Future-Proof Your Personal Name SEO for Personal Branding & Job Search

— June 9, 2017

Personal name SEO requires a personal name claim along with a complete and consistent use of your resume name, both on and off the web.

“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things.” ~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

And, so should you always use the proper resume name for personal name SEO (search engine optimization).

As the first step in developing a strategy for personal name SEO, I wrote about how to complete a personal name SEO audit to determine the best resume name to use for personal branding and job search.

The second step is to register your personal name across the web for added consistency and to strengthen a resume name search and to dominate the search engine result pages.

This called a personal name claim.

“A personal name claim is the process of registering and consistent use of your chosen resume name across the social web. This also includes personal name search trigger points, such as your email signature and business cards.”

How Do You Future-Proof with a Personal Name Claim?

  1. Use Your Chosen Resume Name on All Current and Active Social Profiles.

Your social media profiles are the most supporting of your personal brand. Your social activity can cause these profile links to rise to the top of your personal name search. Thus, it is extremely important for high consistency with the use of your personal name across all social platforms.

This is even more important on LinkedIn. LinkedIn provides the most extended social profile to sell you, and your experiences and qualifications. Thus, make sure your LinkedIn display name and your public profile vanity link are a match. For example, linkedin.com/in/dennymccorkle (customized to eliminate the originally assigned link that included random letters and numbers).

A consistent personal name on Twitter is also important because your tweets can show up in the personal name search engine result pages. And, the same personal name front-facing your Google+ profile ensures that Google knows and remembers you from similar others.

When it comes to some Social IDs, you may need to be a bit more creative and add descriptors to your name (if space allows), such as TheJohnWSmith, JohnWSmithMgr, or JohnWSmithTX. Regardless of Social ID name, you should always register the display name that matches your current or revised resume name.

Advanced Tip: If your personal name, profile photo, and/or social email address is attached to content that is questionable or not professionally supportive of your personal brand, then for the social accounts that you do control: (1) take it off the public grid by upping the privacy settings, (2) change the profile, photo, and display name to something unrelated to your personal name and photo, or (3) mute or delete the account.

For the web accounts that you do not control: (1) contact the owner of the web or social site and politely ask that the content in question be removed, and/or (2) follow these personal name optimization suggestions so the consistency of profiles and social activities can push your professional accounts to the top, while pushing the less than desirable accounts off the first page search results.

  1. Cross-Link All Your Active Social Profiles.

Don’t forget to cross-link all your social profiles to show Google that they are all connected with the same personal name. For example: on LinkedIn, you should have social links to your blog, Twitter, or other most active social profiles; on your blog, you should have social links to your other active social profiles, etc. This use of backlinks will increase the SEO and search popularity of your blog and other social profiles.

Advanced Tip: For an extra personal branding boost, when possible you should showcase those social links using personal name rich anchor text (clickable text in a hyperlink). For example, Denny McCorkle on Twitter.

  1. Don’t Forget the Profile Photos.

You should revisit all your social profile photos. Your profile photos should be the same for personal brand consistency and to show Google you are you. Your singular photo should be a headshot for identification from the thumbnail photo in a Google search and for easy recognition in a LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook updates stream.

Advanced Tip: The file name for this profile photo should be your chosen resume name for added personal name SEO, and so Google will know it is you.

  1. Register Your Chosen Resume Name on Other Social Networks and Web Profiles.

You should register your resume name on any other up-and-coming social networks of current or future interest. While it is always good to give new social networks a test drive, more important is for you to personal name claim. Your use of the social network can come later. Writing about personal branding SEO, Andy Crestodina recommends adding a statement to your inactive profiles or pin a social share to the top of your stream leading others to your more active social accounts. For example: “Thanks for finding me here. I am not currently active on this account, but you can follow me on ______.”

There are also many places on the web to register a personal profile and offer yet another opportunity to claim your resume name.

Klout offers a short profile and shows others the quality of your social networking by measuring your social influence and topical expertise. It also recommends targeted content for social sharing.

About.Me and Flavors.Me provides your personal name and brand a visual profile, long bio, and cross-links to your other social profiles.

“Your personal name SEO end game is to OWN your personal name in a Google search.”

  1. Set-Up a Social Email Address for Use on Everything Public.

A few years ago, I had a student in one of my marketing courses that regularly emailed me with questions. Her email address began with ByteMe. While cute and creative for a CIS major, imagine the negative impression that was made by everyone that received an email from her. So, yes, your email address plays an influence in personal branding and in personal name SEO.

Thus, your chosen resume name should also be used in your email address for consistent personal branding. So, personal name claim a Gmail email address and use this email consistently across all your social media profiles and personal name search trigger points.

I have seven active email addresses, but the one used across the social web and especially for all my professional and public use of social media includes my resume name. Fortunately, my work email also includes my resume name.

