Google yourself: Tips for your search engine reputation

Recent stories have highlighted the importance of your Google reputation. There is no doubt that patients and potential employers will Google you as an initial screen. It is to your benefit to ensure that favorable stories come up when your name is entered as a search term.

Here are some basic tips to help take control of your name’s Google search.

Start a blog
A double-edged sword. Of course, there are some who blog anonymously, and don’t want their name associated with their blog. However, Google places an emphasis in their search rankings on regularly updated blogs. Starting a blog associated with your name is an easy way to take control for your name’s Google search. For instance, this blog comes up as the first search result when my name is Googled.

Keywords in blog entry titles
Similarly, Google places emphasis on the titles of blog entries. If you want to be associated with specific topics, try incorporating keywords into the titles of the blog entry. In Blogger, the title is incorporated in the file name of the page, which also helps with the search engine rankings. Of course, this would stifle some creative titles, but if you’re serious about increasing Google exposure, it’s a trade-off.

For instance, this blog is found on the first page for Google searches on recently discussed topics like defensive medicine, Anna Pou, Michael Moore’s Sicko, COURAGE trial, and Elizabeth Edwards breast cancer.

Get blogged
It may be difficult to be mentioned in a publication. If you have that opportunity, it can only help. However, it is much easier to be interviewed on a blog or have a blog write about you. For instance, Dr. Brent James, a patient safety advocate, was interviewed by Matthew Holt on his blog. A Google search for “Brent James” finds that interview on the second page of search results.

Ves Dimov at Clinical Cases had this article written about him, which shows up prominently when his name is Googled.

A corollary of this tip is beware who you piss off. Although it is easy for bloggers to build up your Google reputation on a search page, they can just as easily bring it down. A negative blog post written about you by prominent bloggers will also show up high on your Google name search.

Optimize your blog template
A more advanced tip. If you run a blog, you owe it to yourself to have a template that is search engine friendly. There are many sites that give tips to optimizing your page for SEO. However, if you are serious about maximizing your Google exposure, I suggest having a professional rewrite your template with that goal in mind. I recommend the folks over at Blogging Expertise.


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