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Andy Crestodina

Personal SEO: 14 Ways to Polish Your Google Search Results

By: Andy Crestodina | April 2, 2014 | 
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Personal SEO: 14 Ways to Polish Your Google Search ResultsBy Andy Crestodina

Do you know what your personal SEO says about you?

Have you Googled yourself lately?

Sean McGinnis did, and boy, did he find some interesting results!

Go ahead. Give it a try.

We’ll wait here…

How was it?

Surprised? Like what you see? You just did something people do all the time.

In fact, there are so many searches for names that they often appear in Google Keyword Planner reports.

 

Even if you’re not Gini Dietrich (don’t worry, I’m not Gini either) people are searching for your name on a regular basis.

Leaders and lawyers, salespeople, and service providers – some people get Googled a lot.

If your business is based on who you are, personal SEO is a big part of your personal brand, especially if you don’t have a common name.

Two Goals in Personal SEO Reputation Management

Managing search results is step one in personal reputation management.

Depending on what you saw in your search, you’ll want to take control over these search results for one of two reasons:

  1. Look good! Improve the ranking for positive search results and listings that you can control.
  2. Not look bad! Push down the ranking of any negative or neutral search results.

Take Control of Search Results for Your Name

Search results for personal names are usually a mix of social media accounts and bio pages.

Social networks rank high because they are credible to Google and the profile page has a unique, rankable URL.

By creating profiles on these networks, you can manage page one in Google for your name.

If you’re trying to push something negative off of page one of Google, you can create profile pages on lots of social networks, even if you’re not active there.

It’s a way to push down the negative mention and do damage control for a personal reputation problem.

Otherwise, there’s no need to get a Pinterest account unless you really use Pinterest.

1. Google+

I’m not asking you to spend 10 hours a week learning a new social network. Just complete your profile.

If you need a few tips, take a look at this: 15-Minute Google+ Jumpstart Guide.

This is important because your profile on Google+ actually determines the snippet in Google search results. You can see how the snippet text is a combination of four fields in your profile, listed one after the other.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn profiles rank high. This profile should be as complete as possible.

Embed a WordPress blog, embed SlideShare slides, seek recommendations, add links to your website and social media accounts, etc.

Here are the basic ways to help your profile rank for your name:

  • Make sure “Location,” “Position,” and “Company” are up-to-date, since these appear in Google search snippets.
  • Click “edit” next to your public profile link.

  • Pick a custom URL that includes your name.
  • Make your entire profile visible to the public.

3. Twitter

These profiles rank very high, as long as you use your real name.

Even if you never use Twitter, complete the profile, then add one tweet to tell people where to find you “I’m not active on Twitter, but feel free to connect with me on [other network].”

4. Facebook

Facebook profiles often rank high.

Although this profile may not be relevant to your job, make sure your primary profile picture isn’t unprofessional.

Depending on your privacy settings, a lot of people may see it.

Also, claim your vanity URL.

5. Vimeo

Use your name, enter a short, relevant bio, add a link and set your location.

You can also claim a URL and even add featured videos.

6. Tumblr

This one also ranks well.

By default, Tumblr accounts are setup as subdomains, so grab yourname.tumblr.com, if possible.

The bio page is open HTML so add anything and everything.

7. Quora

Quora profile pages don’t have a lot of info, but they often rank well.

After you add your picture and short bio, follow a few people and a few topics.

These topics will be visible, telling visitors what you’re interested in.

8. About.me

This is just just a simple page that links to your other profiles, but they sometimes rank, so you may want to grab it.

Upload a nice background photo and setup the links.

If possible, use a URL that includes your name, such as about.me/yourname.

9. Flickr

Profiles include all the basic information, such as a profile picture, location, bio, and link.

10. Pinterest

Here’s another photo site profile that ranks.

Link from here to your other social networks.

Use a URL that includes your name, such as pinterest.com/yourname.

11. SlideShare

Here’s a network that lets you add a LOT to your profile page.

First, set the account type.

Now look at all that info you can add!

12. YouTube

Sometimes, thumbnails of YouTube videos rank for names, so this is a great way to control your personal reputation.

Create a video introducing yourself to the world and use your name in the video title and description.

