Defending Your Personal Brand Online

So what do you see when you google your name. Is it a listing for a convicted felon or porn star? If you have an unusual name (like a well differentiated keyword) you will rise to the top automatically. But if you have an ordinary name you might not even show up. What you don’t want to happen is to have a search result that doesn’t represent you.

  • Your name is your brand so use it consistently. Dont dilute it by using different variations – pick one version of your name and stick with it.
  • If you share a name with a famous person you might consider adding an initial to your online name. You need to be consistent with this however – also using the initial on your business cards and other correspondence.
  • Capture your “branded” name in as many places as you can so that when someone else types it in – information about you appears. Be sure to customize your profile name using your “branded” name. For example, your Linkedin profile can be customized using your name – making it easy to remember and share. Its better to do this earlier than later – particularly on the fast growing social sites. I always lamented turning down the opportunity to have a gmail account when “” was actually available. I would have preferred to own it as opposed to someone else.
  • You should periodically check what other people are seeing on google about you. If you are a job hunter – rest assured that recruiters are checking you out online. So you will need to see what they see and take action if the results are unflattering. You will need to devise a campaign to add visibility.
  • Another good thing to check in the google search is if good keywords are associated with your name. So you could try “Jeffrey Blake Architect” for example to find out about me. Try searching on your name a keyword associated with your profession. If nothing come up then you will need to do some work.
  • You can easily automate your monitoring of your brand by setting up Google Alerts which can send you periodic reports on what is showing up on the web about your brand. I found that you need to experiment what you monitor to get the right mix of results.
  • If you are invisible online there is a number of things you can do to increase your visibility and off the top of my head is to join some professional networks as Linkedin that show up well in searches. Contribute to online conversations using your well branded name.
  • This should have been mentioned earlier – but go out and get a domain name using your brand name. Its OK to use something other than your name – but a using your name is most effective. Capture a .com domain if you can – because that is the most prestigious right now. Frankly I don’t get “.biz” for an individual or a company.
  • You can capture a custom profile URL at a zillion sites. I like to control my name before someone else. For example you can get custom profiles at Delicious, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, Twitter, HubPages, Facebook, Plaxo, and Reddit just to name a few. Follow your interests and signup can customize your profile.

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