If personal branding unlocks the many benefits of social media participation then search engine optimization, or SEO, is the key to that lock.
To follow up on my Personal Branding in Social Media: First Steps post I’d like to look at a few ways to ensure you’ll be found – whether it’s for a job, for your business or just to network with others.
First, have you Googled yourself lately? You do Google yourself regularly, don’t you?
If you do a web search (and by Google I mean all search although we all know who dominates this space) on yourself you will fairly quickly see how others see you on the web. And for the purposes of this post I’ll assume you want to be found.
As it relates to personal branding it is very important that you are found quickly … preferably at or near the top of the first page of Google search results. So how do you get there? I’m glad you asked …
5 Steps to a Search Engine Optimized-Personal Brand Through Social Media:
1. Own the URL of your own name: If your name as a “.com” is still available run out (no sprint!) and buy it now. You get one shot at this – seize it. If your name is already taken find a way to get a distinct version of your name as a URL. The closer you can tie it you as a person, the better. For example, I was lucky to grab mikejohansson.com when it was available, but if it wasn’t I was willing to settle for MikeJohanssonNY or MikeJNY (I live in New York).
Having your own name as a URL (and some kind of website about you at that address) is quite important. On this website you will link to all of your other web presences. Elsewhere (social networks included) you will link to this website. All of this helps the web spiders that in turn help Google Search understand that you are THAT individual and not some other person with the same or a similar name and then rank you and the search results you appear in.
2. Use your name consistently across the web: Whatever name you use in life, on a resume, on the web or across your social networks needs to be consistent. That way someone looking for Bob Harris won’t be confused when they find Robert Harris. For example, if you Google Mike Johansson you should find a lot of stuff about me. At least that’s what SEO efforts in personal branding should be getting me.
3. Use keywords: Make sure you have an elevator pitch (the 30-second statement about who you are and what you do) that has your essential keyword phrases in it. This pitch should set you apart from others. All or part of it should be used as your bio across all social networks.
4. Link all of your online presences: This seems obvious, perhaps. Whatever platforms you are on you should highlight the others on which you can be found. For example, on Facebook tell people how to find you on Twitter and Linkedin or how to find your blog. Some social networks allow you to post clickable links while others (such as Twitter) do not. Post clickable links where you can or incorporate your Facebook and other links as part of the background image on sites such as Twitter. This cross-linking will pay big dividends when someone searches for you because no matter where they first find you they instantly know where else they can connect with you.
5. Check, and recheck, how others see you: You should Google your own name at least once a week. Look for how you do, or don’t, show up in the first page of results. Notice what other results show up further down. Are there some that you want to get rid of (I’ll blog about that soon). Look for clues to see who else shows up in that search and try to determine if a change in your keywords or adding one more social network might put you ahead of them in the race to be found.
Practice all of these steps in social media and you will see yourself rise up in the search engine results. But maybe you know of other simple steps in personal branding SEO that I haven’t covered here, please share them …
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