As a practical way of learning how our online activity can affect our personal brand, our CAP 105 class created BrandYourself accounts at the beginning of the semester. Though I already knew that our online activity can haunt us forever, the experience of monitoring my search results with BrandYourself has made painfully clear how hard it can be to get rid of information you don’t want associated with your name.
It’s not that there’s anything incriminating out there for me to worry about; rather, a few of my search results were websites that I had submitted writing to years ago, which I have no power to take down. Also, my Vine account shows up in my results, as does a mirror site that scraped my content (yay!). These websites just don’t represent me anymore, but they still appear when someone searches my name online. Bummer.
When I created my account in September, I was somewhat surprised to find my search result score was a C:
Throughout the semester, the score improved slightly to a C+, then to a B-. I think it may have actually dropped again to a C before I raised it back to a B-, which is my current score at the end of the semester.
Based on my personal online weaknesses that I’ve learned using BrandYourself, here are five ways I can improve my online presence and thereby improve my personal brand:
1. Build my own blog
Developing my voice and brand through my own blog is quite possibly the best way I can express and have control over my personal brand online. By learning more about SEO and incorporating keywords into my posts, and by linking to other sites when applicable, I can help my blog become my #1 relevant search result.
2. Write for other blogs
If I submit content to be published on websites that align with my personal brand, my name will be connected with information that more closely represents my personal brand. This will create more relevant search results for my name, and will also help bury search results that don’t apply to me or that I don’t want to be among my top results.
3. Boost my LinkedIn profile
My LinkedIn profile is in need of updating, and through BrandYourself, I’ve learned there are ways to make my profile more search-friendly. This includes becoming more active on LinkedIn by posting status updates and making regular updates to my profile.
5. Create a BrandYourself profile
Creating a professional BrandYourself profile will create one more positive search result that accurately represents my personal brand.
5. Continue using BrandYourself
While I am not inclined to pay for extra services with BrandYourself at this time, I may in the future. I’ve found it to be a very valuable tool. For now, I will continue using the features available for free to monitor my search results and find ways to improve them.
BrandYourself is a great tool for monitoring, improving, and maintaining how we are represented online. Keeping up with it all takes some work! However, maintaining your personal brand is important work that translates into having a professional and credible reputation, both online and offline.