This is the fourth in a series of Personal Brand Audits, where we’ll make sure you’re keeping the touch points of your personal brand effective and up to date. (See Part 1: LinkedIn Audit, Part 2: Facebook Audit, and Part 3: Google Audit).
What is visibility?
The hallmark of a strong personal brand online is the ability to be found when someone searches for you on the web. The first step to ensure you can be found is to create profiles on major professional networks and directories that rank highly in search engine results. Besides your “home base” website if you have one, these form the foundation of your personal brand online.
Visibility Part I: Profiles
1. Do you have a complete Google Profile?
A Google profile helps you control Google results by creating a profile that shows up when people search your name. This helps others find the right information when they search for you. Create a professional page that outlines your accomplishments, career goals, and links to your blog and other profiles. Create your Google profile now.
2. Do you have a complete LinkedIn Profile?
LinkedIn is an absolute requirement to build visibility for your personal brand online. If you haven’t already, drop everything and read Dan Schawbel’s post, How to Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn. It extends your network, showcases your expertise and simplifies your job search by making your connections to other companies transparent. Create your LinkedIn profile now and make sure it is filled to one hundred percent completion (LinkedIn will guide you through the process).
3. Do you have a complete Twitter Profile?
Twitter is a massively popular social networking and microblogging service that extends your network, builds your brand (if used right) and increases your visibility. Create your Twitter profile now and implement the tips in Dan Schawbel’s excellent post, How to Build Your Personal Brand on Twitter.
4. Do you have a FriendFeed profile?
FriendFeed creates a news feed that aggregates your activity on social networks, much like Facebook’s news feed. It gives people an easy way to stay up to date with your activity on the web and ranks highly in search engines. Create your FriendFeed profile now.
5. Do you have a Gravatar?
Claim your Gravatar (globally recognized avatar) so that your blog comments and other online activity are associated with a consistently branded headshot. Claim your Gravatar now.
Visibility Part II: Directories
Directories are like online Yellow Pages for people. They rank highly in Google searches and make it easier to find the real you. Create a profile on the directories below to increase relevant Google results for your name. Make sure your profiles include your bio, headshot, a link to your LinkedIn profile and links to the other places you exist on the web.
6. Do you have a complete ZoomInfo profile?
ZoomInfo is a comprehensive source of business information on people that ranks highly in search engines. Create your ZoomInfo profile now.
Plaxo is an online address book and professional networking service that automatically updates the contact information of your contacts and ranks highly in search engines. Create your Plaxo profile now.
8. Do you have a complete Naymz profile?
Naymz is a reputation management and networking service for professionals that ranks highly in search engines. Create your Naymz profile now.
9. Do you have a complete Classmates profile?
Classmates is a massive directory of high school and college alumni where you can find and reconnect with old friends that ranks highly in search engines. Create your Classmates profile now.
10. Do you have a complete Ziggs profile?
Ziggs is a business community where you create an online profile that ranks highly in search engines. Create your Ziggs profile now.
11. BONUS: Do you interlink your profiles?
Link from your profiles to each of your other profiles. This is important because search engines like Google count every link to a web page as a “vote” for that page. Google results are often described as a popularity contest because the pages that come up highest in searches for your name are generally the pages that have the most credible sites linking to it.
Because of this, you’ll want to get as many sites linking to your profiles as possible. That means you need to “interlink” all of your profiles to increase the Google rank of each. (For more specific tactics to show up highly in search results for your name, see my last post, Google Audit).
Tally Up: What’s your Google audit score?
Tally up your answers to determine your Visibility score. If you scored 0-4, take a few minutes right now to improve your standing. If you scored 5-7, set some time aside this weekend to improve your score. If you scored 8-10, you’re on the ball – keep up the great work.
Here are the audit points, to recap:
- Do you have a complete Google Profile?
- Do you have a complete LinkedIn Profile?
- Do you have a complete Twitter Profile?
- Do you have a FriendFeed profile?
- Do you have a Gravatar?
- Do you have a complete ZoomInfo profile?
- Do you have a complete Plaxo profile?
- Do you have a complete Naymz profile?
- Do you have a complete Classmates profile?
- Do you have a complete Ziggs profile?
- BONUS: Do you interlink your profiles?
Good luck, have fun, and remember: a little personal branding effort now pays off dividends later.
Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com, the first online reputation management platform for job applicants, named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S.