So, now you've Created an Online Profile and Claimed Your Name Online. You've been proactive in Securing your Online Profile, and you're reading to start building "page rank," whatever that is, right? Well, let's talk about what page rank is, and why you need it.
Have you ever Googled Yourself? Googled a prospective business partner? A prospective date? Did it influence your decision about proceeding with the prospective professional or personal relationship? For many people, it can make a difference, so ideally, you want to be sure that the information that shows up on the first couple of pages of a Google search (These are called "SERP's" - Search Engine Results Pages) under your name is positive or neutral information about you. If nothing shows up about you under your name, you're starting from scratch, and you'll need to work quickly to develop an online presence.
Start a Blog or Website Under your Name
The easiest way to do this is to purchase your own domain name, and publish a website or blog. This can be done using a professional service like WebRevelation, or using any number of free online services if you have some computer skills. You will want to use the techniques below to build your network, and get people to begin to read your blog, and link to you. There is a whole profession devoted to building page rank and driving traffic to a blog, so we aren't going to pretend to cover this in one blog post. Below are just the basics of getting started. If you are starting from scratch, you will see results very quickly by following one or more of these suggestions.
Get Published in your Niche
Ft. Hard Knox published a study last year showing which types of sites tend to rank highest in a Google profile under a person's name. In that study, it was found that the sites that ranked highest were "niche/industry media." These are sites that are popular in their own industries. So, if you can possibly get yourself published or mentioned on a website or blog that already has high page rank in the industry you want to become popular in - you'll be a step ahead in this process.
Use Video Sites
Video sites rank very high on Google, so be sure to sign up with a user ID. You don't necessarily need to video yourself, unless you have truly video-worthy skills. You can use these sites by voting and commenting on the videos of others. On YouTube (the biggest of these sites - owned by Google) you can also start your own channel, and add your favorite videos from elsewhere on the site. This is an easy and fun way to build page rank, and establish an online presence.
Use Wiki's and Info-sharing Sites
Wikis like Wikipedia and information-sharing sites like Answers.com, rank very high on Google, so providing useful information on these sites can be very helpful to your page rank if the information is in your name.
Review Books and Movies
If you like to read or watch movies, another excellent way to quickly add positive information to the SERP's is to discuss and review books on high-ranking book sites like Amazon.com and MetaCafe.com
Participate on Social Networking Sites
As we discussed in the Claim Your Name post a couple of days ago, I recommend at least Facebook, Twitter, Linked-IN, Ning, FriendFeed, and YouTube. These rank very high in the search engines, and give you the ability to build a network. If you have a blog, be sure to occassionally link back to your blog from these sites, to help drive traffic to your blog, and encourage the members of your network to link to your quality, original content.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.