Just like everything else in search results, the likelihood of a social profile page ranking depends on how many other pages are linking to it.

Fortunately, most social networks let you add links to other social networks in the profile.

Linking between profiles is a fast way to optimize them all at once.

Caution: As you create new social profiles, remember you’ll need to keep them updated. If you’re making profiles on sites where you’re not likely to be active, avoid language such as “five years of experience” or “50 successful projects.” If you keep the descriptions more general, the profile won’t go out-of-date very quickly.

But here’s more to personal SEO than social networks…

13. Author Bio Pages on Blogs

Guest blogging is sometimes considered a spammy personal SEO tactic.

But you can’t argue with this benefit: The bio pages for guest bloggers often rank at the top of page one in searches for the authors name.

One post on a site such as Entrepreneur may lead to a profile that ranks high for years.

This is another way to manage your personal SEO.

14. Your Profile on Your Own Website

There is one more super important place to manage your appearance in search results: Your own site, where you’re not “building on rented land.”

You control it, so make it your masterpiece.

Here’s how to optimize your own profile page for your name:

  • Use your name as the URL.
  • Use your name in the beginning of the <title> tag.
  • Every profile on every social network should link to this page.
  • This page should link only to current profiles and networks where you are active (these links can be “nofollow” and target=”_blank”).
  • Link to your Google+ profile using the “rel=me” tag.

Personal Search Results… Polished!

The entire process of buffing your personal search results should take less than an hour.

It can make Google sparkle for your name.

If your personal brand doesn’t sparkle offline, no amount of personal SEO will help, but for anyone who wants to shine it up online, an hour of waxing and polishing is absolutely worth it…!

About Andy Crestodina


Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a web design company in Chicago, and the author of Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing. You can find Andy Thursdays after work drinking a Milk Stout at the Long Room on Irving and Ashland.

13 comments
pendor
pendor

Thanks for the invaluable tips. I just asked 2 people to recommend me on LI and they responded before I could even complete this article! Appreciate your thoroughness.

Digital_DRK
Digital_DRK

Thanks Andy these are great tips!  

belllindsay
belllindsay

Always love an Andy Crestodina post. Such fantastic information and learning ops, and always so easily understood!! My hero.  

RobBiesenbach
RobBiesenbach

Thanks, Andy! Great tips as always. My Google+ bio shows up relatively low, on page 2 (of public results). I wonder if that's because I'm not super active there or because I don't have the "rel me" tag from my home page ...

Also, I have a question about title tags. My website was set up years ago with a not-very-good tag, which I never really noticed until recently. So I've changed it to be more optimized, but I've heard and read that it can take a long time for Google to pick up on a new title tag and that often Google just makes the decision for you anyway based on what "it" thinks is best. Is that true?

LauriRottmayer
LauriRottmayer

Awesome. I have pages and pages of Lauri Rottmayer on google, all having to do with me, except that one link from the guy who hijacked my name. His link is always on the first page.  I'll be making sure all these things are done and hopefully that will help! Thanks! :-)

Latest blog post: Meet Me at CoffeeCON!

Eleanor Pierce
Eleanor Pierce

Here I thought I was doing great! Looks like I have some work to do ...

crestodina
crestodina

@pendor Sounds like you've got a great network. That makes everything easier, doesn't it?

crestodina
crestodina

@T60Productions"On one of the final plays of last Saturday's 34-3 USC rout of Washington State, center Tony Gnau snapped the ball to punter John Stonehouse, then charged downfield and made the tackle."

We need to get this page to rank higher, Tony!

crestodina
crestodina

@RobBiesenbach Hi, Rob! It shouldn't take long for Google too see the new title. Usually, just a few days. If it doesn't find the title to be relevant (for example, if you're home page title is "home") then it may create a different title for you.


If you're working on the title of your profile page, just make it your full name, followed by your city and/or job title. That should do it. 


If you'd like to get your Google+ profile to rank higher, you can link to it from more places (just the way you'd build links for any page you're pushing through search). The personal profile on your own site is a good place to start. Also, if you're using Authorship, you'll invariably end up linking to it from blog posts like this one. Make sense?

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