Hello, my name is Susan Barnes.
Since you’re reading this post, you either already know that I am Susan Barnes, or you found me through a search for “Susan Barnes.”
“So what?” you say. Well, as of the date of this post there are 1,130,000 results for a search on “Susan Barnes.” This number is likely to continue growing dramatically, so if you’re stumbling upon this post months or years after it was uploaded, look at the number of search results for Susan Barnes now.
How many search results does your name show on Google? Simply enter your name into the search box, and you’ll see either how common your name is, or how famous you are on Google. The higher the number of search results, the more common your name, and the more challenging it will be for you to get a first page ranking on Google or any other search engine for that matter, unless you control all the listings, because no-one else with your name is doing anything worth mentioning.
Since Susan Barnes is a very common name and there are several Susan Barnes’ with strong online presences (and also quite importantly that I am passionate about search engines,) I am intrigued by the phenomenon of getting a good ranking for your name on Google.
A recent book called Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot recommend that if you are hiring anyone to do any web, social media or online marketing work for you, you must confirm that they have a good digital footprint. This means that if you were looking to hire Susan Barnes to help you with Internet Marketing or Social Media, you would want her name and profile to have a high ranking on the first page of Google.
Today (January 6, 2010) if you Google “Susan Barnes” you’ll see results for Susan Barnes the actress, Susan Barnes the author, who also has the Susan Barnes Twitter handle. There’s Susan Barnes the realtor in Orlando, Florida, Susan Barnes the Firegoddess jewelry maker, Susan Barnes the painter in Mendocino, California, (incidentally I used to do a lot of oil painting in college too,) Susan Barnes the writer, Susan Barnes the art historian, Susan Barnes the social media expert on the east coast, among 1,129,990 others. There’s even a Susan Barnes somewhere back east who has no period in her gmail account (susanbarnes @ gmail . com) where my personal email is susan . barnes @ gmail . com and for I frequently get her mail. This is very disconcerting, since I’m sure she is likely getting my mail as well. When is Google going to fix this problem? Larry? Sergei?
As I write this post, the Susan Barnes that is me, is indeed listed on the first page of Google, but currently only because I have a Google profile. So lesson number one for those of you with common names like “Susan Barnes,” make sure you create your public Google profile.
Other ways to get your name listed at the top of a Google search:
2. Be someone that other people want to write about, i.e. get your name eg. Susan Barnes linked from websites that don’t belong to you. This is the same for keywords and search engine optimization. If your keyword appears in link text, it has more value to a search engine.
3. Use your name as your handle in Social Networks. This particular Susan Barnes did not do that, because there are too many Susan Barnes’ in the world (yes I am a bit bitter… grrrrrrr) and when I tried to get SusanBarnes on Facebook, SusanBarnes on Twitter they were already taken. I am Susan Barnes Internet Solutions Consultant on LinkedIn, where I was able to use my name as my handle. I am using Susby on Facebook, Susby on Twitter and Susan Barnes on LinkedIn.
For good examples/role models, see George Kao, Chris Brogan, or Brian Solis.
4. Write a blog post about yourself like this one.
5. Register a domain name with your name it, like susanbarnes.com, susanbarnes.net or susanbarnesauthor.com or susanbarneswriter.com.
6. Use your name in the title tag and meta description of your page or post.
7. Participate in social networks, because reputation is the new currency. Every time you post to Twitter for example, Google is still picking it up and indexing it. What does that tell those of you who can’t fathom why anyone would use Twitter?
8. If all else fails, start a new presence with a catchy name like Shoemoney, Daggle or Susby, but you’ll still need to spend a ton of time blogging, tweeting, updating and participating in order to be considered someone worth listing to Google.
Thank you for reading about the many Susan Barnes’.
Now it’s your turn: What’s your name and how often do you appear in search results?