We’ve all done it. There is no shame in it; heck I did it yesterday and it was…worth a bronze medal.
Googling your name is perhaps the vainest of activities you can partake in, but if you are a digital nomad like myself, you should get used to doing it more often. The reason why is obvious: this is how other people find you. Thus, it is important how you rank when Google sees your name in the search box.
During last night’s vainglorious indulgence, I appeared third behind two forms of Dustin Brumley The Super Mortgage Guy!, but then the next five results were some form of me. I appeared on our website, LinkedIn, Facebook, the MIIS website and The Underground (these links are simply feeble attempts to usurp the number one position from Mr. Mortgage). Not terrible, but I want that number one spot and apparently Fake Dustin is a big deal in the Bellingham area. I must up the ante.
So what’s it going to take and why is this a good idea for people who aren’t also me? When people are looking for information on the Internet they use Google (I am using Google synonymously with ‘search engine’ but ‘search engine’ is not yet a verb). To be successfully Googled (see how ‘search engined’ just won’t work there?) you must be on the Internet. If you are reading this, you probably are Googleable, but it is interesting to freelancers to be on the Internet so hard that you appear on the first page of results, preferably at the top. Ask yourself how many times have you even made it to the second page of a search, much less clicked something from the second page? That’s what I thought.
Here are a few things you can do to up your digital presence: be active on forums, join a social network not named Facebook or Twitter like vizualize.me, About.me or Pinterest, start or keep writing your blog. But, don’t go sticking your name on everything on the Internet. The search algorithms are sophisticated and will detect keyword stuffing.
Also, keep in mind that people may find you inadvertently by searching for something that relates to you or to your work. I’ll use this blog as an example. I try to write about things related to translation and language but there is a great deal of personal posts that detail what I am doing, how I am doing and where I am doing it. Because of the free nature of my writing, I have touched upon diverse subjects. I get to see which search terms were sought when a user clicked on my blog from Google and the top two terms are “frikandel” and “Joey Tribbiani acrimonious”. This proves that my blog is not only read by my mom and translation nerds, but also people interested in Dutch fast food and Friends. I admit that the latter of the terms leads users to my post regarding catachresis and malapropisms which is along the lines of my industry, but it’s not like people searched for these terms, they searched for Joey Tribbiani and his misuse of ‘acrimonious’.
Long story still quite long, I am going to supplant Dustin “The Mortgage Machine” Brumley as the number one Dustin Brumley in the world, according to Google. To do this I am going to flex my digital muscle, widen and deepen my digital footprint and set my digital watch. The SEO on my website has to be updated, I will continue to feed this blog, I will tweet more than once a decade, I have just set up my own about.me and vizualize.me account and I might even pay attention to my Goodreads account. This multi-pronged attack will surely help me to the top of the results, and I hope so since the mortgage crisis hasn’t helped knock the other guy off. On the bright side, at least my name isn’t Lady Gaga.
[image courtesy of www.careerrocketeer.com/]