How To Improve Your Online Brand

What happens when you Google yourself?

Do you “own” the first page of results, or does your name barely show up? Are there negative references you’d rather not see?

Whether you are a job seeker or someone actively working, your online brand counts more today than ever before. Why? Because prospective employers or business prospects are Googling you. Recruiters are, too. And more employers are routinely checking online profiles. In one study of 2,667 managers and human resource workers, nearly 50 percent admitted they use social networking sites to research job candidates, and 35 percent of employers said they did not to offer a job to a candidate based on the content they found on a social networking site. For any skeptics out there, social media can absolutely help you land a job. (Thanks to Bill Baker for passing that link along.)

Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to start building a better online profile for yourself, starting with your Google results.

Awesome DIY SEO Resource: BrandYourself

I’ve been using a great site called BrandYourself to boost my own Google ratings. This is a do-it-yourself platform that lets anyone improve his or her own search results.

After signing up for a free account, the site will give you an initial grade on your Google rankings. Fortunately, I got a B+. That’s because I have spent years using social media sites and search engine optimization techniques to raise my online profile. I just had two minor pages I’m trying to remove.

For many people, you might be starting with just one or two links about yourself (likely your LinkedIn or Facebook profiles if you have those), or even some negative results you want to “bury” or bump off of page one of Google. This is where the power of BrandYourself really kicks in. The site provides easy-to-follow steps on how to add links about yourself, then “boost” them. I found it very game-like and user friendly.

I’m using the free version of BrandYourself, which allows you to submit and boost up to three links. Their paid plans are very affordable, ranging from $9.99 for one month to $79.99 for a year.

Be aware that the results are not instantaneous. It can take several weeks to see actual results on Google. Personally, I saw a “negative” result for me drop off after less than a week! BrandYourself admits that they can’t control Google results—no one really can—but the steps they recommend are all “white hat” techniques that are search engine approved. In fact, I’d say you’ll learn a lot about SEO just by using their site…including ways you can improve the results for your business.

Brandon Uttley is a seasoned web marketing and public relations professional with three decades of experience.

Currently, he is CEO of Go For Launch, which provides marketing strategy and communications support to companies ranging from startups to established entities.

Prior to his current roles, Uttley cofounded and was CEO of Command Partners, a digital marketing agency. He also confounded and was president of carbonhouse, inc., a nationally recognized web design firm.

Uttley also served as director of public relations at Luquire George Andrews for five years, and an account manager at Epley Associates/Public Relations for three years. Brandon was the 2009 president of the Charlotte chapter of Public Relations Society of America, and he is an accredited member of PRSA National.

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