What Is Google saying about YOU?! How to Use Basic SEO to Manage Your Reputation
Have you considered what’s on the search engine results page for your name?
Whether you’re the CEO of a fortune 500, or just out of university and taking your first step on the career ladder, you should be interested in building your own personal brand.
1. Have you ever Googled your name?
2. Did you like what you saw?!
If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second question, then you may have your work cut out for you. But don’t worry, some basic SEO (search engine optimisation) can be used to transform your online image.
SEO is not just about generating leads and bringing traffic to a website
When we think of SEO, bringing traffic to a website in order to generate customers is what usually comes to mind – but SEO is so much more than that. It is the method by which we should be managing our reputation, and moderating the information that is accessible about us online.
With the ever growing plethora of information that is available online about each of us, it is important to take both your professional reputation, and the privacy of your personal life into consideration.
How can SEO be used to improve your reputation online?
Before coming up with an SEO strategy, we need to first understand how search engines like Google work:
Each time someone types a search-term into Google, its search engine calculates what it believes to be the most relevant results/websites for that serch-term, and serves those on the results page.
Search engines make this calculation through the use of complex algorithms made up of hundreds of separate rules/factors.
In order to shape and change the results that appear on the first page of Google for your name, you must make the pages that you want to appear, more relevant in the eyes of Google – and to do this you need to take the ranking factors used by Google’s ranking algorithm into consideration.
Sound complicated? Don’t worry. Formulating your SEO strategy will be much simpler with the aid of an SEO agency that can guide you through the process, step by step.
Forming Your Reputation Management SEO Strategy
Generally the two overriding motivations for using SEO to manage your reputation are:
1. You want to look good – accomplished by improving the rankings of web pages that you want to appear on the first page of Google.
2. You don’t want to look bad – accomplished again, by improving the rankings of good/neutral web pages so that they appear above negative web pages, thereby pushing those negative webpages down in the rankings.
There may also be a specific web page that contains defamatory remarks about you personally, which you do not want to be accessible anywhere on the internet – these types of issues need to be handled using a different method.
The SEO strategy used to adjust your online image will depend greatly on the individual results that appear on the first page of Google for your name/search-terms that include your name.
With that in mind, lets look at the methods you can use to manage the search results for your name:
Creating a page that ranks for your name
You may have a website that you want to rank for your name; or an author page on your site; or simply just an article on your site that has been published by you. Whatever the case, the optimisations that you need to make in order to give that page the best chance of ranking for your name will be the same, and they involve the ranking factors used by Google and other search engines that we discussed earlier.
Let’s look briefly at some of the most influential ranking factors:
- Keyword/relevancy: search engines judge how related pages are to a particular search term by the content on the page. If you are trying to rank for your name, but your name does not appear anywhere on the page you are trying to rank, search engines are not likely to judge that page as being relevant for your name. You should however avoid keyword stuffing/using a high keyword density for your name unnecessarily.
- Keyword/placement: where your name appears on the page can also be an important factor. Having your name in the url slug, the page headings, title tags, in bold, and in anchor text (where relevant), can have a positive impact.
- Site architecture:
Search engines gauge the quality of a website by how quickly the site loads; how easy it is for users to navigate the site; how well written the code of the site is; how crawlable the site is; whether or not there is duplicate content on the site; and by many other factors that should be taken into account to give your site a better chance of ranking in the search engine results
- Incoming links: Links from credible and authoritative websites will help your site rank above the rest. It is important to realise that a link from an site like BBC.co.uk is far more influential in ranking terms, than a link a new website.
- Social sharing:
If your page/site is shared on social media sites more than the other sites that rank for your name, this can also help you to rank higher in the search engine results.
Whether you rank first for your name will depend greatly on how competitive your name is as a search-term. If you happen to be named Michael Jackson then you’re going to have a tough time trying to rank a website for your own name. This is a simple consequence of there being very many highly authoritative web pages which already rank well for the the search-term “Michael Jackson” which you are going to have to outrank.
Dominating the first-page with authoritative social media profiles
A good strategy for removing embarrassing or negative pages from the results that appear for your name is to create a profile on each of the leading social media sites.
Social network sites are viewed as highly credible by Google (especially Google+!) and therefore personal profiles on these websites are often ranked high on the first page.
Thus the profiles you create for yourself will ranker higher than the pages that you do not want to rank for your name, and push them down to lower pages where they are no longer visible to anyone who does not navigate to the second page or further.
For the best possible effect, create a full profile on each of these social sites:
Removing Defamatory Pages from the Internet
Because of the nature of the internet, you will never be able to remove access to websites/pages that you do not want people to view using SEO. Search engines like Google act as a gateway to/listing for websites, and do host the data for sites.
One way to remove defamatory information about yourself from a site/page is to contact the owner of the page directly, and ask them to remove it.
If contacting the website owner fails, then reverting to one or both of the above strategies in order to dominate the first page is a good alternative.
For further information or help with managing your own reputation online, feel fee to contact us on 0203 604 0242, and we will be happy to assist you.