Have you Googled (or Binged) yourself lately? Go ahead. Do it. You might be surprised by what you find. Here’s the not-so-dirty little secret about the Internet: there’s always room to grow your visibility and reach. No matter what you do or how common you believe yourself to be, you have within you the power to reach a vast audience.
You won’t go from invisible to ubiquitous overnight, if it ever happens. But you can begin — today — the process of claiming the high-authority domains that provide free or cheap organic exposure. Start with these five platforms, many or all of which are likely to rank on the first or second search results page for search terms associated with your personal or business name. If you’re already on some, that’s great — less work for you and your team.
Of all the properties on this list, you’re most likely to have an existing LinkedIn listing. That’s better than nothing, but please don’t let it be the end of your story. A LinkedIn profile is a terrible thing to waste.
Just ask famed corporate business person executive Jack Welch, who’s living his best LinkedIn life years after stepping down from pole position at General Electric. It’s not often that someone’s brand peaks after they’ve all but retired from public life, but Welch is giving the conventional wisdom a run for its money.
Wikipedia is a bit of a special case, since its rules around “notability” disadvantage early-career strivers. All is not lost, though: once you’ve gotten a few wins under your belt, turn up an entry and see what happens. The entry for film producer David Mimran is a great illustration of the medium’s potential: a no-nonsense accounting that implicitly lends credibility and gravity to the subject.
Yelp is one of the largest directories on the web. Many restaurants, entertainment companies and service based businesses rely on this web listing for new customers daily. Yelp’s rating system offers users insights about the business. If your business receives several positive ratings on Yelp, it could help grow your customer base. Additionally, as you get more activity on your profile, it could help your local SEO techniques as well.
Yep, this is what happened to the Yellow Pages. While it’s not ideal for private citizens, YP.com is ideal for both small, local businesses and independent professionals seeking new leads and greater exposure. If you own a popular coffeehouse chain, you will be grateful for what amounts to a free phone book listing for each of your dozen-plus locations.
If you run a local business or professional practice, your Bing Places listing already exists, just waiting for you to claim it and make it your own. Here’s how to do that, in three easy steps:
- Claim or create your listing, using the bulk upload tool if you have more than one location
- Flesh out your profile with information Bing doesn’t already have on hand
- Verify the listing by picking up your PIN at a business address you control
Up Your Directory Game Today
The nice thing about playing the web directory game: it really doesn’t take much effort. Some well-worn directories, including Bing Places, may require little more than a pro forma “claim” on your end. Once you prove you are who you say you are, you’re good to go. Other directories might ask for a bit more effort, but rarely will you find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to devote more than an hour or two to a particular platform. There’s really no excuse not to start moving toward a bigger, better directory game today. The upside is clear.