Category: SERP Domination

How Search Engine Results for your Name Should Look

I had an old  friend from my youth longtime friend call me up the other day and say: “Lauren, what is it you’re doing with this new site of yours, exactly?”

One of the mistakes I find myself making, sometimes, is that because I associate with a large tribe of people who are as knowledgeable as I (and, many times, more) about the world of SEO and ORM; I sometimes forget myself when addressing the general public. While I hope my peers are aware and utilizing best ORM practices, the goal of this site is to help educate everyday people about taking control of the content on the web for their own names.

Since you are reading about my goals to rank my name in real time, I’ll go ahead and use Lauren Starling as the example. However, since my total SERP domination goals for that term alone have not yet been obtained, I will have to show you an example of how I would like my results to look.  The best way to do that is to post results from a different search term similar to Lauren Starling.   So, for this example, we’ll use the term Lauren Starling SEO.  Truth be told, this is actually a valid term; potential clients, when researching me on the web, may indeed type something to that effect.

So, for Lauren Starling SEO we see:

Lauren Starling

Every single one of these results are about me and equally (if not more) important, they are all results from content that I control. Keeping the content from those sources fresh, along with some basic SEO technique, ensures that those results stay in place (more or less) so that in the instance of nefarious event, you’ve already got aged content in place. Aged content is a significant factor in what Google deems to be relevant when showing results. So, for example, if a disgruntled ex-partner suddenly decides to go after your name on the internet in an attempt at a smear campaign, that ex-partner is going have a lot of algorithmic obstacles to overcome to beat out your results. Assuming your content has been there awhile and you continue to maintain active involvement in those sources; (e.g. Posting links on your twitter account, updating your linked in with the current resume info, posting status updates on your brand facebook page…etc) you literally have first dibs.

*Sidenote: You may have noticed the blurred out result for Pinterest. This particular result shows a username that I sometimes use.  I’ve spoken previously about keeping usernames and professional names separate as a way of keeping your personal life private.  When you do your own search for your name, you may indeed see a mixing of usernames out there. Don’t panic. Remember, if it’s an account you control, many times you can do something about it.  In this case, I was able to go through the Pinterest settings panel and just change my name to Lauren Starling. Just the mere instance of me linking to it in this post with the anchor text of “Lauren Starling” will most likely change the Google SERPs for this particular result sometime soon.  So, this is a key example of SERP manipulation for ORM and the empowerment that comes along with controlling the Search Engine results for your name.

How to Increase Facebook Likes

As I’ve mentioned, it’s important to have a facebook page dedicated to your public image, that ranks for your name or brand. When you first start, however, you may find yourself in  a sea of facebook names or you may not find your facebook page there at all (especially if you just recently created it). My hunch is that both Facebook and Google have a few filters in place when dealing with new pages. As you can probably guess, the best way to break through those filters is by getting likes and shares. There are a few key ways to do go about doing this.

1. Build it and they will come.  As a person whose job it is to constantly manipulate the SERPs, I find this idea to be a tad bit on the naive side. Does it happen? Sure. If your content is really ground breaking or really awesome you need only to get a few people to notice and let the viral yummyness take over. However, lets be realistic. The vast majority of business owners selling Green Widgets are going to have a hard time getting people to get excited about their Widgets. Most likely, you’re going to have to get a little more creative.

begging for likes2. Beg for likes. I know people do this when they first start out with usually nothing more than “Please like my page”. I’m not going to fault this method but, for me personally, I  just don’t care to pressure my friends that way. I’ll certainly make the page available on my personal profile and may even mention something along the lines of “feel free to like it, if you do”  but I really only want to have to do it once. Your friends aren’t going to want to see you begging for likes over and over; it get’s annoying real quick.  So this might work when you first start out but it’s not really a sustainable long term strategy.

3. Buy likes.  There are plenty of services out there that sell Likes and shares and comments and pretty much anything you can think of associated with your Facebook page. Fiverr has some pretty good deals. The complaints about using the services, however, are generally that most are bots and that Google and/or Facebook will be able to figure that out. I doubt you’ll be punished by either but you’re probably just wasting your money (even if it is just five bucks).

4.  Exchange Likes.  I really kind of like this idea. Infact, I had this idea for a site like this a few years back but, alas, one person can only do so much in a day. The idea behind the link exchange is you get points for every like you click and you cash in those points for others to like your pages. Are there going to be bots involved? Sure, but probably not nearly as many as out right buying them from vendors. That being said, I’m sure Google probably has it’s own way of determining authority for facebook profiles (they certainly do for public pages) so I’m sure Google also has a way of determining the amount of unbiased to biased Like ratios. However, if your goal, to start, is just to get your page noticed by the SERPs, then this is a fairly good way to go. There are a bunch out there and I’ve tried them all. Surprisingly, most are pretty crappy but the one I’m using now (mostly because it works well with Ubot) gets the job done.

5. Share Awesomeness. Probably the most natural way to get likes and shares is by posting great stuff. Don’t worry, I’m not repeating myself. While this sounds like we already covered this in #1, it’s actually an alternative method for those poor souls and their boring Green Widgets.  Before I get ahead of myself, though, let me point out the power of viral sharing and liking.

Getting Likes naturallyHave you ever paid attention to a picture or comment that is getting alot activity? For example, pretty much anything on Ron Paul’s Page gets multiple shares, likes and comments. It’s no coincidence that this guy’s page has a Google Page Rank of 7.  How can this help you? Many social pages, like this one, will allow you to post your own content from your own facebook page on that page. Now, you most likely won’t have admin privileges, so your post won’t be on any news feeds. However, many fans of these pages come to the page it’s self to see what’s new, and when they do, they’ll see what you posted.

