“A little more bite and a little less bark
A little less fight and a little more spark…” – Elvis Presley
Because I used to work for an executive search firm, I sometimes get people sending me copies of their resumes for advice. Recently, the husband of one of my wife’s friends asked me for a resume critique as he was re-entering the job market. His resume was reasonably good, and I didn’t need to offer him too many suggestions on it, but on a lark, I entered his fairly unique name into Google.
Almost all the results listed a public official imprisoned in a different area of the country for multiple sex crimes in a case that seemed to have garnered quite a bit of regional publicity.
It should seem pretty obvious that the job applicant isn’t the same guy…or does it? A hurried HR person Googling the name might not appreciate the distinction and could unfairly toss away the resume just because of this connection.
Clearly, this guy won’t be able to totally knock his doppleganger out of the search engine results…but there are some things he can do to create positive results for himself.
Buy Your Name as a .com Domain Name
If the .com domain name for your name is available, please stop reading this post and go purchase it ASAP. Ultimately, the top reference for your digital identity in the eyes of Google isn’t your Twitter Feed or Facebook page; it’s your .com domain name. Basic, descriptive content about yourself placed on your .com domain name should garner a number-one Google ranking for anyone searching for you.
Other Domain Names
Owning your name in other domain extensions besides .com is also beneficial for online reputation management. I own ToddMintz.com…and .net, .org, .info, .biz, .co.uk, .ws, .me, & .tv. All the other Todd Mintz’s out there are pretty much shut out. :.) There are about a half-dozen of us out there, including a nature photographer and a commercial real estate agent. To those folks, I say:
Even if you don’t have readily available content to put on all your domain names, use a service like DomainApps to auto-populate the domain with content relevant to your name. If your domain doesn’t resolve or is just a parking page, it’s not going to appear in Google.
Free Blogging Services
Get a free account with your name attached to it at WordPress & Blogger. Put some basic, unique information about yourself online at each place. It will get picked up and ranked by Google.
Social Media Accounts
If social media ain’t your bag…no big deal. However, there is great value in setting up accounts for each of the major services because they will likely rank highly for your name. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc., will rank well for your name without a ton of effort (though having well-developed profiles in each place will help develop your online identity).
With Google’s emphasis on universal search results, it’s become pretty important to have diverse types of content featuring yourself online. It’s important to have some “appropriate” photos of yourself tagged with your name that can appear in Google; you should also have at least one video similarly tagged.
Without getting into complex linking strategies, you should decide which of your online listings will be your identity “hub” and throw some links thrown at it. As an example, if you own your .com domain name where basic information about you resides, you should send links there from your Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn Profiles. Similarly, from your domain name, you should link to all your social media profiles. While Google does penalize for excessive interlinking for competitive commercial queries, interlinking all your identity profiles is absolutely OK.
In short, even regular folks can populate the search engine results with positive or neutral mentions of their identity. The time for such a strategy is now…before the need becomes apparent.
- Todd Mintz, Senior SEM Manager