Your On-line Presence
You’ve diagnosed your Google presence and learned the basics behind Personal Search Engine Optimization. Now it’s time to actually start building the foundation of your Google presence with these basic steps everybody should follow to get started. The idea behind this part is simple: you can’t make your Google results look better if you don’t have any good content in the first place. So let’s get the basics in place.
Step 1: Purchase Your Domain (yourname.com)
Purchasing your domain name is quite possibly the most important step you can take if you want to show up on the first page of Google. It’s roughly a R150.00 per year investment and incredibly easy. You can buy your domain at any number of registrars.
- Not all domains are created equal: While this isn’t quite as important as it used to be, there are certain domain-types that search engines tend to rank higher. For example, .edu and .gov domains are considered the most credible since you need to be a legitimate educational or government institution to get one. For a personal domain, try to stick to a .com or a .net. Avoid some of the newly popular domain-types like .me or .tv since they don’t usually rank as well.
- Make sure your name is included exactly as is: 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 PeteKistlerOnline.com, than to alter your name slightly and buy PeterKistler.com, or PeterLKistler.com.
- Register it for as long as possible: There are two reasons for this. First, 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
Now that you have 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 customizing as you develop your personal identity on-line and get more comfortable (or if you’re interested in tweaking your design, etc.).
Step 3: Get on Social Networks
Search engines tend to rank social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ high, and for good reason: They require some sort of authentication to create, so search engines view them as more credible. Also important, they are constantly updating, making them extremely relevant due to their “timely” content (which we covered in SEO basics). In short, if you’re trying to show up higher in Google, 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: Full Out Your Profiles
Joining social networks is a good first step by itself, but the true power of these services doesn’t come through until you completely fill out your profile. You want Google to find your profile, so give it as much relevant info as you can. Be sure to add links to your other social profiles as well.
Depending how competitive your name is, you could very well start seeing many of these places populate your first page of Google after only a week or two. Remember, social media may seem all fun and games, but these profiles are essential for the foundation of your on-line presence. We’ll cover tips on how to boost all of these profiles higher in search engines next.
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