In Vermont dwells my great namesis: a physician named Philip Kiely.
As a freshman in college I bought philipkiely.com because I decided I was going to be a programmer and thus I needed a website. So I bought the domain and put up a very basic github pages site right before I went to my first hackathon, because I didn't really know what those were but I assumed everyone there already had their own website. The next day, in a bout of ego-driven curiosity, I googled my own name to see if my site had been broadcast to the world.
And. There. He. Was.
Someone else. With my name. Providing high quality medical care to the people of Vermont. IN THE TOP SEARCH RESULT!!!
Thus began a years-long odyssey to capture the top spot on Google search for my name. Four iterations of my website. Multiple books. Active social media profiles. Dozens of blog posts. Scores of quality backlinks. Shameless plastering of my face across the internet like a pokemon that can only say its own name.
You know what? It worked great. Over the course of five years, I slowly overtook my namesis and cemented my website, my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, and my author pages on the first page of Google's search results. More importantly, I am also hold the top spots on Yahoo and Bing!
Having the top spots for my own name is surprisingly useful in everything from quickly becoming non-anonymous to friends I make online to landing professional opportunities and generating revenue as a creator. Now Google even knows it's me when you spell my name wrong. And I have one of those really cool sidebar things to show my grandma.
I will now vainly attempt to convert this blog post from a blatant gloat to a palatable humblebrag by offering tips on how you, too, can become the definitive online haver-of-your-name.
- The most important determinant of your success in this particular arena is your competition. If your name is John Smith or Harry Potter, I strongly advise selecting a pseudonym for online use. It can still be partially your name, for example Chris Sev went as "Chris on Code" for years before using his name.
- Owning firstlast.com is a really big deal. last.com is probably taken, so you'll buy something like last.xyz instead to make your email firstname.lastname@example.org. This will cause problems, you will do it anyway.
- Put a bunch of content on your site.
- Experiment for years by trial and error, like I did, or
- Take this short, free course from Monica Lent for a head start!
The truth is...