I’ve given talks about personal branding, and always encourage business owners to make sure they optimize their name for the search engines, as much as their business itself. After all, people do business with the person, not the company.
I like to tell people, “People buy into you before they buy from you.”
As someone who is in competition with another much more famous Tom Petty, I’ve worked hard to brand myself on the search engines as “Thomas Petty”. Unfortunately for me, there’s another famous person, Dr. Thomas L. Petty, a pioneering pulmonologist who recently passed away. He too has been in the news because of the work he’s done in his medical specialty.
When I saw that About.me was inviting people to claim their own name, I jumped on and grabbed my own name before the “other” Tom Petty got it. Now that I have my own Tom Petty profile, I wanted to see if I could get it to show up on the search engines for some of my personal branding terms.
About.me Has a Simple Interface
When you claim your name on About.me, they only give you a few things you can do. You’re basically creating a simple one-page profile that brands it as you. The first thing I did was created a background image for the page, but that doesn’t help with the search engines.
Next, you have to fill out some information about yourself, like name, headline and biography.
After looking at the html that the page generates for you, I discovered the following:
The two name fields become your Title tag in the page code. If you’ve done any SEO work at all, you’ll know that the Title tag is probably one of the most important factors for getting listed on the search engines like Google.
So I decided to manipulate things a little bit. They give you two boxes, presumably for First and Last name (even though they aren’t labelled as such). So I put my full branded name in the first box, and a key phrase, “SEO Consultant” in the second box.
Those same two boxes also automatically code my name as an <h1> tag or primary header tag for the page. The <h1> is also important from the search engines’ perspective.
Next, the “Headline” gets turned into an <h2> tag directly below your name. This too can be an important factor for the search engines, so I put in a couple of my key words there too.
Finally, the first 157 characters of your biography get coded into the Description META tag. So doing a little wordsmithing using a text editor (I love Textpad), I got it down to where it fit in the Description tag.
The Description tag isn’t a factor in the search engine ranking, but it is an opportunity to market to people who see the listing in Google.
After waiting for a few weeks for Google to pick up the changes, it appears that a little bit of effort has paid off. Doing a search for things like “livermore ca seo consulting” gets my About.me page showing up in position #2.
Pretty cool for free and a little fiddling around. Does it get much traffic? Absolutely not, but it’s one more notch in my personal branding efforts, and possibly a link or two back to my website.
Yahoo! and Bing have yet to index the page, so I will have to wait a little longer to see if it’s helping there.
I’d be curious to see how you implement these ideas and what your About.me page looks like, so post a link in teh comments below.
Thomas Petty is a Certified Internet Consultant at his consulting company, WSI Smart Solutions, and he works with businesses who are struggling to get new clients through the Internet. He also teaches beginning, advanced and master-level SEO classes at the Bay Area Search Engine Academy.