Newsflash, I have a fairly common name, yeah I know #FirstWorldProblems and all but please stick with me, I won’t cry on your or anything.
I’ve not kept it a secret that I have done some freelance work in the past and whilst I was doing this I made an effort to market myself and my
services in the best way I could. Now, any self-respecting freelancer and would-be digital marketeer wouldn’t be worth their salt if they didn’t at least make an effort to utilise Google in order to draw in some all important organic traffic. I knew what terms I wanted to be targeting, however “Freelance writer”, “Narrative Designer”, “Games Writer” et al aren’t exactly the easiest terms to just rank for with little budget.
The main thing I wanted to use Google for was to get my “brand” (i.e. name) cemented in people’s minds. That way if I made an impression during my alcohol inspired ramblings and people remembered who I was a quick search would have them on my doorstep.
This is where I meet the major problem here, if you search “Chris Green” you don’t find me, I’ve searched it, here take a look – see what you think.
The problem? Well as I said my name is very common, there’s my name in .com, .co.uk and .net (without hyphen) incarnations, none of which will lead you to me. So why did I choose this domain (chris-green.net) to publish on? Vanity? Naivety? Possibly a bit of both, but mainly I wanted a “brand” which would endure, no matter what it was I was “selling” – and as I don’t plan on changing my name (or at least not seriously), I thought it’d be a safe bet.
Now, some of my namesakes are very interesting, they are comedians, lecturers, heads of the railways(?) – even someone working in marketing and PR! This is lovely and all, but they’re still not me and without meaning to sound narcissistic or anything, that’s what I’m concerned with here.
So what I am going to do about it? As I don’t have the time and resources to network nearly as much as I’d like, the old-fashioned methods are going to take longer than usual. Instead I wanted to try and see if I could get any lift out of the rel=publisher markup. I’ll keep this part brief, but it’s essentially a tag which will link my website to the relevant Google+ “page” (i.e. for businesses – the term being used loosely here) which you add to the code of your site, like so:
<link rel=’publisher’ href=’https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/111345363619443900811/111345363619443900811/‘ />
Not rocket science and not a secret either, but something that my organic search competition don’t appear to be aware of – so it’s got to be worth an experiment to see if it works, right? And in case you were wondering, this is what you’ll see if it’s done properly:
I’m not chasing SEOmoz here, It’s just an easy example
To make this sound like a proper experiment and everything, I’ll set the following ranking benchmarks and will check back within a couple of weeks:
Chris Green -#146
Christopher Green – n/a
Chris Green Net – #1
At time of checking I did not have any rel=publisher markup, however rel=authorship has been widely used across the site (and on other blogs as well). My “page” on Google+ is far from active, although there are some posts on there. I have since updated the information and plan to start posting on it again.
I don’t really expect adding the publisher markup to my site is really going to push me to #1 of Google overnight, in fact I’m sceptical that it’ll work at all. However, as I’ve mentioned, the number of my competitors who are employing this technique is minimal to non-existent, it’s got to be a good idea to be prepared for when Google really starts using it more and more.
If nothing else this will lead to further experiments whether it works or not – I’ll report back in a few weeks time to see if there has been any difference at all. Until then, ciao!