Advanced Tip: For job searchers, I recommend that you use a separate phone number, apart from your home or current work numbers, on your resume and for your job search. This is accomplished by signing up for a free Google Voice phone number for your area code. Then when your GV number is called, you can assign it to ring thru to your mobile phone with a GV notification stating there is an incoming call. You are forewarned and can answer it in a professional tone or send it to a professional voice message stating your resume name and to leave a name and number for a callback.

  1. Use Your Resume Name at All Personal Name Search Trigger Points.

Of course, the primary trigger point for a personal name search is your resume or job application.

However, you should consistently use your resume name at all other personal name search trigger points in preparation to be Googled. This includes: (1) your email addresses and email signatures, (2) your business card, (3) profiles or listings in your professional or trade membership directories, (4) conference name badges and attendance directories, and (5) your profile on your employer’s website or directory.

If you write original content such as blog posts and other digital content (or journals and other printed publications), then be sure to include your resume name as the byline. If digital, use your resume name in the Gravatar display name, in the About Me section, and for the original image credits.

Or, if you write insightful reviews on Amazon or other websites to support your personal brand, or leave comments in discussion groups or communities online, then don’t forget to sign off with your resume name.

All these efforts contribute to a consistent and repeated use of your personal name that is optimized for external search engines and internal social network searches.

Advanced Tip: Disqus is a blog comment plugin used on popular WordPress blogs across the web. I recommend that you go there and register your resume name along with a link to your blog and/or Twitter account. Then, when you comment on a favored blog post, your commenter name will be consistent across the web. An added benefit is that your comment on a popular blog post can often show up in a personal name search.

  1. Register Your Resume Name as a Domain Name.

Someday in the future not far away, a dot com domain name of your resume name may become one of your most valuable digital assets. A personal brand website or a personal blog can become the hub for your personal branding, personal name SEO, and online reputation management (ORM).

So, whether you plan to use it now (or not), domain register your resume name for multiple years in the future. At $ 10 or less per year, this effort is the best way to future-proof your personal name SEO and personal brand.

Advanced Tip: For the benefit of personal name claim, you should also register your resume name as a subdomain on the free blogging platforms of WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. For example, dennymccorkle.wordpress.com.

When you do begin blogging for career purposes, you should use your registered personal name as your domain name on a paid and self-hosted WordPress site. For example, dennymccorkle.com.

  1. Consider Doing a Personal Name Claim for Your Spouse and Children.

To future-proof and avoid Google grief, you should assist your spouse and children in optimizing their resume/personal name for personal branding, too.

However, you should be aware that most social media sites require a minimum age of 13+ to register and use. More specifically, Facebook considers that if the parents register their underage child, it is a violation of their terms of service. So, don’t go there. However, you can register a web domain name and Facebook has a Family Link early access program. Be sure to check the terms with any other social accounts.

More proactively, I strongly recommend you consider doing a web domain name search and a Google search before choosing a personal name for your newborn.

Don’t laugh or tell my wife, when my daughter was born 6.5 years ago, I Googled the many variations of personal names under consideration before casting my family voice and vote. Hint: the middle name can really make a difference.

  1. Monitor Your Resume Name in Real-Time.

After you have made the personal name commitment across all web and physical properties, it is an appropriate time to begin your online reputation management (ORM) with the real-time monitoring of your personal branding effort.

You can do this yourself by regularly Googling your resume name, what Susan P. Joyce calls defensive Googling. This proactive personal name search effort should be repeated often, particularly prior to the start of a job search.

Or, you can automate this process.

You can do this by registering all variations of your name as a Google Alerts and/or a Social Mention. Be sure to use quotations and include all variation of your name along with the IDs used in your social profiles. Hint: use one name variation per alert; do not list them all in one alert.

  1. Next Up: Career Confirmation SEO.

Now that your resume name is optimized, the next step is to optimize your social media profiles and social sharing activities.

This requires that you develop complete and consistent social profiles/photos along with a consistent strategy of value-added social activity. This is so that others (and Google) will like what they find attached to your personal name.

Also, you should begin to regularly (perhaps monthly) conduct another personal name SEO audit to confirm that your personal name SEO and career confirmation optimization efforts are working.

In my next blog post I will write about career confirmation SEO as part 3 of this personal name SEO for personal branding series.

“The second most important keywords for personal branding are the career-focused keywords and topics associated with your personal name.”

The Take-Away.

Google and social media have become the new resume, the new cover letter, the new networking, and the new business card.

With a carefully designed personal name SEO strategy, you can take control of where others will find you and what they will find about you.

Or, just let Google do it.

These are my thoughts and now they are yours.

Have you conducted a personal name claim across the social web? If so, then what did you do and how has it helped you?

Image credit: Denny McCorkle

This article originally appeared on Digital Self Marketing Advantage and is republished with permission.

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Author: Denny McCorkle

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