Thumbnail: How To Take Control Of Your Personal Brand On Google

Published on Forbes (Jason Barnard)

When you Google your name, do the search results truly reflect who you are? Are they a fair representation of your personal brand, or are they inconsistent and confusing you with people with the same name?

In today’s digital age, where first impressions are often formed online, it’s crucial to ask yourself: Does Google accurately represent my brand in the search results, or is my brand being washed out by a sea of irrelevant websites and people who share my name?

Diluted and inaccurate search results for your name can mean search engines are confused about your personal brand, which can hurt your brand. Search engines don’t do this intentionally; they’re just not as clever as we think.

Would you be proud to share the search results for your name with a potential client, employer or business partner? If not, there is good news. You can take control of your personal brand online by educating Google rather than hoping the machine will figure it out.

To take control of your personal brand, start with a personal website. Your website is a central hub for your identity and authority on the web. The website doesn’t need to be extensive. A simple one or two-page site is sufficient.

Here’s how you leverage your personal website to improve search results for your name.

1. Establish your identity. Use the website to clearly define who you are, what you do and why you are credible. The clarity helps search engines understand and represent your brand accurately and positively.

2. Control narratives. A personal website means you dictate the primary source of information about your brand. Google uses your personal website as the home base when presenting search results for your name.

3. Replicate the information. Consistently replicate this clear message across your digital platforms—social media profiles, industry directories, guest articles—to reinforce the information search engines find about you online.

4. Monitor the search engine results for your name. Find the inconsistencies and update them. Ensure the inconsistent results match the information about you on your website.

Building a straightforward personal website, making your online presence consistent and monitoring and adjusting the information in your brand SERP are the foundation for removing confusion—and educating search engines about who you are. You can effectively influence and improve how the search engine displays information about you in its search results.

Proactively Managing Your Personal Brand Online

How search engines present your personal brand can make or break professional opportunities. People “Google” your name when they meet you. (You’ve done it for others, I’m sure.) Are you comfortable with what they see when they look you up?

You can proactively manage your brand online instead of hoping technology gets it right. Proactive management of your personal brand starts with establishing a clear and consistent narrative across all digital platforms, starting with a personal website as the cornerstone of your online identity (and the place Google uses to verify what it’s learned about you in other places online.) This strategic approach empowers you to showcase an accurate and authoritative digital footprint wherever your audience engages with you.

When search engines understand your personal brand, they will represent your brand positively, accurately and convincingly—and Google becomes your digital business card. You can give that online business card to anyone.

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