Late last week, while updating my Google+ profile, I noticed that I could let Google know where I had previously contributed content. By clicking a little menu, I could denote whether I was a “Current” or “Past” contributor.
Without really thinking about it, I added two venues for whom I used to write: MarketingSherpa and The Visual Thesaurus.
Previous to this change, whenever I did a search for my name, content written by others usually showed up near the bottom of the SERP, such as an interview of me by Jill Whalen. What also appeared was the Pinterest profile for another woman with the same name as I — except she goes by “cakemom43″ on Pinterest.
Much to my surprise, this seemingly small change to my Google+ profile produced a major result: namely, I now “owned” the first page of Google for my name. And, as you can see in the screenshot, The Visual Thesaurus was now appearing where “cakemom43″ used to reside. Wow!
Instantly, the light bulb went on — and I knew right then that for Google to show the “right” results for my name, I needed to “help” the search engine by connecting the dots across my social media profiles.
I’ve spent a fair number of hours on LinkedIn in the last couple of weeks reconnecting with people and updating my contacts database — and am surprised at how many people have outdated contact information.
To help Google, it pays to take a minute to check your profile.
To edit your contact info, get into “edit” mode and then click the “Contact Info” box beneath your photo. An expanded box opens up.
In next screenshot below, you can see my contact info, including my email and phone number. You can also see the links to my social media profiles — Twitter and Google+ — plus a link to my website.
To customize the Website links, click the “pen” to edit and where you see the drop down menu, open it and click “Other.” This opens up a new menu where you can name the links whatever you want. I don’t like the default “Company Website” label, so I changed mine to “My Website.” I also added my Google+ profile.
Your Twitter profile lets you add one link, so for mine, I added my Website Toolkit / e-newsletter sign up page as that’s my main call-to-action.
I’ve noticed that people will often link back to LinkedIn. If you have a blog or website, I recommend you link to it instead as that can help drive traffic to your website.
You can also add your email, phone and website URL to your Facebook page. Just click the “About” link beneath your photo and a new page opens up. As you can see, the information I’ve provided matches the contact information on Google+ and LinkedIn.
By making these simple changes, you help Google connect the dots of your online profile — which helps ensure that the same information is displayed in the search results. By having the same information appear across profiles and in the SERPs, you’re able to help people see your reputation and authority — key elements of semantic search. You also create a highly visible and cohesive brand.
As an aside, this process is not 100% foolproof. I still cannot get Google to display the correct address for my business, despite correcting it across all profiles and on my Google Local page. Such is life!
Do you have additional tips for enhancing your online brand? Leave them in the comments section.