How to Google Yourself (And Like What You Find)

by Devin Anderson · 41 comments

Google Yourself
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This is a guest post by a chap named Devin Anderson.

And get your mind out of the gutter people! ;) I know you went there! 

This is actually quite an informative read on making yourself prominent in the Google SERPS for your name. Hopefully I don’t have to tell you how valuable that can be.

I’d appreciate if you’d make him feel welcome in the comments below and drop any questions you may have for him there. 

Are you sick of reading about more important people with your name? Wouldn’t it be great if the results you see were actually about you?

By populating the Search-Engine Results Page (SERP) with media you control, you can make this happen.

Owning the Google Results Page allows you to:

  • Control what a potential employer sees when they Google you
  • Promote your business online
  • Bury any bad press you may have gotten in the past
  • Confidently tell girls to “Google Me” instead of exchanging phone numbers. (Warning: Not as smooth as it sounds on paper!)

Step 1: Choose a Name

This is the most important part of the entire process. Why? Because the more unique your name is, the easier it will be for Google to find you.

If you are lucky enough to have a somewhat original name then you can skip this section. This is for all the John Smiths, James Browns and Katy Perrys out there who want to set themselves apart from others who have their name.

The easiest way to re-brand a common, or celebrity, name is to include an extra initial or middle name.

EG: John P. Smith or Katy Madeline Perry.

It is crucial that those who Google you know to include your middle name or initial. In order to make this happen, you’ll need to start referring to yourself like this in all your professional communications. Job applications, business cards, author credits, interviews… anything you can think of!

Step 2: Get a Website

There are two things you want to bear in mind when registering a domain: 

  1. Your name in the URL
  2. An extension relevant to your country.

 E.G    www.JohnPSmith.com  (America)               www.RichardChopin.fr  (France) 

After the URL, the next most important place to include your name is in the Meta Title of the homepage. Be as specific as possible with your Meta Title. Try to limit it to just your name + a very brief description of yourself.

This guy is doing it right!

When filling your website with content, make sure you include your name several times. This will come naturally if you write about yourself in the third person – which most resumé editors recommend doing anyway.

If including images of yourself, be sure to include your name in the Title and Alt Description of the image files. These may pop up in Google Images.

Once this is done, submit your website to Google and other search-engines. It should appear on the first page for your named-searches within a couple of days (as per the illustrated example). Once that’s done, the next will be to control the rest of the SERP.

Step 3: Get Your Social On

Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google Plus, Vimeo… even if you don’t plan on using these for networking, they are excellent ways to supplement your website and fill the SERP with you.

  1. LinkedIn 

LinkedIn profiles typically rank quite high for named-searches. Include your middle name (if using it) and be sure to link back to your homepage.

  1. Twitter 

Again, in your account details, include your full name. Try to include your full name in your @username as well if possible as this will help your profile rank higher. Complete a short bio and link back to your homepage. It’s not necessary to actually engage with Twitter if you don’t want to.

I would, however, recommend that you follow a couple of leaders in your industry and tweet a few times at the beginning. Once Google has indexed your profile and you’ve floated out a couple of intelligent tweets you can feel free to move on.

  1. Youtube & Vimeo

Ever been involved in a presentation or interview that you were particularly proud of? Starred in a commercial or produced a short film? Stick it up on these websites and include your name in both the title and description of the video.

These days you’re increasingly likely to see videos and images among the regular text results on Bing and Google. It’s therefore important to spread your eggs among a variety of media-baskets if you want to totally dominate your SERP.

  1. Blogging

It would be hard to overestimate the power of blogging when it comes to online reputation management. If you want to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, a blog is a great way to go about doing this.

The only downside is that it takes a significant amount of time to update a blog regularly.

Follow the guidelines as above for naming and designing your blog site, but make sure the content is distinctly different to the content on your main website. Creating, what’s called, ‘duplicate content’ will cause all sorts of SEO problems later.

I recommend starting with WordPress and installing Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. There are plenty of online guides to help you get your blog up and running so have a search around! 

Step 4: Become an Author

So you’ve got a website, a Twitter profile, a LinkedIn page, a handful of Youtube videos, and maybe even a blog. Now it’s time to tie it all together!

Google recently begun listing author information along with search results. This allows you to be recognised by the SERPs for content which you helped produce and articles you’ve had published on other websites.

To do this, create a Google Plus account and follow these steps to becoming an author in the eyes of Google. It won’t take long and will prevent other John Smiths from getting credit for your work later on.

Step 5: Get Your PR On!

Do anything you can to get yourself published in the newspaper (within reason!). If an opportunity arises to be interviewed, take it. Sponsor or organise a local event. Run a campaign for charity. Be creative.

Newspapers and other old publications tend to have high-ranking websites. If your name is published in the local paper you can be almost certain that your good deeds will be indexed by The Big G.

Final Note For Business Owners

If you run your own business be sure to submit a listing to Google Places and as many local business directories you can find.

This will help push your website up towards number 1 in the SERP and, in the case of big sites like Yellowpages.com, provide you with an additional positive search result.

Please leave a comment if you’ve any questions or if you’d like me to go into further detail on any of the above steps!

And if you liked/loved/adored this post… please tell your pals about it and share it. You know I <3 you for it! :D  Also as a complimentary addition to the information in the above post, be sure to check out Ana’s post on Googling yourself as well.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Tea Silvestre November 30, 2011 at 1:03 PM

I believe I’m literally THE only Tea Silvestre on Planet Earth, so folks don’t necessarily have a hard time finding out about me when they know my name. (Google’s got about 35,000 search results for me). What do you suggest for getting your name associated with something more generic? Like “marketing consultant.” (I think I know the answer, but I’d love to hear what you have to say.)

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admin December 1, 2011 at 12:56 PM

LOL Good point Tea! :) Isn’t it nice to be an original?

I have to say, getting known for a generic (and reasonably competitive) term like marketing consultant isn’t nearly as easy as your name I’m sure. Branding and entrepreneurship are some of my key terms, and as far as I know, I’m STILL not ranking as high as would be ideal for them. lol However I only know enough about SEO to get my ass in trouble, so there ya go. ;)

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Raj November 30, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Oh, how I wish newspapers could line up to take my interview – No problem, they still have time :) I guess having a ‘unique name’ helps. Just like ‘unique content’!!
Raj recently posted..Traffic Tuesday – “Added Value” Blog CommentsMy Profile

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admin December 1, 2011 at 12:56 PM

That it does Raj!

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Pete November 30, 2011 at 3:56 PM

What a great article. I do SEO professionally, and I have to answer this question every day: “should I build a presence for my business alone, or myself as well.”

I always tell them: Its not about choosing between the two, engage customers through marketing, engage information-seekers by being an expert and offering usable content. You need to build yourself before you can do that.

I’ll just forward them here from now on!

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admin December 1, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Very well said Pete!

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Serena November 30, 2011 at 5:22 PM

I don’t own my own business (yet!), but as a regular blogger and an aspiring musician I found this article very helpful! Thanks!

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admin December 1, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Awesome, glad you enjoyed Devin’s post Serena.. be sure to check out Ana’s post too below, she’s a veritable fount of the type of information that makes my eye balls cross. lol :)

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Ana November 30, 2011 at 10:30 PM

Interesting read, Devin.

I actually published a post over at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com on the same topic recently. http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/9082/how-to-get-your-name-on-google/

My post goes a bit more in depth as to HOW to get those social profiles and yourname.com site to be ranked on Google.

I am afraid simply creating a site and some social media profiles won’t do it. Without proper SEO and link building the chances are great that some negative piece of information about you with a couple of links thrown to it will still outrank all your social media properties.

