First of all, let’s ask why you would need to make your name (your pseudonym or your company’s name) more visible on search engines?
Whenever someone hears about you and the work you do, whether that be through a referral from someone else or seeing a mention of you on a website, there is a chance that they will want to find out more about you or want to contact you by Googling your name. It is a huge benefit to you if sites containing your name appear high up in the search results page, so that these people can find you, learn more about you and ultimately hire you.
One of the most important elements of self-promotion that I talk a lot about is your credibility. This means that people associate you, your name and your brand with professionalism, likability, trustworthiness and being knowledgeable on your niche. As such, having your name appear prominently and in multiple places in search engine results (for the right reasons!) will have a positive effect on your credibility as a freelancer.
Whenever your name appears on something like Google search results, you will want that link, when clicked, to lead to pages that put you in a positive light, and, wherever possible, showcase the work that you do. This list will address this too.
Here are some ways you can increase the visibility of your name on search engine results pages for self-promotional goodness!
1. Add your name to your site’s meta tags. Meta tags are the information inserted into the ‘head’ area of your web pages (it helps if you know HTML) to help get categorized and indexed on the web. If you use wordpress, you’ll find this in the header.php file in the ‘appearance’ section. Adding your name within the code here, will hopefully get picked up by web spiders and help get your site ranked highly when your name is run through a search engine.
2. Work your name as a keyword into your site and blog. Google and others will pick up these keywords as it indexes your site, but don’t over do it, as it will affect the quality of your writing.
3. Where possible, include your name in your site’s hyperlinks. This is the link text, not necessarily the link url itself. So, for example, instead of writing ‘contact me’ on your personal site, you can say ‘contact *your name*’. Again, this will get picked up by the search engines.
4. Add your name to the image alt tags you put on your site or blog. Whenever you place images on your site, there will be an option to incorporate ‘alt tags‘ into the image code. Keywords placed here should benefit your sites getting listed in results that match your name as a search term.
5. Contribute any new updates you might have to news portal sites that are suited to your industry (such as the Little Chimp Society), as well as on the growing number of sites that serve to promote the work of creatives, like Society6 for art or Last.fm for music. Make sure you incorporate your name into the posts or updates you provide, and use your name as your username if you are required to register to any site.
6. Sign up to social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. By simply setting up an account with these sites, your profile and name will get indexed well in search engines. The next step would be in uploading work to the social media platform, such as illustrations through Facebook photo albums, or providing a link to your portfolio through the site.
7. Send out a press release on something fairly major you have worked on or updated, such as a site re-design, and put your name in as a keyword (for example in the subject, main body and link at the end). You can submit your press release to multiple sites, which you can speed up through press release submission sites. When people click the link in the search results, having seen your name, they will be taken to the press release, which demonstrates your writing skills, adds credibility to you and provides solid information. This is also a very good way of driving traffic to your sites.
8. Use your name when you comment on blogs. As well as incorporating it into the comment text, you can use your name for the link that you provide to your site.
9. Write and submit an article and drop your name in. Submit an article that relates to your work for example and link it back to your site. Incorporate your name in the copy and make sure you submit to several of the popular article submission sites.
10. Incorporate your name into the text on forum message boards and discussions. Again, you can use your name as your user name, and it will tend to be indexed well in the search engines. Someone clicking on the link with your name highlighted in the search results will be taken to your discussions on these forums and hopefully see how and what you write (and hopefully it’s half good!).
11. Use your name as the author on blog posts. When writing blog posts, make sure that the author tag (usually under the post title) is active, and that your name is listed as the author. This will get picked up by search engines and take people straight to the blog post.
What are some other ways to get your name on the first page of Google people have come across?