with a semi famous British Comedian who was dominating the first few pages of results. So for the last 6 months I’ve been working on SEO’ing my name and now have several placements on the first page.
Here are the top 5 ways you can improve the placement of your name on Google:
1. Vanity Domain – Although a bit egotistical, having a vanity domain is the best first step you can take. Google ranks sites with the search times directly in them very well and this domain should be the focus of your SEO efforts. The biggest advantage of this being that you’ll have full control over the content of this site and optimization. For aesthetics and to simplify things try and register your first and last name with no dashes, in my case www.seanpercival.com. If this is not available try adding a middle initial and if you must a combination of dashes or alternative spellings.
Optimize the crap out of your web site using good META and ALT information in your code. Create an XML site map and submit it to Google. The web site should include general information about yourself, skills and accomplishments.
2. Incoming Links - Just as with standard SEO work you want tons of incoming high quality links that use the text "Your Name" (Sean Percival) in the link code. This takes some time and effort but is well worth it. First create a text link with name on any web property you own and want to associate with your name. Next hit up some of the best blog’s here and add comments to articles that allow you to include a link. Don’t blatantly comment spam, instead add something in reference to the article and use your full name. Lastly give Payperpost a chance and create some buzz about a recent project or yourself. Buy about 20 postings using their "Direct" linking option and for the link text use "Your Name".
3. Negative Information - Having negative information about you online is like having bad debt on your credit report. You don’t want it there and its very difficult to remove sometimes. Start with sending a professional email to the owner of the site to see if you can get the information removed. If that doesn’t work or there is no response you want to do whatever it takes to get that page offline. Discrediting that page or domain with Google is good place to start, submit it to them 1000’s of times and link it with "bad neighborhoods".
4. Using Myspace and Linked In – First give your Myspace profile a serious look through and get rid of any pictures of you shirtless standing in front of a mirror or any comments from half naked women on your pictures. Employers are very savvy to Myspace now (only took then a few years to catch up) and they will try to locate your profile for a more intimate look at you. Hey we all think that video of the monkey drinking his own piss is HI-LAR-IOUS but is that something you want to represent yourself with by posting it on your profile? Your profile should either be private or contain tasteful images and other content just in case. To increase the presence of your profile on search engines create your custom URL and include your name within it. This is something you can only do once, so you may need to create a new profile if you already have chosen a custom URL.
There sure is a lot of buzz about Linked In these days, when I first signed up I could only find about 5 former colleagues but now that number has increased 10 fold. If you don’t already have a profile there I recommend creating one and use your full name as much as possible in your profile. Both Myspace and Linked in profiles are well ranked on Google so after a few weeks you are bound to see it pop up in the first few pages.
5. Go CPC Yourself! – Cant get yourself to page one or just impatient like a squirrel on speed? Setup a Google Adwords campaign and purchase variations of your name as a keyword. Link these campaigns to your personal web site, Myspace or Linked in profiles. You’ll find that just about any name (unless you share a name with Paris Hilton) can be purchased very cheaply and get first placement in the ad order.
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