As a marketer you spend so much time on buyer personas and ranking your company website high in the world of Google. But are you doing this for yourself? Have you defined your persona and implemented SEO best practices for you, the person that does so many awesome things in your related field?
I've spent eight years building a career. Learning any and everything I could to be the best at whatever I'm doing. With all the learning I've done in eight years, no one told me to care about how I rank in Google Searches. Of course I've been smart enough to keep things professional on Twitter and LinkedIN, but until last year, that's about all I thought mattered.
If you do something awesome and it's not on the first page of Google, did you actually do it?
Last year I had an "aha" moment and began to build my own persona and take control of my personal SEO. Those who know me know my persona, they know my high level of credibility and expertise, but no one else does. Many people believe that through blogging they'll accomplish this feat, however they're actually wrong.
It takes years for a small, one person blog to grow to any sort of standing in Google that matters. Sure, it will be found when your name is searched, but 99% of people aren't going to take the time to read all of your blogs to get to know you, the professional. You need to show them who and what you are in 140 characters, and no, I don't mean just use Twitter.
Large websites such as Twitter, linkedIN, Social Media Today, etc. all have a high standing in Google so they'll help you to the top of Google before your personal blog will even begin to take shape.
Your time should be spent and your attention focused on creating concise, easy to consume content that showcases your persona credibility and expertise. Whether that's short blog posts on LinkedIN, tweeting, or answering questions on Quora, you can give the world exactly what they need to know about you.
Pause before you press send
We've all tweeted or posted on Facebook an image we wish we could take back. Some of us are smart enough to delete said image, but remember this is the internet where things don't quickly go away with a delete action. It's still cataloged somewhere. If you're lucky it hasn't grown any legs by the time you delete it, but if it has, here's how you get rid of it: take photos you want people to see and link them with proper titles to your name. If you have a previously defined standing with Google, you'll have these images on the top of Google searches for your name in no time.
We can take all the forward thinking action we like, but we can't stop others from harming our online reputation. If someone were to have a public Facebook page or Twitter profile and they post a picture of you that's, well, less than becoming of you, and your name is in the tag, title of the image, or description, there's a good chance it will show up in a search of your name on Google. This adds to the importance of having your own photos that you choose at the top of a Google search.
Above I talked about Quora LinkedIN and Twitter in regards to your own messaging. That also extends to images. Every profile you make on the internet (such as the one you have for Social Media Today) usually comes with a profile photo. The photo you use should be one that is saved on your computer with your name. It's best to use a different picture for every profile so you can add to the list of images that will appear in Google.
Now we have to remember how unique, or not unique for that matter, your name is. If your last name is Smith, you're going to have a long arduous road ahead of you. If your name is used in a movie or TV show, like mine (The Sopranos), your task is even more difficult. The reason that's more difficult is because most people don't spend their days ranking their name; but when money is on the line (TV shows and movies have investors to answer to) they're going to spend their vast resources ranking their links at the top of Google. It's taken me about a year to start leapfrogging The Sopranos the TV show in rankings, and my less than stellar links are still getting crushed by the show. Take this into consideration when you're working on your personal SEO:
If you're going up against the entertainment industry, you'll want to be more selective with the links you focus on so that you at least get something on the first page of Google and then go from there.
The next time you find yourself saying to someone "I'm not doing anything", consider working on your personal SEO/persona. It could make a difference the next time you're giving a talk or interviewing for a job, or someone is wondering if you're a credible source of information after seeing a post by you.