How to Own Yourself on the Web
After having a nice recent conversation with Jeff Liebert lately, I read his fantastic post in the WMW supporter’s forum about Are Businesses and People Adapting to the WWW Publicity Machine?
As a brief aside, he had a note about declaring his emancipation proclamation for owning his own name online, so I thought I’d give a few tidbits, based on some of the stuff I’ve done. I had that same AHA! moment several years ago, when I noticed my resume online ranking for my name, and decided it was time to take a more proactive approach. Google results are your new resume whether you’re going on a date, getting a job, or representing your company. Reputation management is the new personal branding. Here’s some tips on emancipating your reputation. It’s not EASY – but it’s better than having a video of someone singing bad karoake ranking for your name.
1. Register your name on Naymz, Linkedin, Myspace, Facebook, Squidoo, Digg and other social media sites.
I repeat this often for good reason. These are great places to start for low competition names. If your name is more common, you will need to get a bit more creative with how you use these.
2. Have a friend interview you.
Do a reciprocal interview, or triangle
link exchange interview if necessary.
3. Volunteer to write an article on something you’re good at.
Most sites would love to have some unique content (myself included). Ask them to give you a bio, and link to some of the sites in #1, or embed links yourself.
4. Own your .com, .net, and .org.
At minimum you should own one of these. Is your name Joe Smith? Tack something on the end. JoeSmithblog.com or Joe-smith.net. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative if you have to, just make sure your name is in the domain. Write a couple pages about yourself, put up some pictures.
5. Start a new site or 3 and put your name in the title tag.
Repeat above with alter egos or domain names you thought were cool and registered during a weak moment. Put them to use. Hosting is cheap. Be sure to put your name in the title, url, and any other place you can cram it.
6. Do a couple videos or make a podcast
You can do it with a freakin’ digital camera if you’re really lazy. With universal search, they show up right in the serps. Most industries have some podcasts now – the hosts are always looking for guests, be proactive and pitch a show idea to them.
7. Put a picture up, and make sure to use proper alt text and a caption
Bam! You’re optimized for image search. To be safe, hotlink to it from a couple different places
8. Sign up on a couple forums – Use your REAL name!
Why use an alter ego if you’re going to be a responsible community member anyhow? (you can always sign up with an alter ego for flaming and trolling)
There’s actually an interesting discussion of the topic of using your own name on message boards in the WMW supporter’s forum.
9. Do a press release about how you did something.
You just built a website! You just joined facebook! You just sneezed! Yeah! Yea it’s shameless. You’re optimizing for your name here you remember.
10. Speak at an industry event, local event, or at the local library
You’ll likely get a bio page and a link – and links rule.
- Quit being paranoid – I’m looking in your general direction tin foil hatters – I was that way too – accept it – people will google you, and you might as well be proactive
- Look for places you can publish where your name ends up in the title tag.
- The search results for your name is likely not that competitive unless you have a very common name.
- Use your name in urls, titles, headings, etc, whenever possible. Have a look at important keyword use factors.
- If you have a common name, focus on optimizing a single page versus owning EVERY page in the search result. Use the same techniques, but be sure to link them all back to your targeted high power hub page.
- Another technique with a common name would be to associate a location like Albany, NY or Frankenmuth, MI with your name.
- Andy Beal’s reputation management guide
- Lee Odden on reputation management
- B. Pro’s guide to reputation management
- One step further – keywords you should own (wmw supporter’s forum)
What else have you done to "own your reputation" online more proactively?