A few weeks ago one of my good friends asked me why his name was not showing up in Google search results. This person has more than 25 years of solid work experience, having delivered multiple challenging projects. One of those even included involvement in a strategic move of the Liberty Bell in the historic city of Philadelphia!
Not satisfied with his name not showing up, he googled two of his classmates’ names, and, to his surprise, found that they were prominently visible on Google page 1.
I offered to write up something to help my friend strategically “build” a compelling online presence.
This situation, though not unusual, gives rise to three additional thoughts:
1. Why should your name be on Google page 1? i.e. why have an online presence?
2. How can you ensure that your name, when Googled, shows up on page 1?
3. How can you strategically ensure that only the content that you determine (and which obviously, shows your accomplishments, and you in good light) shows up on page 1?
1. Why should you have an online presence?
This is the age of the internet. With more than 19 billion searches conducted each month, people are looking for all sorts of things on the internet. These include suitable candidates for jobs, product reviews, training, online shopping, confirmation of symptoms, solutions to problems both business and personal, services and a ton of other information.
If you satisfy any of the following conditions, you should think of a presence on Google page 1:
- You are an expert on any topic and have expert information to share, i.e. showcase your thought leadership
- You have a product or service that you’d like people to know about
- You have a product or service that you’d like to sell
- You are looking for your next career move
- You are looking to be seen as someone who is “current” or in tune with the digital age
- You have knowledge that you’d like to provide for the benefit of others
- You would like to connect to people who have similar interests as you
I know hiring managers who first check out LinkedIn profiles of candidates before they even do a phone-screen for $100K jobs!
Consider the following statistics:
1. Internet advertisement spend is increasing and is almost at 25% of all advertising spend of more than $500 billion.
2. Online reviews and content have a significant influence on purchase decisions.
3. Some 93% of hiring managers search LinkedIn for recruits.
4. This is my favorite infographic on how fast and big the internet is growing.
With all this activity going on and growing on the internet, can you afford to not have a compelling online presence?
Just to add one more thought to this:
If you are not occupying your rightful spot on page 1 of Google rankings for the topic you are an expert on, someone else is occupying that spot!
This site or person could be your competitor vying for your market-share or a candidate that is contending for the position that could be your next career move!
One of my other friends, upon googling his name, found a not-so-flattering lawsuit prominently occupying first position on Google page 1. Turns out, this lawsuit involved someone else with the same name as my friend.
There is such a thing as an online market and you need to grab your fair share of it.
2. How should you go about building your online presence?
There are a number of ways and you need to pick a few of the following:
- Set up a blog. Pick an appropriate, niche topic, post interesting and rich content, on a consistent basis.
- Have a compelling social media presence. Share articles of interest to a group of people of similar interest. Pick the appropriate social media. About 3-4 sites are sufficient – you do not need to be present on ALL social media. Less is more.
- For profession and career advancement, you must have a presence on LinkedIn
- Build a Wikipedia page or article – but also consider this
- Follow blogs and LinkedIn groups and contribute interesting and thought-provoking comments
- Offer services as a guest blogger
- Build how-to videos on YouTube
- If speech is your thing, consider podcast
- Write product reviews
- Become an author
- Publish white papers or research material
3. How to ensure that only the better or more appealing content featuring you appear on page 1 of Google?
It is no secret that Google page 1 gets about 92% of all traffic. Very few people go to Google page 2. They’d rather tweak their keyword and search for different terms, and click and go on to page 2. One of my friends famously quoted that Google page 3 is a great place to hide a dead body!
So, for a compelling online presence, you need to focus on Google page 1.
By sheer weight of content (accompanied by a large number of visits) you can push out the lesser, unflattering content to page 2 or further away.
In some cases, you can also request the webmaster of the site to pull-down the article that features you in poor light.
There is also the “right to be forgotten” enactment in EU and Argentina.
The best way is to strategically, systematically and patiently build your online presence.