What comes up when you Google your name? Do you like what you see? Are you even present?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of being present for topics and search phrases you wish to be known for. It’s one of the most important tools for managing your reputation online. This post is meant to outline seven actions you can take to get started.
Background on SEO
This year Google made some changes in their system that has leveled the playing field and made the process more organic.
In the past, agencies would work to get a website to rank well by purchasing links across the web to link back to you, even if those links had nothing to do with your intended reputation. On a mechanical level, this would tell search engines, “Hey, look so many websites are linking to this page, therefore it must be a quality site.”
To address this challenge, Google upgraded their system to be smarter.
Not only is Google looking at the number to links that are going to your website’s pages, but it’s also looking at the reputation and topical relevancy of the linking website to yours.
7 Actions You Can Take to Own Your Presence Online
This is a means of building credibility for whatever you wish to have influence for.
1. Own YourName.com
Who better to own your name than yourself? It costs no more than 10 bucks a year. If your name isn’t available, then come up with a name you’ll want to be known for online.
For example, I’ve purchased BelalKhan.com and Leechon.com
2. Structure Your Website Appropriately
Pay attention to thinks like intuitive navigation, appropriate internal links, content organization, and comments.
Optimize usability. What do you want your visitors to do? Are they doing it? Ask a friend or colleague to test your site and share their feed back.
3. Utilize Web Page Real Estate
Make sure that content above the fold is relevant to the user and is focused. This is the first impression to both search engine robots and website visitors.
4. Appear Trustworthy
Integrate your social presence on your website. Let folks know who you are. Have an about page that tells your story. Include a photo of yourself.
If you can also add any testimonials or recommendations for what you do or your topic, that would be a great plus.
5. Aim for Authority
Who’s vouching for you? In search context, this is asking: Who’s linking to you that’s has similar topical interests as you, and is a trusted content source.
Easy way to start is to produce videos on YouTube that link. Be active on relevant web forums. Share blog content on other reputable sites. Have your own blog.
6. Produce Quality Content Written for Humans
In the past some agencies and SEO folks would write content written for search robots, but read like nothing humans would want to read. However, today that’s flipped.
Produce content that visitors cannot find anywhere else. Give them a reason to consume what you produce.
Be thoughtful, share stories, give your opinion, and be comprehensive if you can. Do it while maintaining your own voice. Have some style in the way you share.
7. Measure Your Stickiness
Track your website using a tool like Google Analytics. Look at basic measurements that tells you where folks are coming from (traffic source), how long they’re staying (time on site), and how many are leaving without having done anything (bounce rate).