Posts Tagged ‘Web search engine’

Just because you have a LinkedIn profile doesn’t mean your personal branding and visibility efforts are complete, however, you’re off to a great start! A great start because of LinkedIn’s 380 million strong membership base, visibility, ease-of-use and maybe the most important reason: the embedded search features that facilitate your discoverability. Having a completed profile and professional headshot on LinkedIn is a giant step toward bridging the gap between your “virtual” or online presence and your offline persona. However, the important question is this: What is your discoverability quotient?

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If you’re like many people, you’re probably on Facebook , TwitterGoogle+ (really?), PinterestInstagram and a handful of other networking-related sites. You may not be as active as some people you know, but odds are you’ve at least set up a profile to see what all the noise is about. If you are reasonably active, you may have created a Klout account to measure your so-called “social influence” or even uploaded your headshot to Gravatar and registered on Google Profiles to make yourself more “discoverable” by search engines like GoogleBing and Yahoo? If you’re really on top of your game, you’ve created a account with GoDaddy and purchased your name as a dot com (or .net, .me, or all of the available extensions).

The truth is, you probably have a little bit of yourself spread around in several different places on the web with the result being a very fragmented digital footprint. Odds are, most of your personal profiles are not as complete as they could be, your information is inconsistent and this lack of a coordinated effort is suppressing your visibility. This makes for something less-than-optimal in terms of results when someone searches for you online. News flash! More people than you might think are searching your name: friends, co-workers, new acquaintances, business associates (before, during or after the meeting), vendors, a prospective employer, a committee member, a recruiter, and so forth and so on. Remember, passive recruiting is rampant today and with the internet being the new first impression, you’ll likely have one just chance to make a quality impression and you should be the best version of your online self. More and more its the first step in meeting someone.

With an ever expanding digital footprint, how do you coordinate your overall presence, improve your search engine discoverability and maximize your personal branding and visibility efforts? The most efficient way to accomplish this is by using one of several personal branding sites to help coordinate and amplify your visibility. BrandYourself and About are two of the more popular platforms. These sites allow you to create a comprehensive profile and once completed, either has the appearance of a personalized website. If you happen to own your name as a dot com, all the better as that adds a high level of personalization.

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Here’s the really cool part––the purpose of these personal branding sites is to link all of your online activities together under a hub and spoke type of approach in order to maximize your visibility with the various search engines. These sites allow you to link all of your online activities and profiles for the purpose of optimizing your visibility. Your discoverability quotient will improve significantly.

Who doesn’t want to be discovered?

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I will help you jumpstart momentum…

I don’t care who gets credit; I just want to win…

I catalyze businesses poised for growth…

I run toward the fire…

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These attempts at describing personal attributes have each appeared in an actual online profile or what is now known as a social resume.  Good or bad, maybe even over-the-top, they were an effort at not appearing average. When it comes to personal branding, you can’t afford to be timid. Figure out what’s special or extraordinary about you and tell the world with every tool available–just be authentic! Choose your words carefully and avoid those overused buzzwords that seem to appear on almost every social and hard copy resume. Words like those that were identified as the Top 10 most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn in 2013: Creative, Organizational, Effective, Motivated, Extensive Experience, Track Record, Innovative, Responsible, Analytical and Problem Solver. 

How do you describe you? What’s remarkable about you? Are you famous for something (even among your friends)? What makes you interesting? What do you do well? If you were a company, how would you advertise your product? Would you have a social media strategy and what would it be? Would you be on Facebook and LinkedIn? Twitter? Yes, yes and yes–of course you would! And, you would carefully construct your ad and promotional package to reflect the characteristics, attributes and benefits of your product. You would clearly communicate what’s unique about it and why people should buy it, right? Most importantly, if you don’t raise the value, you have to cut the price. Price should be interpreted as a job offer, salary increase or any number of other potentially compelling opportunities. YOU are the value.

Just remember this: Whatever you do, avoid the vast sea of samenessyou want to stand out, not blend in. You want to stand out not only for who you are but for what you do. It’s one thing for your name to appear at the top of a google query or at least on the first page of results when someone types in your name, but its something all together different (and quite impressive) for your name to appear on the first page of results based on a google inquiry of a particular profession or position. Imagine if someone googled “CEO”, “attorney”, “administrative assistant” or “screenwriter” and your name appeared on or at the top of the first page! That would be the pinnacle of personal branding! We wouldn’t want to set our sights any lower than that, right?

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[Technical Point] As you think about and develop a list of words and phrases that best describe you, it’s important to contemplate certain keywords that will likely match the search criteria that others may be entering into one of the search engines to find you. It’s important that these keywords are woven into the fabric of your profile–headline, body and summary. There was a time when those more sophisticated than others, related to enhancing search results would use all of the obvious keywords in the associated meta-tags but meta-tags have become so polluted that the major search engines now virtually ignore them and look for keyword matches throughout the actual document. OK, enough of that. While you don’t have a crystal ball, you should give serious thought to your key words and phrases–they make a significant difference in your search relevance. Remember, editing is work-in-progress, on-going and never ends. The good news is the fact that YOU are your only product and hopefully a high priority. And, working on something this important is always easier to get into and stay excited about. You deserve you’re full attention.

So, give serious thought to the words and phrases used in your branding efforts. Don’t be humble or timid when developing your brand but do avoid being arrogant and that means choosing your words very carefully. Furthermore, your brand is your value promise and you have to market the you-know-what out of it to everyone, everywhere, everyday. That includes not only the people you work with but your entire virtual network. If you take advantage of all the tools available to you, they will work on your behalf around the clock. They are your full-time agents in other words and who couldn’t use that? Remember, personal branding is not an exercise in humility.

Be bold, not bashful.

Don’t aim to be average, you might just hit your target.

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