The Beginner’s Guide to Taking Control of Your Online Presence: Part 3
About this Series
So far in this series, you’ve diagnosed your online presence and learned the basics behind personal Search Engine Optimization. Now it’s time to actually build the foundation of your Google presence with these basic steps that everybody should follow. The idea behind this part is simple: you can’t make your Google results look better and practice strong online reputation management if you don’t own any positive content in the first place.
So let’s get started, and soon you’ll be ready to move on to Part 4: Advanced Tactics.
Step 1: Purchase Your Domain (yourname.com):
Find the Registrar. Purchasing your domain name is quite possibly the most important step you can take in gaining control of your online presence. At only $10 per year (more or less), purchasing your domain name is an investment opportunity that you can’t afford to miss. To buy your domain, you can visit any number of registrars such as hover.com, 1and1.com or GoDaddy.
What’s in a name? Ummm, everything. When deciding which domain to buy, remember that you are focusing on the name that people will most likely be searching. That is your keyword. As we’ve said before, this needs to be consistent. So, for example let’s say your professional name is Pete Kistler. If PeteKistler.com is taken, it’s much better to buy PeteKistler.net or PeteKistler.org, than to alter your name slightly and buy PeterKistler.com, or PeterLKistler.com (if you don’t actually go by that name).
Choosing domain extensions. In terms of the extension, .com is best, but if that is unavailable look for the .net or .org. Some sites offer deals if you purchase the same domain name with multiple extensions. Even if you are only planning to build one website, if the pricing seems reasonable, scoop up the .net and .org while you can! Even if you don’t build an entire website using these extra domains, you can always find uses for them later on. (Maybe you’ll end up using those domains for a more customized social media profile or to point to your main site.)
Register to own your domains for as long as you can. There are two reasons for this. First of all, the longer a domain is registered, the more credible search engines consider it, and two, you want to protect your own domain name. Even if you aren’t using it, you don’t want somebody else with your name to buy it themselves.
Step 2: Build a Personal Website:
Once you have purchased your domain, it’s time to build a personal hub on the web where you can display everything from your work history to your personal interests. Today, anybody can create their own personal website, without having any technical knowledge. There are a lot of options out there, but we usually recommend WordPress. It’s easy to get set up, but also allows for a lot of customization as you develop your personal identity online. This means that you have the luxury of changing the aesthetics and structure of the site as you get more and more familiar with how WordPress works. To learn advanced tactics in creating a search engine friendly website, visit Part 4 of the series.
Step 3: Get on Social Networks:
While creating your own website is an important step in forming a strong foundation for your online presence, remember that social media can play an important role in directing traffic to your site. Again, while we don’t know the exact weight that social media profiles have from an SEO standpoint, it’s clear that they can rank very well if you are consistently sharing and writing quality information, and remain active on these sites.
In short, if you’re trying to make your online presence more visible when it comes to Google search results, then creating professional social media profiles is essential. (We’ll go more in depth about the best profiles to use and how to structure them in Part 4: Advanced Tactics).
Step 4: Fill Out Your Profiles:
Although joining social networks is a necessary first step in building the foundation of your online presence, you still need to fill out your profile. You want Google to find your profile, so give it as much relevant information as you can. Be as thorough as possible when it comes to filling out your name, your location and various descriptions in the biography sections. And don’t forget to link back to your new website! And make sure you take a look at the privacy settings, you don’t want your account to be so restricted that search engines won’t list it as a result, but you should also be aware of how much information is publicly available. So take some time to understand the privacy settings and how they can potentially affect your search result rankings.
What to Expect:
When it comes to SEO unfortunately there is no exact timeline for when the properties that you have created will start ranking. It truly depends on how common or competitive your name is, and what kind of content already exists under this name. However, it’s possible that you could start seeing many of the properties that you now control populating the first page of Google search results after only a month or so. But keep in mind that it truly depends on the current state of results for the keyword (your name).
While social media may seem like fun and games – that you think you might not have time for, these profiles are in fact essential building blocks of your online presence.
For more tips on how to enhance your online presence, check out the entire series:
If you’re finding this series helpful, you might be interested in signing up for BrandYourself’s online reputation management tool for free. It helps to monitor, enhance and protect your online presence.