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3 Must-Take Steps to Brand Search Results for Your Name



Long passed the days when we had to wonder why we should care about search results for our (brand) names. Google reputation management is a well-known phrase to anyone making a living online. Hence, you are most likely to know that in order to maintain stable presence in branded search results, one should be working continuously.

If you are blogging a lot and care about your brand name and what people see when they are searching Google for your name, here are exactly three things you need to do once to improve your Google search results branding:

1. Verify the Authorship of Your Articles

A few months ago Google got really serious about giving more credit to great content authors. As a result, you can see the author’s headshot right within relevant search results.

Verify authorship

Since then, claiming your content authorship has been step #1 in branding your search results. Luckily, following the community feedback, Google has made that a fairly simple task:

1. "Reciprocal" Links Method

This method is about interlinking your Google Plus profile with your articles:

  • Your articles & Your author page both link to your Google Plus profile
  • Your Google Profile Links back to your Author page.

Step 1:

Link your author page to your Google Plus profile.

This tool will help you generate a pretty button for that.

Alternatively, you can text-link using rel=author added right to end of the profile URL address:

<a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

Step 2:

Link your Google Plus Profile back to your Author’s pages from within "Contributing to" section.

Contributing to

This tool will help identify if you have done everything right. This is what you should see after step 1 and step 2 are both passed:

Rich snippets conformation

Hard to remember? Here’s an easy checklist for you:

Link to: From Rel=
Your Google Plus Profile Each of your articles + your author page "author" Link generator
Your Author Page Your Google Plus profile "contributor-to" Verification

2. eMail-Based Method

If you contribute in many places and don’t feel like linking to your Google Plus profile, consider an email verification process.

  • Step 1: Create a separate email account to feature on all your guest posts (this can be name@yourdomain.com or anything. Mind that there is likely to be much junk mail after you publicize your address on your articles)
  • Step 2: Add your email address to your Google Plus profile
  • Step 3: Link to that email address whenever you guest post.
  • Step 4: Link to all domains you are contributing to in "Contributing to" section of your Google Plus Profile (same section as in the first method)

How to add a new email address to your Google Plus profile? It’s very easy: in "editing" mode scroll down a bit and click on a "Work" section. Select "email" from the drop-down and add your email address you want to verify (note that you’ll need to click a link inside the email sent to that email address for verification purposes):

Verify email

2. Create a Master Feed of Your Contributions

If you have built some popularity, you are most likely to be frequently invited to guest post. Or you contribute to a few blogs, or you maintain a (paid) columns in a number of online publications…

In all the above cases, it’s a very wise idea to aggregate all your content in one RSS feed to promote all your contributions on auto-pilot and to showcase your work around the web.

I have done a very detailed post on creating your master RSS feed for all your contributor accounts. In short, here’s a quick to-do list on creating the feed as well as sharing it on the web:

STEPS HOW
Step 1: Identify your author RSS feeds In many cases, you can find your author RSS feed here: http://www.blogdomain.com/author/author-name/feed/ Yahoo! Pipes "Fetch Feed" tool
Step 2: Create Feeds where you don’t have one Identify repetitive HTML mark-up of your author pages to extract links to your individual posts and to create an RSS feed of your author page Feed43 (optionally, premium)
Step 3: Combine all your RSS feeds in one Create one master feed of all your author RSS feeds by uniting them in one Yahoo! Pipes ("Fetch feed", "Truncate", "Union" & "Sort by" modules). Here’s my pipe, feel free to clone it!
RSSMix (easier but less customized)
Step 4: Publicize your master RSS feed on your blog (blogs) You can share your master feed in a WordPress widget (WordPress has a default widget for that) or embed in a page. RSS include (paid)
RSS Just Better WordPress plugin (free)

You are done! Now, your guest posts and contributions are shared on an autopilot (which means more social shares, exposure, links and consequently better rankings for all your articles around the web!). Here’s my master feed embed in a page that serves as my guest post portfolio (as an example):

Guest post master feed

3. Claim Your Brand Name in Major Social Networks

Claim usernames

While this one is absolutely obvious, plenty of people are really too late to claim their brand names across social networks. While Google Plus is attempting to kill nicknames, we still have other huge players we can’t ignore.

Here’s another quick to-do for you (together with important notes to remember):

Social Network What to Claim What to Remember
Twitter Username (the one you specify when registering an account or logging in) Twitter TOS don’t allow users to hold usernames just in order to claim them. You may want to keep it (at least somewhat active) and update it now and then
Facebook Username (in the URL path): There can be a lot of Ann Smarties on Facebook but only one is able to have facebook.com/annsmarty profile address. Google loves short URLs with keywords, so if you want *your* profile to be #1 for your name search, claim it now! It can’t be later changed
Fan page username (URL path) The page should have at least 25 fans; it cannot be changed as well.
Gmail Username (username@gmail.com) You are most likely to be already too late to this party
LinkedIn Username (Public profile URL path) Do not use spaces, symbols, or special characters

The best thing about all the above exercises is that you need to only do them once – so they are really worth a one-time effort!

Post image: If you don’t remember me

The views and opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of Marketing Pilgrim.

About the author

Ann Smarty is a professional blogger and guest blogger. She owns My Blog Guest, the free community that connects bloggers to guest authors. She also maintains a few other smaller start-ups (including the most recent tool for guest post and link tracking). Ann is also an SEO ninja at Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Ninjas.


  • http://www.suvaance.com/ Suvaance

    I always look for the changes in Google SERPs, but I was not updated about the author’s headshot in Google SERPs yet, thanks for updating. Google is continuously updating its result pages & it has now given authors a chance to popularize their profile.

    Google profile button is really helpful. Google has started using Google Plus in its result pages. This is just the beginning, am sure that it’ll add more features of Google Plus in its result pages in future.

  • Martin

    I use Colibri Tool, it’s the most functional software to compare Your Google position and search for competition. I highly recommend, try it-http://colibritool.com/