How to Increase Your Visibility on the Internet
If you own a business or are an entrepreneur, you know how important it is to be visible online. But are you making the most of your efforts? It is easy to allow some simple actions to get past you that can really help your personal brand. Let’s take a look at some ways you can avoid leaving opportunity on the table.
Waller Executive Institute for Personal Branding Workshop, Washington, DC – 2017
Creating your own website might seem like a no-brainer for someone who wants to get seen on the internet. However, it could be a daunting prospect for someone who is not tech savvy or is just getting started. Thankfully, there are ways to start out with an easy-to-manage, low cost website. Wix is a great example of a platform that makes your website easy to build. A basic Wix site is free. You will pay a small fee when you connect to your domain name. The option of choosing more bells and whistles is always there when you wish to expand the site.
About.me is a useful, free one-page website that you can make your own. It is an excellent way to get your name and information out to people who want to find you. About.me brings together the professional and the personal. Think of it as your postcard to the world on the web.
One of the most, if not the most important thing to remember about social media for personal branding SEO is to fill out your profile completely and consistently. Decide on a primary location, phone number, and how you will present your address. On each social media site, link to as many other social media sites of yours that you are able. Here are a few that are particularly useful for personal branding:
LinkedIn has one of the highest visibilities for a personal name search. It not only gives you the chance to connect with others who are also on the business platform, but may be one of the first links to come up when someone Googles you.
Twitter is also very highly ranked in Google. When completing your profile, add hashtags that someone looking for you would be likely to use in their search. Make sure to include the specific location of your business, even though you may be, or aspire to be national or international. Make sure to provide the link to your website, and when you have a message you want to highlight, pin the tweet to the top of your page to give it more views.
Meetup.com is another very good, but often missed chance to get the word out about who you are and what you do. Post a nice photo of yourself. Meetup allows you to link to three other social media platforms, so make sure you do.
Have you explored NextDoor.com? This is a site with a very local focus. You will need to be invited onto the site, and then you will be able to join a group that includes your immediate neighborhood. NextDoor is good for helping neighbors find a lost dog, report on a crime concern, or get the word out on the weekend yard sales, but it can also do more. Simply knowing those who live nearby is good for word-of-mouth business. You can also have a business page on NextDoor, which makes it easy for others to refer you when asked for a recommendation.
Find out which directories cover your field and get listed. Because they are well established, in some cases your profile in an industry-specific directory such as Wedding Wire, Avvo, or Houzz may come up in a search above your own website. One good way to discover niche directories is to think of the keywords you would most like to rank for. When you Google those terms, take note of which free directories come up first. You will want to sign up for those. There is something to be said for “Barnacle SEO,” i.e. attaching yourself to something bigger than you are. Take advantage of that ready-made internet trust!
It is also incredibly helpful to boost your visibility with review sites and other local directories. Get listed on sites like Yelp, Google My Business, Angie’s List, and Bing. If your business already appears in a directory, claim the listing and fill out the profile completely. Some shy away from review sites for fear of bad reviews. It is by far better to be a presence and to respond quickly and publicly to any negative feedback rather than to hide your head in the sand. Take the reins and create a positive image.
Bonus tip: In local directories, your business name should be just that – your business name only. Adding extra SEO keywords will earn you a demerit from Google. Save your search terms for the description.
Join one or more of your local or regional chambers of commerce. A single backlink to your website from a chamber of commerce is great for SEO. It may seem expensive, but chambers of commerce are high traffic, high trust websites and your own online trust score will benefit. Even if you have to pay a little extra to include your logo with your listing, go for it. The extra visibility is worth it.
Apply to join a BNI near you. When you fill out your Business Network International profile, include details such as your top product and your ideal referral. Be sure to take advantage of the many connections and benefits available to you as a member of a BNI chapter.
Remember that aside from its social aspect, MeetUp.com is also a great place for business networking. See which meetups relate to your specialty and get involved. If you don’t find any that quite work for you, start your own. If you build it, they will come.
Google loves fresh content. Repurpose your work: If you make a video, use some of that same material to write an article. If you have a speaking engagement, upload your PowerPoint presentation to SlideShare. Creating a good blog and posting consistently is an excellent way to show up in Google’s ranks. Guest blogging also boosts your profile and can help you reach new audiences. When you don’t have time to tackle original material, make time to follow and comment on others’ related work. Be sure you are logged in via your Gravatar, Twitter, Facebook, or provide your web link so the connection is made.
Get to Work!
Once you get through the task of choosing your focus and the image you want to show the world, many of the steps you need to take toward personal branding SEO begin to reveal themselves. It is almost impossible to overemphasize how important it is to find or create relevant profiles and fill them out consistently and completely. So many people neglect to do so, that simply by including all your information, a photo, and a logo wherever possible, you are already ahead of the pack. Get to work and make it easy for customers, collaborators, and fans to find you!