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Personal Branding | SEO & How To Optimize Personal Websites

Brad D
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You have a website for your company for a reason – developing a personal brand so your customers can find you online. When modern people need a product or service that they can’t find with a quick trip to the local market, they look online, more specifically –they Google it. So naturally, you want your business website to land on the front page of search results.

Your business website serves many purposes: an online brochure that’s available 24 hours a day, another method to acquire customers, an easier way to communicate your value, etc.

As many business owners know, having a website isn’t where it ends. People won’t be able to find your site without proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Achieving high search engine page ranking isn’t easy, and let’s face it, if it were we wouldn’t be here!

There’s a lot of different SEO strategies recommended by the best digital marketers –keywords, backlinks, valuable content, meta tags, niche marketing, long-tail keywords, etc.  But one approach that’s gaining traction is Personal Branding SEO.

What is personal branding SEO and how is it different from business or product branding?

As a business owner, you’re probably familiar with branding in its best-known form: Creating a unique image and name for a business or product that establishes a known and trusted presence in the market. Developing a personal brand helps establish and attract new customers to cultivate customer loyalty.

Developing a personal brand differs from business or product branding because it’s not centered around a product or service. Personal branding is the establishment of an identity, expertise, and personality. Personal branding establishes a known and trusted identity as a subject matter expert and the go-to person for knowledge within an industry.

How does developing a personal brand help with a business’s SEO?

If you’re a solopreneur, you are your business. In an organization made up of more than one person, any personal branding associated with the corporate brand adds depth and a personal connection with that company. People like to connect with people, not corporations.

Developing a personal brand benefits your SEO in a few ways:

Scalability

Since personal brands are easier to create, you can develop a personal brand around several key people in your company, not limited to your CEO. In fact, encouraging employees to create their brand within the company structure also boosts employee engagement. In addition to greater staff participation, some statistics support the value of employee personal brands.

  • Employees tend to have more followers on social media than their company. Up to 10 times more, according to HubSpot.com.
  • When your employees share their content, it gets eight times more engagement than that of the company’s shared content.
  • Brand messages shared by employees get 24 times more re-shares than those shared by the company’s social media.

Your selected personal brands should engage with the company’s target audience. By regularly posting meaningful content on your chosen outlets (company blog posts, guest posts, social media, etc.) and encouraging customer engagement, personal brands strengthen your website’s SEO. Having an army of brand ambassadors with their own audiences, all under the larger company umbrella is like having hundreds of tentacles in the field.

Customer Segmenting

Developing a personal brand on each account connected to the business name can be used to segment your audience. This makes it easier to reach a bigger audience. For example, if you have three primary lines of business, you can use a separate personal brand for each one. When brand personalities are subject matter experts, that’s ideal for authorship potential, particularly for guest blogging for larger industry authority sites.

Building Trust

Developing a personal brand builds (and in some cases, restores) corporate trust faster because people prefer personal relationships over product/corporate brands. Your people (personal brands) are the fibers that fortify your business through better consumer relations that foster business growth.

Of course, there are strong arguments for developing personal brands, whether you’re a company with several personal brands (employees) or you’re a solopreneur. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips that will help.

If you’re a company with employees developing their brands, it’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the business message. Businesses must ensure the following:

  1. Establish company-wide guidelines and make sure everyone participating is trained on what content and social media channels are acceptable.
  2. Make sure the company’s mission is understood and easily translatable by everyone producing content.
  3. Published content should be valuable to the customer. When people are getting useful information in a friendly, casual tone from a likable persona, they will come back for more.

Try these six tips for developing a personal brand for both businesses and individuals/solopreneurs.

  1. Make sure you have a separate identity from your personal social media, especially if it’s not kosher with the company’s message. This point can’t be stressed enough. If you’re one of the 75% of people who have Googled their own names, you probably know what’s out there with your name attached.

 

  1. Clean up your digital footprint. If you’re not aware of your digital footprint, start with a Google search of yourself. If you don’t like what you see, there are a few things that can be done to clean up your digital presence, which is critical to the development of your personal brand.
  • Check your Facebook privacy and security settings. The parameters around what is kept private on Facebook changes a lot, so it’s especially important that you check on these settings often. Start with changing your account privacy settings to “Friends Only.” This ensures only people who are friends with you on the network will see your profile and timeline. In addition to account privacy settings, you can further tighten up the security of your content by individual post settings. Facebook lets you choose what set or subset of people will see posts on a per-post basis. There’s a lot of new information on Facebook’s privacy setting rules, so if you’re not sure how to manage your account with maximum privacy, you may want to consult with someone who specializes in digital reputation management.
  • Personal blogs show up in searches. Edit your personal blogs if you use them to vent or have published content that could be damaging to your professional reputation.
  • Delete social media accounts that you’ve abandoned.
  • Adding content that serves your brand identity helps push some of the older stuff out of the way.
  1. Have a consistent headline to use on your profiles. A major component of personal branding SEO is your brand identity statement. This tells your audience four key things:
  • Who you are
  • What you’re passionate about
  • What you do (e.g. provide service/products)
  • What differentiates you from others in your field –in one to three sentences.

For example:

“I’m an entrepreneur, writer, philanthropist and an unshakable optimist dedicated to helping you become the person you most want to be.” –Marie Forleo

Life-coach, philanthropist, and writer Marie Forleo explains in one line who she is, what she’s passionate about, what she does, and you get a sense of how she’s different from others through her voice and imagery throughout her website.

  1. Find your brand voice and persona. These include images/colors/words used to convey your message to the world. It’s your digital image infused with your unique personality.

 

  1. Develop your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t created a LinkedIn profile yet, don’t hesitate on this one. This is THE HUB for professional networking and getting your brand out in front of people (and influencers!) that make up a tremendous pool of resources and potential business. Be sure to get your branding statement right in front, along with a professional looking photo or image that represents your brand.

 

  1. Write content that’s valuable to your (or your company’s) audience. After all, this is what people looking for your expertise are seeking out. If you’re having trouble determining what content your audience wants to read, try using tools like BuzzSumo or Reddit. You can search out topics related to your industry and see what kinds of questions people are posting.

Once you’ve developed your brand, create new social media profiles dedicated to getting your message out there. Remember, cleaning up your personal digital footprint is only the beginning. Focus on creating a whole new persona for your business with a targeted audience and purpose, which usually isn’t the same demographic you’re mingling with on personal social sites.

If you need help marketing or developing your brand, talk to our internet marketing experts at Think Big Marketing for help with your inbound marketing strategy.

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