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The great thing about living in the digital age is that we now have constant access to information and it's right at the tips of our fingers. It doesn't matter what you want to find, from recipes for your anniversary dinner or how to build a bike, Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo make it easy to find these queries with a tap of a finger or a click of a mouse.
Google is the source of truth for your personal brand. So what would happen if a potential employer were to Google you? Do you know what they will see?
The online job recruitment site Monster.co.uk produced a paper that pointed out that 77% of executives use search engines to learn about candidates. What is on the first page of Google can really improve your personal and professional brand appearance.
1. Conduct research regularly
Before getting started with any proactive measures it is essential to research what populates in the first 50 results of your name, that is the first 5 pages on Google, here is what you get when you Google my name Darren Robertson Digitally Limited.
If you happen to have a common name like "John Smith" search a little deeper and use a longer-tail keyword, try including your company name or industry to return more relevant results.
You may of made a druken Tweet on New Years Eve 2015 and this could potentially be on the first page of Google when a query related to you is typed in, this is even more important now that Google and Twitter have teamed up.
Your social media posts are an extension of you, remember that. You don't want your posts to come back and haunt you, make sure you delete any posts that may be percieved as negative.
2. Make sure you have a website
Creating yourself a personal website is one of the best ways to show off your professional and personal achievements.
When purchasing your domain name, try and get a website URL that is close to your full name, although this might not always be possible, in these cases try adding a middle name or your industry.
You can then use something like WordPress to build and maintain your site with ease, it will be easy to update and can reflect new projects or other achievements.
3. Create a video
YouTube is owned by Google, that's why you often find video results populated in the first page of Google results, there is a real synergy between the video search engine and website search engine.
I read recently that 62% of Google Universal searches include video. It is important that when you take the time to do your preperation. Take the time to write a script.
4. Make sure you optimise your social channels
I mentioned earlier in this post about being wary about social media posts coming back to haunt you. But at the same time you need to remember that your social media channels can also be your biggest asset.
Personal Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ accounts have a strong likelihood of appearing high in the search results for your name, so when you link your personal information into an account, this carries a lot of weight with Google, even more so if you have a large following.
If you are an entrepreneur, then make an awesome Google+ page, make sure you optimise it and before you know it you will be seeing it on the right hand side of the search results.
5. Expert contribution
I'm truly amazed at how knowledgeable people are and yet how little they share this knowledge.
If you are a data scientist you can share knowledge on how data science can improve businesses, or what your business is likely to find out from a particular type of analysis, you need to start sharing, build yourself a reputation, try and be seen as the go to person for information and expertise.
6. Get yourself some reviews
Im sure you are already using LinkedIn and if you are not you need to sign up right now.
Ask colleagues and clients to leave you a testimonial or in case of LinkedIn a recommendation.
Why not add testimonials and recommendations to your website, recent research has discovered that around 94% of B2B marketing and sales professionals rated customer testimonials as "very or extremely effective".
What to do next
If you make sure you stay proactive with your personal brand, you will be able to remain in control of the vast majority of what populates on the first page of Google.
When you have an outgoing personality, people will be excited to get to know you. When you improve your self-brand, people will be equally impressed with your online personality.
Get networking, attend events, create content and get yourself out there and build your all-important personal brand.
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