Personal SEO: 14-Point Checklist to Dominate Your Personal Brand on Google

Google yourself. See that? It’s your personal brand. Unless you love everything about each listing on the first page, it’s time for some personal branding SEO.

There are two goals in personal SEO:

  • Dominate the entire first page of Google (branding)
  • Push negative or embarrassing search results off of page one (reputation management)

Here’s a checklist of ways to make that happen:

1. Design your snippet: Google+

Google Plus Snippet Optimization

Start by optimizing the one profile that you know Google is indexing: your G+ profile. When you fill out your profile, you’re actually creating the snippet in Google. Here’s how your Google+ fields appear in search results as a snippet. Notice how the snippet text (meta description) is a combination of four fields, listed one after the other.

  • None of those four fields include your location, so if you want to be relevant in your local area, add your city or town to your employment field (i.e. “Orbit Media, Chicago, IL”).
  • Use keywords relevant to your skills and personal brand.

2. Make your resume search-friendly: LinkedIn

guy kawasaki linkedin

LinkedIn is ubiquitous in search results. Here’s how to polish this part of your personal SEO:

  • “Location,” “Position,” and “Company” appear in Google snippets. Make sure they’re complete.
  • Click “edit” next to your public profile link.
  • Customize your public profile URL. Pick a URL that includes your name.
  • Make sure your entire profile is visible to the public.
  • Make LinkedIn as complete as possible. Embed a WordPress blog, embed SlideShare slides, seek recommendations, add any active Twitter accounts, etc.
  • In the “Websites” area of your profile, add links to your site, your blog, and your G+ profile.

3. It’s all about you, baby: your profile on your site

michael gray seo

Unlike every other profile on this checklist, here you’re not building on rented land. You control it, so make it your masterpiece. Fine tune design, tweak on-page SEO, and use your best writing.

  • Make sure your profile has its own page.
  • Use your name in the URL if possible.
  • Use your name in the beginning of the title if possible.
  • Every profile should link to this page.
  • This page should link only to current profiles and networks where you are active (these links can be “nofollow” and target=”_blank”).
  • Link to your Google+ profile using the “rel=me” tag.
  • Watch Analytics for this page to monitor search performance and referring sites.

4. Signed by the Author: Google Authorship

Google Authorship

Thanks to Google Authorship and rich snippets, bloggers are taking personal branding SEO to the next level. The faces of some bloggers and guest bloggers appear in search results for hundreds of keyphrases. Do it for the clickthrough rates, do it for the traffic, and do it for your personal brand.

  • If you’re not “signing” your content using “rel=author,” it’s time to start using Google Authorship Markup.
  • Check the search performance of all of your articles by checking Author Stats. Log into Google Webmaster Tools using your Google+ login.

Those are the most important places to manage SEO for your personal branding. But there are hundreds of other profiles that rank in search. The rest of this checklist is a list of sites where you can create a profile and create a link.

Tip! You don’t actually need to be active on a website to create a profile and affect your personal SEO. There is no reason not to use them all.

Caution: if you setup a hundred profiles, you’ll need to manage a hundred profiles, lest they go out of date. When setting up profiles on sites where you’re not likely to return often, avoid using numbers, such as “5 years of experience” or “50 successful projects.” By keeping the profiles more general, you reduce the risk of the profile going out of date quickly.

5. Twitter

neil patel on twitter

Twitter profiles still rank extremely high in Google. Get out your best profile picture, a short bio and a link to your website.

Even if you never use Twitter, add one tweet to tell people where to find you “I’m not active on Twitter, but feel free to connect with me on [other network]”

6. Facebook

Seth Godin on Facebook

Facebook ranks high. Although your Facebook profile may not be relevant to your job, make your primary profile picture isn’t unprofessional. Depending on your privacy settings, a lot of people may see it. Also, claim your vanity URL.

7. Vimeo

vimeo seo

Of all the video hosting/sharing sites, profile pages on Vimeo seem to outrank all others. Enter a bio, add a link, set your location, claim a URL and even add featured videos.

8. Tumblr

Danny Sullivan on Tumblr

This one also ranks well. By default, Tumblr accounts are setup as subdomains, so grab yourname.tumblr.com, if possible. The bio page is open HTML so add anything and everything.

9. Quora

Rand Fishkin Quora

The profile pages are very simple, but they rank! After you add your picture and short bio, follow a few people and a few topics. Following topics will indicate to visitors what your interests are.

10. About.me

Kevin Rose About.me Profile

It’s just a simple page that links to your other profiles, but these show up in search results. Grab it. Upload a nice background photo and setup the links. If possible, use a URL that includes your name, such as about.me/yourname.

11. Delicious

dangelo-delicious

Create a simple profile that has a decent chance of ranking for your name. Not room for much more than a picture, short bio and link. Delicious will give you a shortcut URL, such as delicious.com/yourname, but once this is set, you can never change it.

12. Flickr

leo flikr

This is the only photo site that gets traction in SEO. Profiles include all the basic information, such as a profile picture, location, bio and link.

