Although I’m far from finished improving my WordPress blog/theme, I’ve also made a number of changes to this website and elsewhere online that supposedly will help my personal brand. Completely redoing this website’s taxonomy did not go unnoticed by Googlebot, but it didn’t result in any great increase in website traffic. It isn’t all about popularity online, Quality still counts. Google considers approximately 200 different factors when determining which website to rank number one for a given keyword.
I’ve written before that two of the most important success factors in self publishing online are focus and repetition. Deleting over 100 unfocussed posts and tightening up my taxonomy by repeatedly using certain keywords and phrases as tags may eventually yield positive results. I’ve also gone back and edited posts severely to try and improve their Quality. More and more Google and other ranking algorithms such as Klout give ever greater weighting to what happens outside of your domain and outside of your direct control.
Experts often write about what not to post online, but less gets written on what you should post online and which content you should be highlighting. I will probably be overhauling my LinkedIn profile to make it more of a multi-media extravaganza as that is supposedly the next big thing in personal branding. However all your social media channels and your interactions with others on those channels factor into your personal brand. Recent research by KissMetrics revealed that not only does Google factor in ‘Likes’ and ‘Retweets’ into their search engine rankings, heaviest of all they factor in ‘+1s’ on Google+. Needless to say I’ve started to actually use my Google+ account and now make a point of sharing my blog posts to that network, despite it being a ghost town, which Google is pruning, rebranding, and deemphasizing.
I plan to change how I do the social sharing buttons on this blog, switching form using the Digg Digg plugin to using
my own custom code Professional Share, but like a lot of my proposed changes it is hard to find the time. Here are two articles that influenced the recent changes to many of my social media profiles:
- Personal SEO: 14-Point Checklist to Dominate Your Personal Brand on Google
- How to Focus & Amplify Your Personal Brand
If anyone has any top personal branding tips, be sure and leave them in the comments below. How you are perceived particularly in Google search results is having a larger and larger impact on your career. Remember you are always writing for your future boss.
“Klout-orship” or the Kloutification of Bing
Sometime around October 11th 2013, Klout and Bing announced an extension to their partnership and data sharing agreement. If you use Klout and you use LinkedIn and you use Bing and you have all three synched together and you jump through one or more other little registration hoops, you can get enhanced and personalized search results for your name.
This is literally a two week old technology and likely is still being ironed out and experimented with both internally and externally by bored bloggers and SEO types. I was already most of the way towards having Kloutified Bing search results. I’m not sure if someone searching for me in Bing must be logged into Facebook and/or LinkedIn and/or Klout at the time they conduct the search. I do know over 65% of the people who end up on my website come from Google and that this disparity has held for over a decade. So if you’re not already using Klout, LinkedIn, and Facebook, I wouldn’t rush out and join any of them just for the chance of getting slightly fancier search results in the world’s second most popular English language search engine.
Below are two screen shots that I believe show off how Klout, LinkedIn, and Bing are sharing data in an attempt to lower Google’s dominance of web search and thus online marketing.
Update on the Klout-orship of Bing
I ‘binged’ myself the other day which still sounds awkward to type and say. Google has definitely become a verb, bing is the sound a machine makes, Monty Python reference fully intended. Anyway I searched for my full name in Bing even though I’m no longer looking for work and I’m pretty satisfied with who I am and what the search engines say about me online, however I was quite surprised to see Junior Dos Santos’s face next to my webpage.
Junior Dos Santos is an MMA fighter who has twice lost to Cain Velasquez, after each of these loses his face has been badly swollen yet Junior is a cheerful guy who posts pictures of himself giving the thumbs up sign and promises to train harder and be back better than ever. I ‘pinned’ one these photos to Pinterest. I also redid my homepage to include the RSS feed from Pinterest. I also already jumped through all the hoops to let Klout and Bing share information, the end result? Bing thinks I look just like Junior Dos Santos after he has been in a 25 minute long fight.
What can you do, other than hope no one uses Bing? Google Authorship got this right, the photo chosen by Google is always the one you choose yourself for your Google+ profile photo. I have a profile photo on Klout, I have a profile photo on Facebook, but Bing chose neither of those, they didn’t even choose the image I specified in the structured metadata, instead Bing chose as the photo to represent me online to anyone who searches for my name in Bing to be that of Junior Dos Santos in the hospital after his recent fight with Cain Velasquez.
Like I said, I guess you have to hope people keep using Google…
A few days later at work I used Bing to search for “Andrew Muschamp McKay” and the photo of Junior Dos Santos was gone. I’d also made sure to pin a bunch of different images to see what effect that would have. I think this feature is so new and social media so rapid that for search results for your name with all the customization bells and whistles turned on, your search results will frequently change, not sure if this is a good or bad thing when it comes to your personal brand online.
Update December 2015
I’m in China now so potential employers are probably Googling me less but Bing is not blocked in China. I still prefer Google by a country mile and am glad I have a VPN for my personal laptop and iPhone. I made some minor textual changes to this post and tweeted it because it is still an interesting observation but I decided to try searching for myself and doing a proper update. I like the results for “Muskie McKay” in Google better than “Andrew Muschamp McKay” because now Google is displaying tweets and my handle is @MuskieMcKay because @Muskie was gone but has never made a single tweet.
All the pictures Google chose are old. One is my official social media profile photo which is from 2004. The others are from when I worked at Building Opportunities with Business and I think were taken and posted by bloggers in the Downtown Eastside. Bing also chooses old photos nothing from Pinterest but Bing seems to rank Flickr much higher my Flickr handle is also MuskieMcKay. I don’t know if “Muskie” was gone or if I was encouraged to go first name + last name or in my case first name I wasn’t officially given plus last name.
I don’t know if the Klout + Bing stuff has been removed or because I’m logged out of Microsoft’s web empire. I honestly don’t know what web properties Microsoft has that I use by choice. At work we use Outlook for email so I sometimes log into Outlook.com. And because I am in China here are the Baidu search results for “Muskie McKay” no quotation marks. They have considerably less photos in the default results but I like how they include the featured image for my most recent blog post. I use WeChat probably too much but maybe I should really work on my Chinese and try using Weibo more to see what effect that has on search results.