A milestone in personal branding: Google name listing

When I started this blog, I was on the free service WordPress.com.  Not knowing anything about blogging other than people write stuff about themselves, and few if any people actually care enough to read, I wasn’t going to spend any money on this hobby!  But I did think I had something to say (first post), and a few friends encouraged me to start writing, if only to explain to them what an Executive MBA was and how I could be attending Duke University from Philadelphia.

The funny thing about WordPress.com is, because you are on a free service, it’s actually easier for people to find you and read!  So I started getting a few dozen page views a day, with the majority of the traffic starting to pick up when I criticized the Harvard Business School and when I started regularly commenting on other people’s blogs.  Then it hit me…why are very few people amazingly successful at blogging, and why are most people not read at all?

So I moved to a self-hosted WordPress blog, and started with the amazing Cutline theme as my baseline format.  Then I learned about PHP, Javascript, CSS, RSS, Google Analytics, Google AdSense, Twitter, Facebook promotion, Feedburner, SEO, embedding YouTube videos, LinkedIn, added more authors…anything I could do to increase the visibility of this blog and make it more “professional”.  Of course, being affiliated through the Fuqua School of Business didn’t hurt in terms of starting to become listed in search engines.

Several months have now passed…I continue to work at the same major financial services firm and have started the Duke MBA.  I’ve met a bunch of people, my professional network has expanded a bunch, some Fuqua professors know me, I’ve had conference calls with prospective students, helped a few others as an essay reader….and then it hit me:  What happens if I don’t type “Duke MBA” or “Leader of Consequence” or the like into Google, and rather just typed my name?  I’ve done it in the past when looking for a job, but the results were always sparse and were intermingled with “switch”.

Today I found out:  my name is an auto-suggest in Google and Yahoo if you type “Randy Zw”.  Another variation of the auto-suggest adds the word “blog” to the end of my name.  Sweet.

Now you may be saying, “Who cares, egomaniac?”  The reason I care is that I’m the only Randy Zwitch in the world, so seems like it shouldn’t have taken so long to get indexed!  But really, the reason why this excites me is because this is one of the things we’re all trying to accomplish as part of the Duke MBA:  building a successful career and personal brand, leveraging the Fuqua good name.  However, with this realization about the Google and Yahoo listings now has me thinking about what else I should be doing, and what I may be doing wrong.

I found this article today, which has a bunch of tips, but since I was at work when I had this Google/Yahoo epiphany I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly digest it yet.  But in the meantime, if any of you out there have any suggestions about what you are doing to manage your online presence, I’d love to hear them!

(p.s.  By now I’m sure everyone has noticed that there are tons of ads on this blog.  I’m doing this for additional research into the economics of digital marketing.  I am not currently one of the “amazingly successful” bloggers I reference above!  This blog costs me about $0.18 per day to run, and I’ve made $0.11 TOTAL from advertising.  Don’t need a course in Financial Accounting to figure that one out!)


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3 comments to A milestone in personal branding: Google name listing

  • Ian Comandao

    if i start clicking on links, does that make us… i mean, you more money?

  • In theory, yes…but don’t start clicking on links for the hell of it. I’m actually being serious about researching how digital advertising works.

    One thing I’ve learned thus far is that the only people making money from Google AdSense is Google! My current payment rate is $0.08 per 1000 views, not sure what the click payment rate is yet. But unless it’s dramatically higher, it seems that all ads do is clutter the layout and make the readers angry…

    This blog gets several thousand views per month, depending on who writes what and how often. I’d need to increase my readership 10x or so to make $1/month in revenue.

    • So I started clicking on ads, for the heck of it. I was getting $0.08 per 1000 impressions, but I appear to be getting nearly $1 per click-through, assuming I visit multiple pages.

      Now I see why Google specifies clicking your own ads will get you banned, as well as incenting people to click.

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