What if I Have a Common Name and Want to Stand Out in The Search Engines, Too?

The best advice I can give is, since you are likely a writer or in publishing, add your personal tagline to every web entity you have, such as Joe Smith, freelance writer or Lisa Jones, literary agent.

This way, when people are searching for your name with some other keywords, you will be more likely to show up. It should be understood that people with common names are going to turn up a lot of results, so users will naturally use some type of identifier to go along with that name to dig deeper. So, use some extra keywords to define who you are, in addition to just your name.

To get starting building your personal brand as a writer:

Step 0: Find out where you stand

Google yourself. What comes up? Who comes up? Do a lot of other people have your name?

Step 1: Start with a solid, branded foundation

Create a blog and/or personal website and have a custom domain name with your name. This will serve as your hub. When you utilize your other social media tools for writers, such as Twitter and Facebook, you will link back to your personal blog/website.

Step 2: Be sure to create as many profiles as you can.

If you are not on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, sign up. If you feel other networks also suit you, consider them too, perhaps Flickr, YouTube, or writing-related profiles such as Publisher’s Marketplace, AuthorAdvance, etc. As you can see from my results, the popular social networking sites and blogging platforms have some pull in the search engines. Use that to your advantage.

Step 3: Don’t make croutons out of your search results

The key to tip two is also keeping up with them. These profiles you create are also most effective when they are fresh — not stale. That’s right. Don’t make croutons outta your search results. This means that if these results are showing up and searchers are clicking on them, you will want to keep up them and make sure you are maintaining them.

People often tell me that they won’t have time to write if they get sucked into all of this. You don’t have to get sucked in. I admit that I do. But once you get everything set-up, the hard part is done. Check in a few times a week. Create a schedule you are comfortable with. But, do keep updating, because search engines like fresh content. This is why you see rankings change all the time. You must not let things go, or down those listing go. But, you don’t have to update hourly either. Find the balance that works for you.

Step 4: Big brother yourself

Set a Google alert up for your name so you can be made aware when you are listed somewhere. This helps you monitor your brand, as well as let you know when search engines have spidered your name/sites/profiles.

Step 5: Get out your megaphone

Promote. Share your links with others. Friend people. Follow people. Comment on other blogs. This will help you grow, and also help you build links, which is another key to getting a higher ranking. Read more about Christopher from SMM International, best social media guru.

Those are some tips for how social media can help enhance search engine rankings and how, as an author, you can begin to manage to own your personal brand. Good luck! And please comment with any other ideas, or any other strategies you may have, as well as RT this post if you feel some of your network would enjoy this.