I decided to test out this last method using a page other than the Facebook page for Lauren Starling. I choose another page of mine (in another niche) that I wasn’t doing any other active campaigning for. One of the quickest ways to get likes or shares is by posting something funny, especially funny pictures or memes. So I went over to 9gag and found some funny, yet appropriate pictures, and started looking for facebook pages to post them on.  You are going to want to make sure whatever page you find has both a high amount of likes and the ability to post without being an admin. For the purposes of keeping things seperate, I found five pictures and posted them on five different pages. Over approximately 2 days I received around 20 likes on the 5 pictures. Some were definitely more popular than others (usually the cutesy animal pictures got the most likes. Shocker, I know).

This particular post to the left got 8 likes. After looking further at the likes some of the people/profiles/pages that did the liking came with some decent PR. So Google is not only going to see these as more natural, Google will also see it as more authoritative, all of which will pass on to my page.  (*Note it’s very important to make sure that you are posting these pics and comments under your page and NOT your profile, otherwise this will all be for naught.) These likes and shares will continue to filter in either from people/fans visiting their favorite pages and liking them or friends of the people that liked them investigating what it was that their friend was liking and, sometimes, they end up liking them too. So while I only did 5 Facebook posts for the purpose of this blog post, you can see that if you do, say 5 a day, how those likes can start to add up exponentially. Plus, the beauty is: None of this goes on your actual professional page. So you can post pictures of cute owls on other people’s pages and no one will see anything on your page except your Green widgets. They will see how many Likes you have but not where they come from, so to your prospective customers you just look really popular. Perfect aye?

Because I love you and appreciate the fact that you just sat through all of these facebook ramblings, I’m giving you my list of 56 Facebook pages, that I scraped myself, where you can post your funny pics and get that Like gravy train rolling.  All of these pages have both the ability for non admins to post, and anywhere from 20k to 1 million Likes (So you know they get visited frequently).  Now here’s where one can say: If you find this link helpfully, feel free to Like this page! 😉 Popular Funny Facebook Pages List

SERP Report 4-17-2012

Lauren Starling SERP 4-17Today marked the first day that content, that I control, ranks #1. Infact, not only is it content I control ; it’s my very own website. Double points for the SEO! As you can see, I pushed down that facebook account that has been vexing me.

At first, I actually attempted to contact the owner to see if she would make her facebook page unsearchable, and thereby solving my problem for me, but apparently she’s ok with every stalker out there seeing her personal info.  And, Ms. Lauren Starling (who is not me) if you’re reading this: My motives may be selfish, but I highly suggest you reconsider. If you’ll notice, you won’t find my personal facebook page, only my business/professional page.

I recommend everyone, especially when setting up your name for branding, immediately privatize your personal facebook page. Instead, consider making a public page for potential employers, clients, admissions clerks or even stalkers to access.  That way you don’t have to treat your own personal facebook like your mom is reading over your shoulder every second. While I wouldn’t suggest handing over your password to any hiring managers at least you can feel confident when they search your name the facebook content they see is what you control.

Coming up: I’ve got a few articles in the works. One in particular is going to be especially useful to those looking for good (High PR) sites to list your social profile. So stay tuned.


Google Loves Lauren Starling

SERP results for Lauren Starling 4-9-12
SERP results for Lauren Starling 4-9-12

Well, apparently Google likes Lauren Starling. I’m flattered, really I am. You see, I ended the confessional post on Friday about how shameful it was that I hadn’t attempted to dominate the SERPs with my own name and mentally prepared myself for a couple of months of SERP dancing. Then, BAM! today this particular site for Lauren Starling is at #3 above the images. Not to shabby, if I do say so myself. I’ve got one more position planned for this site (#2 of course) and then it’s pretty much done. (I’d rather it not come out above the current authority Lauren Starling site, but it very well might do that since this site has the most updated content. ) The results will be interesting to watch, either way.

It will be important to monitor for the sandbox in the next few weeks. While I’m not worried about the competitiveness of the term Lauren Starling, I do have to acknowledge that it is a brand new domain. That, plus the fact that other ORM sites that I have worked on with a similar site model went into the sandbox after a couple of weeks as well. My theory for the reasons why something like this would happen for a relatively low competitive term (like Lauren Starling) is: A term rarely gets indexed or searched for and suddenly there’s all this content is going to get flagged by the SEs. So it hits the top of the SERPs for a few days and then falls off when it’s obvious it’s not a trend or viral. Basically, Google is trying to figure out what the heck is going on.  This can be very discouraging for clients, but I just do my best to impose upon them that as long as we keep consistently trucking along, it should all fall back into place nicely.

Next, I need to start planning what I want to take on the next 8 positions. I created a public facebook page for Lauren Starling. I guess I should think about adding some content. Interesting side note: I got a little creative with the current facebook positions, but I’ll expand on that more in a later post.  (I’ve got to see if it works first 😉 )

Brad Hanks

Today, for the Online Reputation Winner’s Circle we have a new addition: Brad Hanks, who has been a REALTOR® for over 20 years, has not only enthusiastically dedicated himself to his profession, he’s obviously made great strides in his online reputation management as well.  Take a look at Brad’s deft attempts at controlling all of the first page of Google for his name: