That’s the number of names that are Googled every single day. That’s more than the entire population of the U.S. and Europe combined.
That’s the percentage of recruiting departments that are required to Google job applicants.
And having no online presence is just as bad as having negative results appear on the front page of Google.
Whether you’re a freelancer, happily employed, or looking for work, you must care about your digital footprint – especially if you’re in a creative field, where prospects want to see your work to understand what you’re capable of and if they even like your style.
Wouldn’t it just be dandy if you could somewhat control what searchers find when they Google your name? Well, you can.
In this guide, you’ll learn some personal SEO tips on how to get started optimizing your personal online presence because sooner or later, you’re going to be Googled, and you want those results to be all about you and how amazing you are.
Ready. Set. Let’s go!
I’ve two tools for this – to ensure I get accurate, non-personalized SERP results.
You can sign up for a free account on BrandYourself, which will scan search engines for whichever name you put in. Use your full name (make sure it’s the name professional contacts are using to Google you).
The tool will then spew out what it finds, and it will ask you to rate each SERP result.
Rate each SERP result, and then add your social network accounts so it scan for anything potentially negative or damaging to your reputation.
Once you finish that, then you can begin “boosting” the results you want by completing BrandYourself’s recommendations for you.
If you’re super anal, like me, then you may want to cross-check these results with another tool, known as the Online ID Calculator (don’t let the design scare you off).
Create an action plan.
So there’s three possible scenarios here. You either:
- Learned you’re the invisible [wo]man.
- Learned you have some negative results that could potentially be damaging.
- Learned some jerk is trying to steal your name and online presence. Rude!
Whatever situation you’re in, you’ll learn a few ways to optimize, and eventually own, the front page of Google for your name – as it should be. Here are my suggestions.
Create and optimize your personal website.
So, the more the links you have, the more chances you have to appear on the front page of Google. While everyone wants lots of links, the people with negative results need them the most because positive links will bury negative links.
If you haven’t already, go buy your personal domain name, i.e. laurenholliday.com, immediately. If it’s not available, try adding a middle initial. Be creative.
The more meaty pages you create, the better. Because again, that’s more [good] results that you control to potentially rank on the first page of Google.
Make sure you SEO-optimize your site, which means add proper title tags, meta descriptions and a focus keyword.
Create a lot of online profiles.
Go to KnowEm, which allows you to check for the use of your name and/or username on more than 500 social media websites.
Create as many profiles – using the SAME username – across accounts. Consistent naming is vital.
Remember, the more links (aka profiles) you have the better.
The more you blog, the more pages you have, which means more chances for results you control (your blog posts) to populate the first page of Google. For SEO help on your blog, check out these tips.
Join Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
HARO is an email newsletter, sent three times a day, which provides a list of stories journalists are writing and need sources for.
This tool is free and phenomenally useful. I’ve landed links in places like, FastCompany and WSJ, because of HARO.
Links on high domain authority (DA) sites will be easier to rank for than on a new site you just created.
Note: Another, but harder way, to get on high DA sites is to guest blog.
But here’s the easiest way to get a link to your name on a high DA site – just write a helpful, relevant comment on blog posts.
Quora ranks well in Google so answer a few popular questions, which will likely have decent or high page ranks (PR); and therefore, rank high in SERPs.
Create a Google Alert for your name.
You can create a Google Alert for your name here.
It’s not too late if you start now.
The Internet is becoming more and more saturated with links. It’s noisy out there on the Internet, but it’s not so bad yet that you won’t be able to rank for your own name – unless your name is Justin Bieber – then you’re probably screwed.
Did I miss any tactics you use or have used in the past? Please share! I’m competing with the hot soccer player, Lauren Holiday (yes, even though my last name is spelled Holliday), so I need all the damn advice I can get!