Controlling your Google vanity search

What do you seen when you Google your own name? Most people think that the worst thing that could happen is for something embarrassing to pop up. I’m going to disagree – the worst thing that could pop up is… nothing. If you Google your name and the results are sparse, that says that you’re not involved online. Even for those who don’t work in the online industry, having a presence online is crucial.

There are three main issues people have with their vanity search:
– Accurate but unwanted results (an old MySpace page, photos you didn’t upload, etc.)
– Inaccurate results (someone with the exact same name but a better web presence)
– Sparse results (random genealogy sites, just a few results)

In general, the first scenario is the most difficult to correct. Sparse results can actually provide a nice blank slate for your personal SEO efforts. Which scenario does your personal brand fall into?

Some tips for controlling your vanity search:
– Load the results with sites YOU control. Join social sites, create a presence, and follow through.
– Know what keyword you’re targeting. This might sound obvious, but you’ll never gain any traction on your “professional” Google results if you’re constantly referring to yourself by a nickname or a shortened version of your name.
– Ask for help. Get friends to link to your preferred personal sites and profiles by your full name (or whatever phrase you’re targeting).

How do YOU control your personal brand?

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