How I Rank First on Google For My Name
As any narcissist would, I googled my name to see what I would find on the first page. The screenshot below shows what Google returned when I searched for “Jennifer Prufer” (I got the same results for “Jennifer Prüfer”) on November 14th, 2013. To get a sense of what most people would see, I turned off the default personal search option.
Although I ranked for images, my blog ranked fourth after my profiles on LinkedIn, Catalyst, and Twitter. Although it was disappointing, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to run an experiment to see how I could improve my ranking. Within a month of tweaking my blog, jpruf.com, once, I ranked first on Google and Bing. All I did took me 30 minutes total and I still rank first for my name; I did not do any link building nor social media sharing nor did I upload a lot of new content.
Here is what you see on the first page of Google now. You will see that I still rank well for images, and I also rank first and second for the results after that.
Here’s exactly what I did to improve my Google ranking:
- I changed the meta title,
although it was insignificant. I made a slight change from “jpruf: Jennifer Prufer’s personal blog” to “jpruf.com: Jennifer Prufer’s Personal Blog,” which probably didn’t do anything for the search engines.
- More importantly, I created a meta description.
I hadn’t written one before, so Google automatically pulled one up, which was “This gallery contains 1 photos. Traveling helps me stay creative. My mind becomes stagnant if my body is stagnant. After traveling, you notice that everything …” which was a snippet of the newest blog post I had written. Now, it’s “Jennifer Prufer’s online journal about anything at all, including travels, economics, religion, and literature.” I wanted to make sure the keyword I was targeting, i.e., Jennifer Prufer, appear somewhere in that description.
- I built up my about page.
I wanted another excuse to have Jennifer Prufer appear in the about page, so I added a “About Jennifer Prufer” section, and increased the word count from 90 to 360.
- Finally, I optimized the featured image in my about page.
I got rid of the picture that had “img_4339” as a file name and title. The file name for the image is now “jennifer_prufer,” and I inserted an alt text (it tells the search engines what the images are about), which is “Jennifer Prüfer.”
The changes I made are basic SEO tactics, and were very effective. Summary: If you have a unique name, chances are that 30 minutes of basic optimization is all you’ll need to rank for your name.