Tagged: lauren starling

How to get Google to Show a Positive Online Reputation in under 10 minutes

Controlling Your Online Reputation with a Custom Search Engine

I bet you’ve heard SEO takes months, sometimes years to optimize. When it comes to something as vital as the results displayed for your name though, you may not have the luxury of time. Luckily, you have alternatives. Using Google custom search will have you controlling all the results for your name or brand in a matter of minutes.

Google Search for your Website

So you’ve finally decided to take control of the content out there on the Search Engines regarding your online reputation.  Well done!  Part of managing your reputation online involves using the online reputation management tools (Many of them free monitoring tools like Google’s custom search bar) that are out there at your disposal.  I’m going to demonstrate how you can use custom search engines to control the content for your name or brand. First, however, we need to find all the neutral or positive results Google already has for you.  These are the sources you will use in this custom search search on your website a little later.

There are a few ways you can Google your own name, depending on your goals. You may want to see just what you are up against first, in terms of competition, as there may be plenty of other people out there with your same name. The best way to do so is to tweak the query search a bit with different search operators. I’ve tried out a few with regards to googling first and last names and probably the best is just “firstname lastname” (quotes included in the search) this way you are sure to get the full mention of the two names together in Google’s index.  If you have an unusual name, you will see significantly fewer results than a more common name. For example: If you type into Google  “zeffie zimmerman” you will only get 9 results where as if you type in “john smith” you will get  22 million results. Yikes.  You may think you would prefer one situation over the other, but both have their pros and cons. For example, with a name like John Smith, you would have a pretty simple time staying under the radar. Zeffie, on the other hand, would have nowhere to hide: If it’s out there with her name on it, she better hope it’s something good! However, if you’re like the majority of us, your own name results will fall somewhere  in between.

It probably didn’t take long for Google to figure that most people will probably share their first and last name with other people on this planet. Therefore, Google really does like to present as many appropriate options for the search as possible when presented with a bare or broad search (like John Smith) So you can see the kind of dilemma a person is facing if they want to maximize control the content for their name reputation but Google, in it’s ever ending desire to ensure a positive user experience, is constantly presenting multiple names and mixed results, right? So is it time to throw in the towel before you’ve even begun? Not at all. You still have the option to tightly control your content with the method I previously spoke of called ORM Funneling.

Online Reputation Management Funneling using a Custom Search Engine.

You may not be in a position to control all the general SERPs but, since Google is interested in continually promoting appropriate results, you are certainly in a position to put your best internet foot forward. In other words, pick a source that will be your authoritative source and use that for your ORM funneling efforts. You could go for a public Facebook page which Google already loves.  Or you can set up an official tumblr or worpress.com blog. My recommendation, however,  is own your own domain name. It’s professional, proactive and Google loves it.

Lauren Starling Serp ResultsLet’s bring it back to the situation at hand, shall we? When doing the search for “lauren starling” you’ll see approximately 2500 results. While this tells me what I’m up against in terms of competition, remember what I’m also needing to know is the variety of people Google is serving up for the broad search term Lauren Starling. So to be sure, do the search again, this time without quotation marks, bringing up all the different Lauren Starlings out there. Clicking to expand the the image to the right, you’ll see that I control 2 of the top 3 results for my name. Chances are a searcher is going to click on at least one of those top 3 results. This puts me in a great position to utilize that ORM funneling.  One way that I have been doing it was to drop content links from one site to another, steering the audience in the appropriate direction. Another great way, however,  is to create a Google Custom search on your site.

Google Site Search

Google Custom search is a platform that allows anyone to create their own Google Search Engine which will display only results you dictate. Can you see how this is optimal for the situation of brand and name control? You can add this search for your website with just a few lines of code that I’ll quickly walk you through.

Add Google Site Search

Start by clicking on Creating a Custom Search Engine. Note the “Sites to Search” category. The key is to enter in all the URLS that you already control, so that when someone searches your name in this Google site search bar, Google will only choose from these URLs when presenting results. To get a good list, I would recommend doing another search for your name to see what Google currently has indexed for you. This time try using a niche or geo qualifier. Appropriate qualifiers for me might be lauren starling seo,  lauren starling orm, lauren starling houston…etc.  Once you’ve added your urls and customized it the way you want it to appear to your audience, you simply click save, grab the code and put it where ever you’d like on your site.  As you can see, I’ve put it in the side bar of this site and also in the top content of Lauren Starling.

So, go ahead and invite those hiring managers, potential clients or that college admissions board to use your custom search bar to make their research a bit easier.  Everyone will soon find, that by adding Google search for your website, you’ve not only enhanced your searcher’s experience, you’ve just brought yourself one step closer to controlling the content for your online reputation.

Google Search Bar

Google CSE Autocomplete
If you have a moment, play around with the customized search bar on the top right side by adding in search terms surrounding my name. It should even autopopulate for you. Imagine how impressed your potential employer will be when they start to type in your name and John Smith Employee of the Month auto completes!!

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.

 

Help Control the SERPs with BrandYourself

Lauren starling's review of brandyourself BrandYourself and Lauren Starling have alot in common. We both believe in helping people understand the importance of controlling your own content with regards to your name or your brand.  However, to do that, you have to be proactive. BrandYourself has put out a shiny new app to get you started in that direction. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, there are reasons for everyone to sign up.

If you’re first starting out, this is a good way to get acclimated to the way your name or brand looks in the search engines. If you’ve already had some experience branding yourself in the SERPs, then this is an excellent opportunity for a higher (PR #5) link on a very relevant site.

Here is a video walk through of the features you get with the free account:

 

I’ll post a followup review on how it’s affected my branding campaign later on down the road, especially if I decide to upgrade the account.

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 😉 )