Additionally, I do understand why a John Smith needs to use a middle initial; however, for most of us, it’s not advisable. People will have much easier time remembering Ana Hoffman vs Ana blah-blah Hoffman and will still tend to drop the middle section in favor of the simple first and last name.
Ana recently posted..Best Affiliate Marketing Programs that PayMy Profile

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admin December 1, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Excellent post as always Ana, and thanks for sharing your point of view to fill in some gaps. Without posts like yours and Devin’s, I’m afraid I’d be a floundering duck when it comes to things like SEO, search engines and all that (not) so fun stuff. That’s why I’m such a big fan of outsourcing. ;) LOL

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Ana December 1, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Devin is not available to respond to comments, Cori? LOL
Ana recently posted..Internet Marketing ToolsMy Profile

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admin December 2, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Hmm.. not sure what’s up. He responded to a couple originally, so I just shot him an email letting him know there were more. I’ll keep you posted, hopefully he’s available today to respond further.

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Devin Anderson - TBF December 3, 2011 at 5:31 AM

Hi Ana,

Cheers for that. I agree that without investing time into linkbuilding & on-site optimisation that you could be outranked by negative pages. However, online reputation management, when negative press is floating around, is far more complicated than simply controlling a SERP. I wrote this post in the interest of those who don’t appear at all online when Google’d for, and who want to start carving out their own space.

I don’t agree that middle names are necessarily harder to remember. Some can even make a brand out of them …J.P Morgan, J.R.R Tolkien (no idea what his extra R’s stand for, but it’s memorable).

There are endless guides online for how to do linkbuilding and how to seo your site, and I didn’t feel I needed to rehash it all in detail here.

I had a read of yours there. I like your suggestion to buy all the other domains with variations on your brand name – something I clearly overlooked, but which would be quite beneficial to anyone with a few quid to spare!

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Ana December 4, 2011 at 10:24 PM

I do agree that controlling negative press (if it can be controlled at all) goes beyond just controlling the first page of Google. However, since that’s what your post was about (the first page of Google for your brand/name), that’s what I focused my comment on.

Middle initial? We’ll have to agree to disagree, I think. For every JP Morgan, there are millions who don’t use their middle initial and still do just fine, Devin – you and me including.

Thanks for your response!
Ana recently posted..Thesis ThemeMy Profile

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Devin Anderson - TBF December 8, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Yep, sure as you know yourself every SEO project is different. Tactics that work for one may not be necessary or even appropriate for another job. Cheers for the comments!

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admin December 20, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Amen to that!

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Devin Anderson at The Brand Factory December 1, 2011 at 5:14 AM

@Tea – Hey Tea, nice name! What I would do is not far off what you have already done. I see you already control pretty much the entire SERP for “Tea Silvestre”. From there it’s just a matter of knowing what you want to be known for, and sending that message. You could, for example, change the Meta Title on TheWordChef.com to “Tea Silvestre | Marketing Consultant” – Title tags act as the headlines in the Google results. If you want to appear for searches for ‘Marketing Consultant’ that’s possible too, but would take more time because that key-phrase is more competitive than your name (more people want to rank for marketing consultant)

@Pete – Cheers for the comment, Pete! I agree with you there, and would add that, in the case of small and micro businesses, the business owner IS the brand. Too often brand owners try to step back from their business – forgetting that people don’t buy businesses, they buy people. (speaking from a B2B perspective at least)

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Yasir Khan December 1, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Thank you Devin for your interesting post. Anyone who owns an online business, or actually anyone who wants to have online presence will surely find this piece very helpful. Thank you for reminding us about the importance of META Tags, Alt and Descriptions — (a lot of people tend to forget). The importance of social networking should not be disregarded, too (as you mentioned). Looking forward to more posts from you.

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Jon Anscher December 2, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Too true. It’s so important to maintain consistency with your online presence just as you would with your websites, blog articles, etc. I’m lucky with a name that is uncommon, but if it’s not, try to find a consistent way to identify yourself!

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admin December 5, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Anscher is definitely different! :) But that’s a great tip, finding a consistent way to identify yourself.

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Ricci Sionil December 3, 2011 at 9:25 AM

This is really great…But I don’t know how to create my own website…Do I have to do it using Wordpress?

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admin December 5, 2011 at 10:32 PM

You don’t have to Ricci, but Wordpress is a pretty easy to learn platform. This might help- http://www.siteground.com/tutorials/wordpress/

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Jon Anscher December 5, 2011 at 10:41 PM

The advantage of Wordpress is that you don’t need to know a lot about website creation. There are tons of templates and it’s very customizable. Wordpress has gone way beyond just a blog interface. Of course, if you are looking for an easy way to design a website, and you have a Mac, I’d highly recommend RapidWeaver. It is equally easy to figure out and even more customizable.

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admin December 6, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Oh if only I had a Mac! :D Still haven’t broke down and got one though, other than my iPad. :) But I love Wordpress, it’s pretty easy to learn, lots of ways to customize, and self-hosted options mean you own your own real estate.

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Jon Anscher December 6, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Hahaha, no RapidWeaver for iPad… yet… (hint hint to any Realmac employees listening in :-P).

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admin December 20, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Damn. :)

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Frank December 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Hi Devon,

I’m in competition with some Baseball player at the minute. However, there are times when I would love to bury my name permanently. I will give it a go with my main website name though, as I hope to eventually build a brand from it. Cheers for the ideas.

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admin December 5, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Damn baseball players. :) Glad you enjoyed the read Frank!

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George Suarez December 10, 2011 at 5:31 AM

Hi Devin,

I’m wondering if Google + is a good social media site to utilize in the social media marketing? I’ve read great reviews about the site but i feel that more users are needed before making this site part of my strategy. I’d like to hear your expert opinion with regard to this. Thank you.

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Devin Anderson - TBF December 14, 2011 at 7:57 AM

Hi George,

From an SEO point of view, Google + is very important. Increasingly Google is integrating social media shares, likes, etc into their ranking algorithms. If someone who is connected to you shares something via Google +, then that something will be more likely to appear in front of you in Google search results.

From a purely social media marketing point of view I couldn’t say.

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admin December 20, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Hey George.. from what I’ve been understanding (and I could be wrong!), Google Plus is going to be figured more and more prominently in Google’s algorithms. So for that reason alone, it could be a viable social network to give some attention to. And more and more bloggers that I know are using it, so it’s growing pretty rapidly.

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Geekyard December 11, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Simple and best article Devin :) Blogging is an ocean, one has to have passion towards it to become a Pro Blogger

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Doug December 27, 2011 at 1:37 AM

ill just give myself a pat on the back, i think iv got that list covered :)

Nice article, i actually wish i had read it a long time ago

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admin January 2, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Lol pat away Doug! :)

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Alex December 30, 2011 at 4:14 AM

Hi, and thank you for amazingly detailed strategy, Devin. I’m now dreaming of the moment i tell my girl “google me”, dear, this really worth trying!

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Megan Curd January 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM

#BGB #Remix : How to Google Yourself (And Like What You Find) http://t.co/defX3oS8

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Megan Curd January 1, 2012 at 5:56 PM

#BGB #Remix : How to Google Yourself (And Like What You Find) http://t.co/defX3oS8

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Jason January 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My blog site is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks!

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admin January 2, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Hey Jason not at all as long as you provide proper credit and sourcing. :) I’ll take it as a compliment!

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How To Rap Book January 25, 2012 at 2:42 PM

That is pretty cool by putting your name as a title tag. That can definitely work. Then just get your backlinks and you’re ready to go.

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Noel English February 16, 2012 at 6:29 AM

And here I am thinking I have a unique name and can therefore get the number one spot for it on Google. I guess I have to topple Wikipedia first…and a slew of other big websites as well.

Yours,
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

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