Command and Control Your Google Results
February 26 by Dan Schawbel | Work
In my last post, I gave you an introduction to your Google results and forced all of you to Google your name. If you have a common name, you should use your middle name or brand yourself relative to a topic ; if you have a unique name, you are in a position to own your results page quite easily.
Many of you will get random results when you search on your name, with people who share your name and are in various bands or arts. Others will find “spam” sites that you want removed. Today, I’m going to teach you how to command your Google results, so that you can control what shows up for your name in Google over time. Our main focus is for you to own the top ten results because the majority of internet users stop after the first page. Recruiters, your manager, your teacher, your family, your friends and the next male or female you ask on a date is going to Google you. Are you prepared?
Google is watching you
Google has it’s eyes on you and your movement on the web and there is no “off button.” It’s been a few years since Paris Hilton was in jail or done something incredibly stupid. In fact, I haven’t really heard much about her in a long time, which says that she’s been out of trouble. A-Rod, Michael Phelps and Chris Brown have taken her place for the time being. Although Paris has been low-key, Google has still not forgiven her for that damn sex tape she produced with her ex-boyfriend in late 2007 (see snapshot below).
How did this news story, out of the UK, wind up on the first page of Paris’s Google results? Well, it contained her full name in the title and was probably linked to a million times because it was scandalous and involved a major celebrity. Plus, men must have gone crazy over it. If you’re a man, just admit it right now! Over time, Paris may never be able to get rid of this article because of it’s popularity, especially because her PR people don’t know the few secrets that you will learn from reading this blog post.
You can have control and here’s how
There are two main ways to take control of your Google results: be a content creator and claim your name on social networks. It also helps to be well networked because that’s how you’ll get more opportunities to write content for sources that rank high in Google. The more content you create and social networks you join, the better the chances are that those results will show up for your name.
The largest social networks all have a Google PageRank of 8 or higher. These include Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and Ning. By registering for each using your full name (branded name), they will start showing up in Google within 48 hours for your name. When I say “branded name,” I mean the name you want the world to recognize you as. For instance, I want people to call me Dan instead of Danny or Daniel and your name might be Jaclyn, but you might want to be called Jackie, etc. Other social networks you should consider are Flickr, Delicious and FriendFeed, which all have about a 6 or 7 PageRank. Aside from using your name, you’ll want to optimize the page for search engines by filling our your profiles completely.
Blogs and traditional sites
You don’t have to spend a lot of time on social networks to have them rank high for your name in Google. All you have to do is register for them. With traditional web pages (or static pages), you only have to update your profile once in a while, as your career progresses and your interests change as an individual. All of you should have your own domain name (yourname.com), which you can get through any registrar, such as Godaddy, Host Monster or Bluehost. Then you can build a web page, using your name in the title, around your interests or as a professional resume.
Your other option is to start a blog, which is a dynamic website that reads in chronological format. You’re reading one right now! Anyways, blogs are always getting easier to build and you can get a free one using Google Blogger or WordPress.com. You could also get the paid versions on your own host or register with Typepad.com. Either way, you’re making the commitment that you’re going to deliver content consistently. This takes hard work, but after a few posts, your blog will shoot up the rankings for your name. If you don’t want to do this, you may want to guest post on another blog (or in addition to blogging).