6 Strategies for Better Online Visibility

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By Hannah Morgan

When people search for your name online, what will they find? Be proactive in ensuring your future hiring manager finds the right information.

These six strategies will boost your online visibility and protect against unwanted search results:

Create awesome, authentic profiles. Some experts recommend writing your profiles in the third person, because it sounds more professional and credible. The other school of thought is to write your profiles in the first person to sound genuine and more personal. Whichever you choose, be sure you tell your story. Your story should explain, in easy-to-understand terms, what problems you are good at solving, who benefits and why this is important to you. You may also choose to include a personal factoid or memorable data point to set yourself apart.Besides the usual social networks, you can build profiles on personal landing-page sites, such as About.me, Branded.me, Visualcv.com or Re.vu. (And there are many more.)

Construct a rock-solid LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile is more than your résumé – it's your professional portfolio. Include information to show and tell your notable achievements. For improved visibility, write a compelling headline, add a professional headshot, write an interesting summary, describe your responsibilities and accomplishments under each job and include professionally relevant activities.

Build a blog. One way to help people understand what you're good at and what's important to you is to write about it. You can document your own stories as case studies, expand upon or add your opinions on thought-provoking articles others have written or highlight industry news.

LinkedIn has a blogging platform you can take advantage of. Your posts will automatically ping your connections on LinkedIn for immediate attention. Or you can create a personal website and blog using WordPress, which has a powerful impact on search results if you use your name as the site's URL. Medium is a relatively new blogging platform founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone. All you need to begin writing is a Twitter or Facebook account.

Summarize what you share. If you're savvy on social media, then you know you should be sharing news on industry trends as status updates on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or any other network of choice. Wouldn't it be nice to have a summary of the newsworthy articles, all in one place?

Content aggregators collect and compile the online content you share across different platforms. This means that if you shared one article on LinkedIn and another on Facebook and also found a motivating pin on Pinterest, you can tell Paper.li, RebelMouse, or Scoop.it to add it to your profile.

Create a digitally dynamic Google Plus profile. If you have a Gmail account, you already have a Google Plus profile. Now would be a good time to build it out. Take a few minutes to completely fill in your profile's sections, which include your introduction, occupation, employment and links to other profiles. Consider your profile one-stop shopping for someone wanting to know more about you and where you can be found online.

Your Google Plus links to other social networks and profiles and also allows you to share links to blog posts and online articles you want people to see. In fact, the profile information you add is very similar to what is in your LinkedIn profile. A dynamic Google Plus profile will also help improve search results for your name.

Optimize your online presence. Check and see what appears on the first page of search results today. Then, about 30 days after you've made some of the changes above, check the results again. It takes some time for the search engines to recalculate results, but what you should see are better results on the first page.

Remember: People will be searching for your name when you are submitting your résumé for jobs, so be sure you use the exact same name across all the social platforms you create.

Also keep in mind that it isn't enough to build these pages and cross your fingers. Sharing your profile with your network and updating your status will help improve your results. This may sound like a lot of work, but when you consider how important your online reputation is, investing just five minutes a day is well worth it for your career.

Hannah Morgan writes and speaks on career topics and job search trends on her blog Career Sherpa. She co-authored "Social Networking for Business Success," and has developed and delivered programs to help job seekers understand how to look for work better.
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