Tagged: ORM

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.

These Are My Confessions

I’ve got a secret.  I do Online Reputation Management, specializing in Brand/Name SERP domination and I don’t control all the SERPs with my own name, Lauren Starling.

I know. Shocking.

Lauren Starling SE Results 4-6
(Double click on the image to enlarge)

Before delving into the reasons behind this, let’s first take a look at where the term Lauren Starling sits right now. As you can see in the adjacent image, There are a couple of tweeners who happened to be named Lauren Starling ranking on facebook and myspace (I’m not sure if I was more surprised that myspace was still around, or that you could rank with it). There also appears to be a B grade film actress and as well as an aspiring chef that, seemingly, once took part in a reality show. As for my own content, with regards to Lauren Starling, my site is currently ranking #2 for my name .  I even have an image in there. Not so bad for the average person, but understandably, questionable if that average person also happens to make their living at SEO. So, how this happen?

Actually I didn’t. If you think about it, when potential clients or hiring managers are Googling names for their research, they are fully aware that many times, many different results will popup.  Consider a name like “Sarah Smith” and you’ve got 22 million results to sort through. So most people are well aware that they are going to have to type in something that follows that name, like perhaps the profession.  So if you Google Lauren Starling ORM (online reputation management) or Lauren Starling SEO you will see that not only are the first 20 results all about me (and not the above mentioned Lauren Starlings) but, and most importantly, they are all from content sources I controlSo why not stop there? If most people now a days know how to do a proper search to obtain what they’re really looking for and these people come up with results that I already control,  then why bother going any further?

ORM Funneling

Admittedly, I may be fighting a losing battle if my goal is to completely dominate the SERPs for Lauren Starling alone. Google is not likely to ever just present one result for a term that it already knows to be someone’s name. With currently over 400k results for the term Lauren Starling, Google is always going to want to give the searcher choices. So, then, what’s the main goal here? To encourage a process that I like to call ORM Funneling: Steering the searcher through a series of results controlled by the person holding the name or brand. In other words, if Google only permits a handful of same source results for your name, that’s ok, because if you control those handful of sources, then you can control where the user goes next.  For example, if the searcher only searches Lauren Starling alone, but is looking for me (and not the reality tv chef), most likely they will reject the other results and click on my bio site Lauren Starling, which usually hovers in the top #3 for Lauren Starling. Not only will that site present the information I want it to; In the first section of that site, you’ll see a link to this site.  When you click through and land on this site, you’ll find a sidebar on the right with links to all my other content on the web…and so on.  If a potential client is interested in dropping money on me, they are certainly going to want find out all they can and this way, starting through Google, they are heading down the right path.

Currently, my name and brand, (Lauren Starling) is fine.

You saw the results. Nothing scandalous or even remotely questionable going on.  Infact, sometimes convoluted results are actually what some people want (More about that in a second). The problem here being the word currently. What happens if/when things are not fine for Lauren Starling? I happen to work in a very competitive industry where everyone knows not only how to rank site, but also how to sink a site. Or worse, how to create fake content, possibly terrible content and then rank your name for that content. Trust me, I’ve heard (well, actually seen) horror stories. It’s not unforeseeable, that should I make an enemy out there, they turn their warrior keyboards on me. It would be wise to ensure that, at the very least, I not make it so easy for them to do so.  Paypal ORM problemThe way to ensure that is to give Google authoritative sites to use for your name and your profession for it’s top results. Think about it, Google may think it knows you and what you do, but if you don’t encourage a couple of sites to list in the top results for your name alone and someone else comes along set on destroying your reputation, someone could easily take your name or brand and make it rank for negative content, as it’s perfectly legal.

So while I’m quite content in the current results for both my name Lauren Starling and my name with certain qualifiers like Lauren Starling ORM, I would like to continue to tweak the results to see how much control I can take with regards to the SERPs for my name and brand. Most importantly, I want to show you, the average reader, how it’s done and empower you to do the same, because:

It’s your name; Own it.