Question: “How can I make my website rank higher in Google?”
If you take your personal brand seriously, you’re already created your own personal website. But many people don’t know how to get it to rank higher in Google.
Luckily, this is a question we get often. If you aren’t comfortable editing your site’s HTML yourself, feel free to send this blog post to your webmaster. However, if you’re feeling tech savvy, continue below for tips to help your website rank higher in search engines.
1. Add your name to your homepage title tag
This is one of the most important signals you can send when it comes to letting a search engine know what your site is about. Getting your personal website on Google is going to be ten times easier if you follow the steps below.
- Locate your <title> meta tag.
- Edit your <title> tag so that it begins with your name. For example: <title>Katie Smith – Assistant Product Manager at BrandYourself</title>
- Publish the changes so your <title> tag is live.
2. Update the content on your homepage
Webpages that aren’t updated often are considered less relevant to search engines. Regularly update the content on your webpage to keep it fresh and help maintain its rank. In order to make your website rank higher, you must make a significant change to the content on your homepage. To do so, either change or add 300 words – if it is any less, Google will not consider it a significant update.
SUGGESTION 1: Look for any content that is outdated and update it. Constantly doing this upkeep will not only allow Google to get a better idea of what your personal website is about, but help visitors of your site stay up to date on what you’re up to.
- Replace this: In 2012, I won the Creative Director Award for my ad campaigns at Microsoft.
- With this: In 2012, I won the Creative Director Award for my ad campaigns at Microsoft. A few months later, several clients contacted me about doing freelance work for them. While I loved my job, I decided to strike out on my own, and founded my own advertising firm in January 2014. I now work full-time with a team of two.
SUGGESTION 2: Look for any content that can be elaborated or given more detail.
- Replace this: By day I’m a bank manager, but I also believe in giving back to the community.
- With this: By day I’m a bank manager, but I also believe in giving back to the community. For example, last year I co-organized a fundraiser that raised $5,000 for homeless shelters in Boston. It’s now an annual event run by me and my brother Max.
SUGGESTION 3: Look for ways to integrate quotes or ideas from other people into your content.
- Replace this: I’m an avid reader of physics books, especially anything written by Einstein.
- With this: I’m an avid reader of physics books, especially anything written by Einstein. I admire his ability to make simple analogies with a sense of humor, like this: “Wire telegraph is a kind of very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.”
SUGGESTION 4: Try writing a meaningful list that provides value to your visitors. It could be anything that fits within the content of your webpage, such as lessons you’ve learned on the job or traveling around.
- Replace this: I went to Boston University and majored in Social Studies.
- With this: I went to Boston University and majored in Social Studies. The day I graduated, my younger brother asked me what advice I’d give him as a freshman. What I told him now is what I tell all my first year students:
- Don’t join clubs and organizations – lead them.
- Be a teaching assistant for a semester
- Do an internship, or shadow a prominent figure in your field.
- Work a part-time job.
SUGGESTION 5: Add images or videos into your content where appropriate and include captions.
- Replace this: My first year working as an accountant in San Diego was intense. I learned a lot very quickly. Then two years later, I moved to the Seattle branch.
- With these:
[Picture of your company’s office building] My first year working as an accountant was intense. I learned a lot very quickly. I still have fond memories working late nights in the office (shown above).
[Picture of you in a holiday photo with your coworkers and CEO] The people I worked with were great. Many became lifelong friends who I still keep in touch with. Eventually, I rose up in the ranks, working directly under the CEO (shaking hands in the picture above).
[Picture of you and your husband in Seattle] It was a great experience that I’ll never forget. Two years later, I moved to the Seattle branch with my husband. Taking the lessons I learned with me, I started a new life there.
3. Add your name to your meta description tag
This is beneficial because it gives additional information to anyone who might be looking for your personal website in Google. This shows underneath the title tag when you are looking at search results, and a well-constructed description will encourage them to visit your site.
- Locate your <description> meta tag.
- Edit your <description> tag so that it begins with your name. For example: <description>Katie Smith’s Academic Achievements</description>
- Publish the changes so your updated <description> tag is live.
4. Add your name to an <h1> tag
This is another extremely important step that will allow Google to understand what your personal website is all about. Missing this step will make everything much harder, and unfortunately people do so quite often.
- Locate an <h1> tag that you feel comfortable adding your name into. If you cannot find one that makes sense to put your name into, feel free to create a new <h1> tag.
- Edit that <h1> tag so it begins with your name. For example: <h1> Katie Smith’s Interests</h1>
- Publish the changes so your updated <h1> tag is live.
5. Add your name to an “alt” attribute in an image
- Find the <img> tag of an image of yourself.
- Edit the “alt” attribute of that image so it includes your name. For example: <img src=”http://myheadshot.jpg” alt=”Katie Smith”>
- Publish your changes so the alt attribute with your name is live.
6. Decrease your homepage’s load time
Making your page load in less than 3 seconds will prevent search engines from penalizing it and ranking it lower.
- If your webpage has images on it, optimize them by saving them as a smaller file size. After you’ve optimized your images, upload them to your webpage and delete the old ones. This tool makes it easy: Online Image Optimizer.
- Always display images at 100% of their actual file size. Displaying images smaller than their actual file size forces visitors to load the larger image first, and then wait for the browser to make them appear smaller. This can drastically increase page load time.
7. Create interesting content
When someone finds your personal website on Google, that’s just the start of the process. What they see when they navigate around your site will have a massive impact on how they view you. If the overall content on the site is uninspired or simply there for search engines to find it, your visitors won’t be very impressed.
However, the opposite is true for thoughtful and in-depth pieces around topics you’re passionate about. This will position you as a thought leader in your industry and open up new opportunities.
Put these tips to the test and have your website move up the ranks on Google. Best of luck!