Tips for Building Your Personal Brand Online – Create The Perfect Google Profile In 7 Steps


Wouldn’t it be great to crack the first page of Google results for a search of your name?  Or, if your links already appear on the first page, wouldn’t you like to add yet another result?  Your Google Profile is the simplest, most sure-fire way to add another opportunity for searchers to find you.

Once published, a preview link to your Google Profile will appear at the very bottom of Page 1 search results for your name – which can be extremely beneficial if you have a common name (and others have not yet claimed this space).  Here is an example:

To create a Google Profile, navigate to http://www.google.com/profiles, and come armed with a Google account (Gmail, Google Wave, etc).  From there, updating your profile is an absolute snap.  Follow these 7 steps to create the perfect Google profile that describes you well and encourages searchers to find and contact you elsewhere on the web.

1.  Display your full name and allow others to contact you.

Your Google Profile exists solely so searchers can find you and contact you –  checking these 2 boxes makes perfect sense.  All reward, no risk.

2.  Upload a picture.

Keep in mind that most folks searching for you via Google will likely know something about you, but not everything.  Maybe they met you at a conference, and only remember your name and face?   Including a close-up shot is the easiest way to set you apart from others that share your name.

3.  Include a detailed history.

Same philosophy as above – those searching for you will likely recognize you by a single defining trait.  Did they grow up with you in Omaha, Nebraska?  Do they know you from college or from prior work experience?  Take the time to fill out your past history in full detail, so anyone from your past will recognize that you are you.

4.  Write a killer “What I Do” section.

In the “What I Do” section, Google provides the examples of  “Actor, Engineer, Scientist”.  Boring!  Instead, amp this section up by including a few provocative titles that really describe what you do.  For an excellent example, see the snapshot below from Meg Guiseppi’s profile.

5.  Write a brief, but informative, bio.

Your Google Profile is not a final destination, it is merely a portal.  So, keep your bio brief and to the point.  Include enough information to identify yourself, and to encourage searchers to contact you elsewhere (embedded links work great mixed in with your text).  Note: Others might debate my point about keeping your bio brief, as many have an extremely long description.  Ultimately, it is up to you.

6.  Link, link, link.

Google allows you the opportunity to link to anywhere and everywhere you’d like.  This is your opportunity to send searchers to the real places you want them to connect with you.  Take a look at the Google profile of Robert Scoble, who has linked to over 40 places you can find him on the web.  Wow!  Here is a screen-shot of the pages I’ve linked to.  How many web destinations of your own can you think to link to?

7.  Include common misspellings of your name.

Google realizes that not all web searchers are prolific spellers.  You can include all the potential misspellings of your name so that your Google Profile will appear for all queries.  (Brett Favre, this is your lucky day).

What do you all think?  Do you have a Google Profile?  Share your link in the comments, let’s see those shiny profiles!

Ryan Rancatore can also be found at Personal Branding 101, discussing the tools and tactics that will help you build a killer personal brand in 2010 and beyond.

Ryan would love to connect with you on Twitter at @RyanRancatore, or on Linkedin, Facebook, or Brazen Careerist.

  • Good post Ryan! What is the deal with your Google profile coming up in searches or not? I remember reading something about you have to have filled everyhint out before they make it visible?

  • nice first steps in terms of personal branding. My thought is that , a Google brand will work when one is looking at you in an absolute sense rather than relative (i.e. comparison shopping), especially if the search was to find a right candidate for a job by a recruiter. But I agree, something is better than nothing and this is a good start!.
    I have written a blog at hirodex.com/blog regarding branding oneself to differentiate from others, in a consulting world. Please do read and provide feedback!

  • Ryan – this is a great recommendation and one that not enough people utilize. Excellent how-to!

  • isaokato

    Thank you Ryan! Just created my profile according to your suggestions (halfway into descriptions) but it's a start anyway.
    http://www.google.com/profiles/isaokato

  • Isao – awesome! Glad to see you took direct action, that is always the way to go. Cool that you're “life map” is a lot wider than average. You've been around the globe a bit, huh?

  • I'm not sure about that, Jorgen – first I've heard of it. I will say that since this post (yes, 1 day!), Google Buzz has been linked up with Google Profiles, so I suspect they will become far more widely used.

  • Good luck with the blog, Samuel – nice clean look, and I can see you have some in-depth information up there already.

  • Good post, Ryan! This may sound silly, but do you have any opinion on first person or third person? I noticed Meg and Pete’s were both in third, but yours was in first. I feel more comfortable in first…any thoughts?

  • How right you are, Ola. The trouble with blogging about anything tech/social media related is that it may be out of date by the time you hit “publish”!

  • Megan – What a great question! I did not catch the difference myself while reading the profiles of Pete and Meg. I suppose the answer is “to each their own”…but for me, here is how I draw the line: If the location of the info is “me only”, I will write in first person (like Google or my own website). If the site is “me + others”, such as my bio here on B-Y, I will write it in 3rd person.

  • Hey Ryan,

    Excellent and timely post! Google Profiles is one of my favorite online brand-building tools.

    And thanks so much for including my Google profile snapshot. It's funny, in anticipation of the Google buzz connection, I just updated my profile over the weekend. I understand Google profiles will be getting more attention, although I think they're already pretty powerful, having one's photo in search result listings.

    So, if you all don't have one, get busy! If you do, spend a little time updating your headline and other content to resonate with your target audience.

    I understand your point about keeping your bio brief, but when there are no space constraints, I almost always opt for a longer version. After all, building online identity is about building content about you. The more content about you on each web page relevant to you, the more relevant search engines will deem that page to be. Besides, I think it makes sense to have the whole story, as much as possible, right where people land, without having to follow links for more. Some people get frustrated by linking away.

    That said, I need to add more links to my profile!

  • Hi Ryan, This is very informatics message….
    also we can list your url through google maps..which are very beneficial to see the exact location and to promote ur sites…

  • Thanks for sharing these tips. I really appreciate it as I have been planning to make my Google profile.

  • jasmine25

    Wow…its really nice article to build online personal brand…you explain each and every step very clearly..thanks for providing useful information

  • Great roadmap – thanks!