13. SlideShare

slideshare charlene li

A profile here is more likely to rank toward the bottom of page one, but you can add a LOT to a SlideShare profile. First, set the Account Type. Now you’ll see all kinds of places to add relevant info. You can also add a visual theme to your profile for $19 per month, but don’t expect this to affect SEO.

14. YouTube

youtube matt cutts profile

Create and upload a video of yourself stating your personal brand, and using your name in the title and the description. If you optimize a video for your name, you may see the video itself rank as a universal search result.

Did we leave something out? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a web design company here in Chicago. You can find Andy on and Twitter.

  1. Andy,
    Great points on branding yourself. I would not have thought of some of these. I will now! Great tips.
    Thanks,
    Jerry

  2. Great stuff.

    I’d be interested in seeing examples of how a single brand is presented across all these sites.

  3. Google recently announced that it would no longer hold Google+ links to higher weight. That was my last argument for continuing to share on Google+.

    Is it really worth it? Seems like it may be wishful thinking or over-preparedness.

    Open to persuasion, though!

  4. A few others that I’ve found to rank well:
    Github profile
    Geekli.st
    Scribd
    Status.net
    Zerply
    Publishing on amazon.com
    Pinterest
    Behance.com
    Formspring.com

  5. @paul_gagliardi Aug 22, 2012 at 4:33 am

    Some great tips. Some other suggestions to build a personal brand is to always sign your comments and do so in the same style (I.e. Middle initials), and try to use the same profile picture. This will help people identify you when they come across your digital properties.

  6. Nice tips Andy – great work!

  7. Thank You for the great tips. I have been trying to figure out the Google + authorship and this has really helped me out. I never heard about About.me though. I think it is really cool how we can now give ourselves are our personal brand over the web.

  8. What a great list! I have been wanting to do the Google authorship. Thanks for reminding me:)

  9. I love seeing my little “mug” when my sites come up in a search…even though I might be number 8 and not number 1, my site still stands out. Nice tips, thanks, I’m off to add more details to some of my profiles.

  10. I have not tested other but I have performed test on Google Author profile. I have created three images and use each them 10 days. In one the images CTR is higher by 15% compare to other two images. Now I am implementing it all website that I am managing.

  11. Some great little nuggets here! As always the Kiss Metrics Blog never fails to deliver.
    Here is another one – to add to the mix. http://www.lookuppage.com

  12. Guys, i am new to SEO and need some mentor who can explain in easy steps on how to Increase site ranks and build more traffic to the site. I barely get 10 – 30 users a day

  13. A very good list, clearly explained and thanks to Jen for adding some others.

  14. Ana Lucia Novak Sep 12, 2012 at 6:51 am

    This the what people need: a step by Step framework that they can easily apply. Great post!

  15. What i assume about branding is:
    Update as much info as possible which is needed to complete profile up-to 100%. Remember all the info must be accurate don’t fill any wrong info. If you don’t have correct info, leave the field empty.

  16. 1. Be Awesome.
    2. There is no 2.

  17. Really great article… Pinned it!

  18. Great post in the fact that the issue is tackled at all sides with even videos support! thanks

  19. Hi, I have a question… dominating Google results for my name isn’t terribly hard. My name isn’t John Smith or something. So, most hits for my name go to my stuff. But, how does that help me sell, say, how-to build-a-birdhouse books? Thanks for explaining this.

  20. It’s no secret that Google trusts social media a lot when it comes to search results. I guess social media is the future of SEO.

  21. Excellent post man!
    Thanks for your tips.keep on posting.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us.

  22. Thank you so much for all these tips! Will give them a try soon.

  23. Personal branding is awesome for many reasons. One being I just want to be number one in everything including my name. Not really a fan of ranking profiles though, much more about ranking a company site I own etc.

  24. Excellent post man!I am really inspire with all of them.Thanks for your tips keep on posting.

  25. This is a great article. Very useful tips that work. Take control of your personal brand today.

  26. Thanks for the post. It surprised me that Barnes and Noble, then Amazon, were my first and second results. Surprisingly missing from page 1 using Google search were: Facebook, Scribd, and Matador Network.
    Instead, they were topped by international sellers in India and Australia that had gotten hold of my book. I think a sizable percentage of people invested in personal branding SEO are independent authors facing similar issues. Any tips?

  27. The ideal scenario would be to dominate the first page of google with your own name. Sometimes is not the case. Ideally, we would like to have our personal website, FB, twitter, Linkedin, etc. right there in the first positions.
    Thank for the tips!

  28. Thanks for this post. Because the title post says something about authorship, I wonder why the blog author did not show his bio or name. Or maybe I failed to locate it. Anyways, at first I thought that rel=author will just give me a mug shot on the search engines but now I know that this gives me more than just good seo. But, I am doing it differently though in my WordPress blog. Instead of placing the code in every page, I use plug in for authorship, is that ok? Do I get the same benefit still?

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