Getting noticed on the internet is tough, especially for a guy like me. ??John Valentine is a common name, and as of last month any articles mentioning my name or websites including my bio were buried amongst the 3,080,000 Google results. ??John Valentine is a prominent Utah Senator, a Hawaiian musician, and a former baseball player for the Boston Red Sox (after dropping the ‘e’).
John Valentine is also a young lawyer/entrepreneur living near Boston who works for a burgeoning startup. ??At 25, with only one year of ‘real world’ experience under my belt, my presence was no where to be found on Google. ??Sure, I could type in “John Valentine” + SCVNGR and I would find my bio on SCVNGR’s website along with a ton of Spanish blog posts from my keynote speech at NokiaTalk this past May. ??Unfortunately, few Google searchers would go know that precise search strategy when seeking me out.
People don’t search beyond Google Page One (GPO). ??Gary Harvey notes that “the clickthrough rate for listings with #11 rank is 0.66%…even if you are at the top of Page 2 of Google results, less than 1% of your prospects will even click through to your site.”??http://bit.ly/jzVB5. ??No matter who you are, there are tangible benefits to getting on Page 1 of Google. ??When I Google search a colleague or prospective client, I have an expectation that I’ll find them on the first page. ??If they don’t have a presence on Page 1, the unconscious begins to think that they may not be as popular/powerful/influential than I had previously assumed.
One day last month I Googled??myself only to see Utah Senator John Valentine’s stoic expression staring into space. ??
He looked so satisfied with himself and his status at the pinnacle of the John Valentine??hierarchy. ??Enough! ??It was time to give revered Hawaiian musician Johnny Valentine and the John Valentine Real Estate Team a little run for their money.
Step 1 – LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the first stop for any professional and aspiring Google-climber to get a foothold. ??Because of LinkedIn’s great popularity and status as the 29th most visited website in the world, the LinkedIn directory search of most names is found on GPO. ??If you are familiar with these directories, profiles with the most ‘connections’ rise to the top. ??As a young professional, I had amassed a steady following of about 275 or so users. ??Another John Valentine, the National Director of Systems Integration at TW Telecom, had hair over 300 connections. ??On an uncanny Saturday afternoon, it would all change for poor Director Valentine. ??The conferences I had attended the last 9 months provided a wealth of prospective connections…a stack of hundreds of business cards with names and email addresses. ??In one hour I had requested about 400??acquaintances??to connect on LinkedIn. ??Within a week, I hit the magical 500+ mark, and all other John Valentines were left in my dust. ??I then spent an hour filling in my profile and explaining in great detail my position and function at work. ??Google wants to see consistency in language and keywords ??BOOM!
Step 2 – Twitter
I hated Twitter. ??Thought it had very little utility in my life. ??Then I started following what others said about my company on search.twitter.com. ??Then a bunch of my colleagues got Twitter accounts and clamored for me to join in the Twitters. ??I never thought the day would come when I would give in. ??My quest to hit the elusive GPO was the trigger. ??I belabored the process of finding a great Twitter handle, almost to the point that I almost picked something generic. ??That would have likely been my downfall. ??I was laying in bed drifting in and out of sleep when it came to me: JohnnyStartup. ??Easy to remember, fun to throw out into the ether, indicative of my lifestyle, and cool. ??Persona…check! ??As I work with cities, I proceeded to ‘follow’ 800 CVBs from around the world so I could keep my finger on the pulse of the travel and tourism industry. ??I filled out the ‘follow’ roster with a bunch of my friends that I discovered through Google contacts. ??What happened next was unexpected. ??People started to ‘follow’ me! ??More links = more authority. ??After my base had been set, I started to tweet about 3-4 times a day. ??I usually like to add in 1 or 2 fun lines, a couple about news from my company, and a couple messages to members of the??Twitter-sphere. ??That worked, and after 3 weeks JohnnyStartup’s Twitter page was ranked #10 on GPO. ??BOOM!
Step 3 – Google Profile
The Google Profile feels like cheating. ??It just does. ??I simply copied and pasted my LinkedIn biography into my Google profile, and within 2 weeks I was #1 on Google profile results for my name. ??Google is trying to promote these, and thus Google Profiles litter the bottom of GPO. ??Get there. ??It’s not that hard.
Step 4 – Facebook
Facebook is a bit tricky, especially because I don’t want a ton of people looking at my full Facebook profile. ??Facebook is, however, an incredible tool to make your way to the top. ??I hide my full profile from everyone but my friends, and added all my professional information at the bottom. ??Done deal.
Step 5 – Blogging
Any GPOer worth his salt is definitely going to have a blog extolling with his/her commentary. ??I decided to maintain consistency and used Posterous to start JohnnyStartup.com. ??As you can see I’ve only written a few posts, but it definitely helps create your brand. ??I’m trying to publish interesting perspectives from the creative side of my brain (is anybody in there?). ??I attended Real Estate Connect San Francisco this week, and on two separate??occasions my self-introduction was met with, “are you JohnnyStartup?” ??That’s special.??
Step 6 – Link it all together
The last step is to link all five of these websites to each other. ??Within 4 weeks, I had hit GPO. ??Not #1 overal, but GPO. ??I now feel like I matter…at least to Google. ??Hi world!