Tag Archives | search

What Do People Find When They Google Your Name?

There were 5 of us inside the cab of a Ford F350 driving back home from our week-long trip to SHOT Show in Las Vegas. 12 hours in the car doesn't exactly go by quickly and somehow we got on the topic of what one finds when they type their own name into Google.

I Know What I'll Find

Over the last decade, I've put some effort into tracking search results for my name and optimizing pages that I want to be found when people check me out.

For the most part my colleagues in the car it turns out, haven't given it much thought or effort.

Does It Matter?

I think it matters. When I interview potential employees I Google their name. When I meet someone at a tradeshow or get an email introduction to a new person, I Google their name.

A quick search tells me a lot about the person… even if what I learn is that they don't have much of a digital footprint. In 2020 when I'm writing this, the lack of a digital footprint can be a real bad thing depending on the business you are in.

So How Do You Control Searches For Your Name?

All normal SEO principles matter and of course depending on how common your name is the greater the challenge you have in front of you. There are a decent number of Jacob Paulsens' in the world but nothing like trying to compete on Google for Mark Smith I'm sure.

The things I've done over the years that seem to work:

  1. LinkedIn is a SEO Giant. When I search for a name on Google the odds are very high that one LinkedIn profile will be in the search results. ONE. Make sure you have an up to date profile and make sure you have built out your profile really well. Do you have a cover image, a profile image, a description, etc?Do you have your employment history and credentials? Do you have recommendations? There are plenty of other good reasons to be rocking it on LinkedIn, but ensuring that YOU outrank others with your name on a search engine search is a really good reason.
  2. Twitter is almost always there. For whatever reason when it comes to search power Twitter beats Facebook every time. Generally, when there is a Facebook link in a Google search result it just takes you to another search result page in Facebook. Not very useful. Twitter not only generally outranks Facebook in search but it also indexes specific user accounts and will take the search directly to your profile. Make your Twitter profile awesome and complete. Obviously make sure it has your name… not a nickname but the name someone might type into a Google search when looking for you.
These are the top 4 results on Google at the time of this writing when searching my name. LinkedIn, my business site, Twitter, and then my personal blog. LinkedIn and Twitter just dominate most of the time when I search a person's name.
  1. Have a website that is your name as the domain. Having a website does mean there is a cost and you have to have some basic knowledge and skills to build and maintain said website but if you can get some version of yourname.com that is going to do wonders to control search traffic for your name.
  2. Identify the single place that you WANT to be the #1 search result for your name, and make sure your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all other web assets you can control link back to that website.
  3. As a general rule cross-link everything. On your LinkedIn profile and YouTube channel, for example, be sure to put in your Twitter link. The more all your web assets link to each other the easier it is for Google to see that all of that is associated together and that this “Your Name” is more relevant and popular than anyone else sharing that same name.
  4. Rename images. When you upload an image of yourself anywhere online (Your website, Twitter, Facebook, etc) be sure to put your name as the file name of the image. Also if you are loading it to a website you control; add your name as the ALT title of the image. Almost for sure in the top 10 results on Google for your name is going to be some image results. Google is going to show 3-5 images and give the user the option to see more images that meet that search criterion. Uploading images online that have your name as the file name and/or alt text is going to help you control that part of the search results.
  1. Use Google Alerts to find web content with your name and where possible link it back to you. Google Alerts are a free service from Google that alerts you anytime a given phrase or set of words are found newly anywhere online. I have a few Google alerts set up with different variations of my name and so on occasion, Google emails me to let me know the word Jacob Paulsen has just popped up somewhere new. I ALWAYS check those web pages. If it is about me I certainly want to know what people are saying about me. I might contact the website owner or publisher and ask if they can please link my name back to my website. I might leave a comment if it is a news story, blog post, or article that accepts comments and in that comment include a link to my website. The goal is for Google to see that this webpage that has my name on it also has a link back to this other website that has more information about me. This ensures that the website I control is more likely to be the authoritative source for my name that should rank higher in search results. If the web page is about some other Jacob Paulsen out there I may still try to leave a comment and say something like “hey nice name” and still link back to my site.


SEO or Paid Traffic? A Conversation About Priorites

I was talking to a business owner this morning who is in this dilemma. The business is starting to become stable enough that they want to invest in advertising (we should talk later about why they should have been advertising since the beginning). Today, businesses hear all about how valuable and important SEO is but they are also being sold paid advertising by a variety of vendors. Trying to sort out where online to allocate a small budget is really challenging. Vendors are calling and talking about directories, SEO, social, search ads, social ads, banner ads, text messaging, and much much more. I get it… I spent years being one of those vendors.

For the purpose of today's article I'm going to simply lump all the PAID advertising into the category of Paid Traffic and compare that to SEO with an emphasis on where a new business should begin to invest.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of TRYING to get one's website or web content to appear or rank high in organic search results. If I'm an attorney in Phoenix and people type “Phoenix Attorney” into Google I want my site to organically (not in the paid ads) be high in the search results. This is SEO.

Paid Traffic is any online advertising vehicle into which you insert a paid ad budget and expect to get some amount of qualified traffic to click through to your website.

