Go Google Yourself

Google’s suggested search options for “Sonny Cohen.” Only one is me and it is not “insolvency.” LOL

I’m working with a group of business professionals to help each of them establish his and her brand online. It seemed natural to me to begin the process by doing a simple search on the search engines to see what sites, if any, I hasten to add, appeared prominently. But what seems natural to me seemed almost surreal to my clients. Yet their response to the results ranged from engaged to alarmed. Had they never done this before? Really? Well, that’s why I’m writing this.

One professional was prominently listed as a partner in a firm – except not the one she is currently with. Another found his status rating in an unfamiliar directory inadequate and his listing inaccurate. And for most there was no particular problem except one: they had almost no presence on the Internet except in their firm bio and LinkedIn. And often the LinkedIn bio linked to a list of the other 12 people having the same name.

So you’re going to search for your name now, right?

Some tips to help you in this search would be to search your name with quotes around it and search variations of your name with quotes such as adding your middle name or initial, etc. Satisfy your paranoia and add unfriendly suffixes to your name search like “sucks”, “arrested” and other bad deeds of your choice. You might as well find what is obvious.

And if Google is your search tool of choice, make it a point to repeat your search with Bing. I won’t share any spoilers so you can enjoy the hunt on your own. But Bing is different, has its own search algorithm and displays its search results in a creative manner.

Based on what you discover, there are a lot of options for you to take to help you shape your digital brand. That’s a post or three for another day. But take the first step and do your own assessment. Go ahead. Google yourself. You won’t go blind.

Do You Do SEO?

SEO (search engine optimization) acronym explained with old typewriter keys on a digital tablet

The inevitable question, “Do you do SEO?”

“Yes.” I answer tentatively.

The do-you-do-SEO question is a heavily laden cargo ship launched years ago in the even more primitive era of the Internet. The bounty it carries is comprised of great expectations, misunderstandings and broken promises freighted by a crew of charlatans. Now there is an indictment!

If you think SEO, more accurately known as search engine optimization, is something your business needs, take a moment to consider the following:

Marry Your SEO

SEO is not a one-night stand. Sure, there are some pretty simple quick fixes. But optimization is an ongoing process that can go on, well, till death do us part.

Return on Investment

An SEO campaign will demand a budget. Therefore, the best – and perhaps only – SEO initiative that should be undertaken requires a clearly identifiable metric of performance success. Usually this performance is based on some kind of action such as creating a lead, a download or a sale. What it is not measured by is the prominence of a specific keyword phrase. This metric of success must be applied against the cost of the entire effort to produce a Cost Per Action.

Content is (sigh) King

Look, if you want to be found, you’ve got to offer something for which people are looking. Read that again. And what are people looking for? Answers. Answers to their problem. They are not looking for your hyperbolic marketing speak. They are not searching for your awards. They want good content in the form of text, images, videos and audio. Yes, all of these media. And new stuff regularly.

Social Media Helps

Social media is content. Sometimes (usually?) it is vacuous cat memes and moody slogans. But done right, social media is a well-stocked river of catch and release (to others) content. An effective SEO campaign includes a vibrant social media initiative. They go hand in hand.

Your Website Sucks

Maybe yes. Maybe no. But chances are there will be changes made to your website so that your valuable content can be properly digested by the Great Google, its Court of affiliates and the BingYahooAOL search engine challengers. Some of this is content. Some of it is technology configurations.

If you are interested in marketing your business on the Internet, I can help. Do I do SEO? Yes, maybe. The real question is, “Do you know what you’re looking to accomplish?”