4 Things You Have to Do to Get Google to Show Your Personal Website

showupgoogleresultsA lot of authors, artists, and bands are creating their own websites these days, only to find that… whoa… Google isn’t showing their page.

I’ve been blessed and cursed with a one-of-a-kind name, so getting BlaiseLucey.com to the top of Google wasn’t that difficult. I also basically blog for a living, so that helps.

The truth is that it can be nearly impossible to get your name to the top of Google if you’re John Smith, instead of Blaise Lucey. Just remember that the fans searching for you know that, too, and they’re likely to give you the benefit of a third word (“John Smith author” or “John Smith Band Boston”).

Here are the four things you have to do to get your personal website to show up in Google:

1. Use the phrase people will search for

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about keywords and website infrastructure.

  • Categories can go a long way in telling Google what your Page is about. If you’re using WordPress, make a “book” category or a “Boston bands” category and you’ll shoot to the top of the ratings, as I discovered when I helped my friend get his band to the top of Google.
  • Keywords are critical for SEO. Make sure to use phrases that will help Google recognize what your Page is about: i.e. “I’m an author” or “John Smith, an author from…” or just talk about “my next novel is…”
  • Inbound links are links that direct people deeper into your website. If you have the phrase “my novel,” link to another page about the novel itself. I do this whenever I mention another blog post, like I just did in the “Categories” section.

2. Make a very careful “About” page

When it comes to website infrastructure, the “About” page is the most important page on your website. If you don’t have one, then your ranking is really, really going to suffer.

There’s a trend among artists to have a pretentious or vague “About” page so they can fully express their disinterest in what people think of their work.

Don’t do this. You’re only hurting yourself.

An “About” page should have all the keywords I mentioned above and describe what you do, who you are, and anything else you want people to find. Check out mine as an example.

3. Start a blog

Google has one objective when people use it for searching: finding the most relevant, recent content.

Recent content isn’t just a webpage that was made recently. It’s a webpage that has frequent updates that are talking about the very topic people are searching for in connection to your personal site.

If you write a lot about neuroscience, for example, start a blog about neuroscience. Soon enough, if people search “John Smith neuroscience,” they’ll get your blog and therefore your personal website… not obscure student records or just your LinkedIn profile.

The blog topics should consist of what key phrases people are typing into Google to find you (i.e. “John Smith consciousness,” “John Smith neuroscience writing,” etc.)

4. Get social

More than ever, Google is weighing social media into the equation. For example, if you look up “Blaise Lucey author,” you get LinkedIn first and foremost.

Since my LinkedIn profile is public, it’s kind of an anvil on search results. Likewise, Google’s new AuthorRank program is going to have a huge impact on search.

That’s why you should consider at least tinkering with Google+. I wrote a blog post about how you can set up Google Authorship on WordPress and why it’s important, if you’re interested.

By the way, that key phrase will really help boost that post in rankings, because I’m using an inbound link of a key search phrase.

This can be a long road, but it probably won’t be

Personal websites aren’t the hot properties that most other things on the web are. You’re not competing for business interests, so as long as you create a detailed, personal website, it will show up on Google — just be patient, any changes can take a day or two to register.

If you have a really, really common last name, then you’ll have to rely on other identifiers or a middle initial.

If you rely on a middle initial, make sure to use that a lot in your “About” information, too, and create that as your online presence everywhere else: blog posts, book excerpts, paper extracts, social media networks.

I wouldn’t recommend that approach. Instead, just gear your website’s content to what people will be searching about you in the first place.

The breakdown

1. Getting your personal page to show up on Google isn’t hard unless you have an exceedingly common name or you’re competing with a celebrity.

2. Clearly specify what your page is about and that will help Google locate you when people type in those third-word identifiers.

3. Third word identifiers are keys to getting your page to show up in search results: location, hobby, interest, work. You decide what people are looking for on Google when they type in your information, then think about the phrases and keywords associated with that.

Photo Credit: rappensuncle via Compfight cc

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