Today's advertising community loves to talk about the benefits of SEO… and here is why:

  1. When done properly, work can pay off for years in the form of “free” traffic because you did the work to rank well
  2. Vendors who sell SEO services aren't held to a high standard because they are being paid to do something that is often unmeasurable and generally won't show any results for weeks, months, or years to come.

It is easy to see why some small business would be lured in by the idea of spending minimum amounts of money in advertising but getting super high on Google so that the leads and customers come in forever without any significant work. The pitch is however, a big fat lie. Here is how, as a vendor of SEO services, I would have to pitch you if I was being fully honest:

Mr Customer, being at the top of Google's organic search for your top search phrases will pay off endless future benefits but frankly, it often takes years to get into the top five results for competitive search terms unless your website already has a lot of traffic and domain authority from Google. Domain authority is built over time by showing Google and the other search engines that you can and do produce content that is relevant and valuable to an audience which brings me to my next point. The number one core activity in SEO work is content generation. Not junk content for the sake of having content… that stopped working in 2010. I mean legitimately valuable content that is better for the reader/consumer than your competitors content. Now, regardless of the work you are in; I suspect that in order to generate that type of content you will have to be involved. There is nobody at my agency/firm/office that produce content about your company and industry as well as you can so even though you are going to pay me to help you format it and train you to write it in the best way possible YOU are still going to have to write it. Lastly, you should know that because SEO benefits come so long after the work is done; if at all, we won't have enough traffic coming to the site in order to generate enough data to know if the lead/sales funnel is actually working. Meaning; the reason you want traffic to your site at all is because you have a service or product to sell. If we bring 100,000 new visitors to your website and zero of them contact your or buy your product then the work was for nothing. We need to optimize the marketing process and lead/sales funnel on your site in order to increase the CONVERSION RATE of that traffic to buyers/leads and in order to do that effectively we need a steady inflow of predicatable traffic… and SEO won't bring us that for a long time. So not only do you need to wait for any results at all but you also will waste a lot of eyeballs on your site because we won't have enough data in order to optimize the marketing funnel. You should also be aware that we do not own Google, Bing, or Yahoo and despite having some sense for what they are looking for in web content; we don't actually know for sure exactly how they choose to rank sites and they tend to change that criteria and methodology from time to time so its possible that our efforts even if successful could become worthless if the algorithm changes in a way that is negative to the work we've been performing at your cost. Lastly, please know that while we will do “stuff” for the money you pay us each month we won't be able to guarantee ANYTHING and may not have great answers about the impact that our work is having for at least 6 months until after we get started. Ok?

Would you Buy From Me????

Is this starting to make it clear why you need to prioritize Paid Traffic over SEO efforts?

Your #1 Goal in any online advertising is to optimize your marketing funnel. It doesn't matter how much traffic you can drive if none of that traffic opts in, buys, or contacts you with interest in your service or product. In order for any marketer to optimize the sales/lead funnel they need to drive traffic into it. SEO just can't do that in the beginning. In addition having to pay for advertising will force you or your marketing agency to make the funnel as good as it can be… something you will be grateful for when your SEO work starts to pay off in the future.

In addition, while paid traffic sources are sometimes finicky or can shut you down for misuse; they are still FAR more consistent and reliable a source of traffic than is SEO.

Now don't misunderstand me… I'm a big advocate for SEO. We take content creation and SEO ranking very seriously in our business. We set goals, and we work to achieve them… but SEO is our long game… Paid Traffic is our short game and it should be yours too.

Resource: Entrepreneurs You Are Machine Builders

Resource: Our Content Creation Formula for SEO


Google Plus 1 Now Integrated Into Google Adwords: Social SEO

adwordsThe reason online marketing professionals are excited about Google +1 is because of the influence that this new social network can have on search results on Google. We have now taken one step closer to that reality as the +1 buttons have been added to Paid Results via Google Adwords.

You may also notice (as illustrated in red above) that Google Places has been further integrated into paid advertising as well. Advertisers can now integrate their business listing which, if you have a lot of positive reviews adds so much more credibility to your ad in comparison to your competitors.

This further shows how Google is trying to drive the integration of its many products and how you can benefit from a full approach to driving reviews.


Networking Revolution:: Stop Chasing the Chasers

mlmIn the arena of internet marketing and online networking the experts teach us to search in social media for the type of people you want to do business with. This is good advice but most people interpret it incorrectly. The automatic assumption is that people building a mlm business should seek out people on Facebook and Twitter who are talking about, or already participating in Network Marketing. This is usually done by searching for keywords such as MLM, home based business, opportunity, etc. THIS IS A POOR STRATEGY!

If you follow this line of logic you are most likely to find yourself chasing the other chasers. You might build good friendships with these like minded people, but the chances of doing business with them is greatly limited.

When you are taught to network with people in social media, that you would like to do business with, you need to be looking for the people who will be naturally attracted to you. People with whom you can create a fast friendship and establish common ground. In short, search for people who share your passions. If you are particularly into scuba diving, chess, or fashion then you need to find the people who share that passion.

ACTION: Re-Read my post on Utilizing your Passions in Attraction Marketing and then create a list of keywords that you can use to identify people who share those passions on Twitter and Facebook.

Jacob S Paulsen