Can you influence what Google displays when your name is looked up?
Luckily, the answer is yes - we’ve gathered some advice from search marketing experts that will help you to manage what potential employers find out about you on the web
Do you remember when people used to tell you that first impressions were everything and that an employer would decide whether or not to hire you from the first few minutes of your meeting. Unfortunately that’s just not true any more. Your employer is very likely to type your name into a search engine before they even think about meeting you and make a decision based on what they find.
The rules of getting results into search engines are complicated and can be extremely technical, but for the layman, it essentially comes down to two things - having the right keywords on a webpage and having lots of hyperlinks pointed to the site. In order to make Google display the content/web pages/images you want potential employers to see, you need to get your name (keywords) out on the web. Then, you need to build hyperlinks on webpages to web pages on which your name appears, such as your LinkedIn profile.
Here are some tips that will help you to control some of what Google tells people about you:
Get your own domain name
It might sound a little vain, but it’s a really important factor when it comes to which sites Google thinks are relevant to your name. You can point this domain name at any web page you want, such as your LinkedIn or Twitter profile. Domain names are a good investment, especially as they can be cheap - a .co.uk name can cost less than three pounds a year. If your name has already been taken, be creative and add a suffix that describes what you do such as ‘media’.
Build your own website
You should have your own website by now - even if it’s just a one page CV. Making a website might sound like a scary prospect that involves a big budget, designers and developers but it’s now possible to create a beautiful and fully functional website without any knowledge of web design. Sites such as squarespace.com and wordpress.com will allow you to create a site from scratch.
Start a blog
This sounds easier than it is! In an ideal world, you’d have a wonderfully content rich blog which demonstrates your expertise, your sparkling wit and dynamic personality, but posting blogs all the time can be a pain in the neck. Most blogs that are set up are abandoned within the first few months by bloggers that just don’t’ have the time or motivation to write. As long as you have written something that’s relevant to what you want people to know about you, this doesn’t matter. If Google has found your blog, it’s likely to turn up somewhere in search results - even if it is three years old. It goes without saying that the more often you blog, the more likely your name is to appear in Google results.
Get your name out on the web
Set up some different social media profiles that have your name in the web address, for example: www.tumblr.com/yourname. There are several sites that will allow you to have your own name in the web address, for example: LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, YouTube Facebook and Twitter.
Comment on blogs and forums
When you make comments on publisher’s website, you are usually putting your name onto websites that Google ranks higher than many others as they are very authoritative sources of information. Publishing a comment with your name on the BBC News website will help your name appear in search results. The more comments you make across the web, the more chance you have of appearing in results. Keep it relevant to your industry and job and remember that you won’t be able to delete your comment.
Tweet a lot
Google indexes individual tweets as if they were web pages. The more you tweet, the more likely your words are likely to come up in Google’s results.
Protect your privacy
You don’t need a potential boss to see what you look like after seven glasses of wine and two hours of dancing before they’ve even met you. A lot of people don’t know exactly what they do and don’t share publicly. Check the privacy settings on all of your social network profiles and make sure you only share what you’re really happy with strangers seeing.