I may have shared this story before, but it’s one that makes me laugh every time and is quite applicable to today’s post-- An SEO company called me recently and proceeded to explain everything they could do to ‘help’ my company with its web presence.
Because I just love listening to the crapola that comes out of the mouths of many of these companies (considering it's a service I offer businesses), like usual, I listened intently with a smile. It went something like this.
Sale Guy: …..So yes, we can certainly help your company very much with its SEO. In fact, our company was founded by a gentleman who was one of the original innovators of SEO tactics. To prove it to you, all you have to do is Google “Mike Jones SEO” (name has been changed). As you’ll see, he is ranked #1!
Me: (Thinking this was quite possibly the most stupid pitch I’ve ever heard). Well that’s all fine and dandy, but tell me exactly what you could do for my company……
Over the next 15 minutes, the guy proceeded to tell me the biggest load of horse poop I’ve ever heard from one of these companies, which was quite entertaining because I rather enjoyed proving him wrong with just about every falsehood he was promising (you know, the parts about how I could be on the first page of any phrase in the world assuming they waved their magic wand and I shelled out ridiculous amounts of greenbacks...).
But to make a long story short, my patience wore off after a while and just to give myself a little sign-off smile, I went ahead and Googled the owner’s name without the inclusion of ‘SEO’ at the end. And do you know what then showed up in the search results?
Yep, you guessed it, not a dang thing. In other words, the guy, as ‘famous’ as he was in the world of SEO, wasn’t even listed on the first 2 pages of Google for his own name. Therefore, I just couldn’t resist finishing our conversation with this little dialogue:
Me: (after listening to the sales guy’s diatribe) Ok, so I get your point, you guys are great at SEO. But tell me, if you’re so great at SEO, why doesn’t your owner’s name appear on the first page of Google Search Results when I type in his name without the ‘SEO’ added?
Sales Dufus: (long pause) Uhhmmm, well, uhhmm, well….That doesn’t really matter, as he is the first to show for ‘Mike Jones SEO’.
Me: (really feeling my oats by now) I tell you what, why don’t you guys over there figure out how to get ranked on the first page of Google with your own name and then I’ll consider doing business with you. Sound good to you?
Sales Dufus: Uhhm, have a nice day.
Ahh, the glories to be had with SEO stalkers! Yep, this experience was certainly one of the more memorable I’ve had but in reality, the lesson has a very legitimate point:
If you are not ranking on the first page of Google for Your name, then you have a problem and your personal brand is suffering.
Although I could go into all the reasons why it’s important that you rank first page on Google and other search engines for your name, I trust everyone already understands this concept of ‘personal brand’ in a Web 2.0/Information Age era.
As you’ll see if you type ‘Marcus Sheridan’ in Google, roughly 35 or so of the first 40 results that show up are a direct reference about me. I’m not telling you this to brag, as it ain’t that hard to do for most names, but I want you to give it a quick look just so the following list makes as much sense as possible.
In order to help readers, assuming you haven’t already done so, rank as high and as much as possible for your name on the first few pages of Google, I’ve come up with 10 keys for name optimization. Also, before anyone squawks, I do understand that not all names are created equal, as some are much more competitive than others, but notwithstanding these principles apply to everyone. Let’s take a quick look.
10 Ways to Rank for Your Name in Search Engines Results Pages
1. Your Company Website: Always one of the easiest ways to rank high for your name, especially if you’ve designed your website properly and taken the time to create a nice bio and about page.
2. Facebook: Because of its incredible web authority, Facebook is everyone’s ticket to get ranked on the first page of Google. Notwithstanding, because most profiles are set to private, Facebook isn’t much for letting others get a glimpse of who you are unless you’ve got an open profile that anyone can read.
3. LinkedIn: Just like Facebook, LinkedIn has tons of authority and if your account is at all active and maintained, it will usually land you on the first or second page of search results.
4. Twitter: The last of the Social Media juggernauts, Twitter can be very effective assuming the account is registered in your name and is updated often.
5. Blog: Similar to having a company website but a blog is the perfect means to openly talk about and mention yourself often, all of which bodes quite well for search results.
6. Comment on other Blogs: Blog comments don’t typically show up on the first 10 results of a name, but they can be quite prevalent on other pages. (As can be seen when you search for 'Marcus Sheridan')
7. Have Other People Write about You: Because my swimming pool blog is quite opinionated, other persons/companies have written articles about me. Some are good, some are bad, but I see them all as a positive because they just draw more attention to the company website and our brand.
8. YouTube: As we’ve discussed many times on this blog, YouTube can be a tremendous SEO tool. This is why everyone should have an account under their name and you should also create videos with your name in the title, which will practically guarantee search engine ranking success.
9. Become an Author: Although this method certainly requires more work, it can be very well worth it. Because I’ve written 3 published paperback books, as well as a popular eBook, all 3 show up high in Search Engine Results when Googling my name.
10. Become an Ezine Article Author: Ezines are prevalent these days, and because they have such a huge amount of content they always do well with search engines. To become an author for one of these sites, you’ll need to fill out your bio and contribute articles. Other than adding more authority to your brand, ezines are a good way to rank quite high in search engines (and also generate anchor links back to your main site).
So there are 10 ways you can improve search results for your name and build your personal brand even further. What are some other methods you’ve used successfully? As always, your thoughts and comments are welcomed and appreciated.