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There’s a lot of talk from Internet marketing gurus about how to drive
more traffic to your website. Some will suggest you try to get a
higher page rank on Google by optimizing your site for search engines.
Others preach using pay-per-click advertising like Google AdWords to
attract streams of new visitors. But these strategies are often out of
reach for an independent professional marketing his or her own
Hiring a professional for search engine optimization can cost
thousands, and optimizing your own site may be well beyond your
technical ability. Pay-per-click advertising is typically only
worthwhile for those with unique keywords to advertise and a high rate
of conversion from casual visitors to buyers (rare for professional
Instead of chasing higher page ranks or paying for clicks, consider
using an entirely different approach to becoming more visible on the
web — increase your Googleability. What this awkward term represents
is a measure of the number of different places your name appears on
the Internet. The more sites there are that mention you and your work,
the more likely it is that a prospective client searching for a
service like yours will not only find you, but actually do business
When someone types your specialty into Google or another search
engine, an ideal result would be for the searcher to see your name
over and over again as they begin to surf from site to site. While it
would be great to have your own site appear in the top ten results,
that elusive goal may not be as powerful in the long run as your
widespread presence on other sites aimed at your target market.
Remember that in professional services marketing, the key is that
prospective clients not just be able to locate you, they must also
know, like and trust you enough to hire you. When prospects see you
mentioned in multiple places on the web, they begin to think of you as
an expert in your field.
Also, there is another aspect of Googleability to consider. It’s a
common practice these days when considering the hiring of a
professional to type that person’s name into a search engine and see
how many hits you get. If someone does this with your name, the result
you want them to see is a wide variety of links leading to different
sources. All these links serve as virtual endorsements of you and your
work, encouraging prospects to trust in your abilities.
But how do you get all these sites to mention your name and link to
you? The good news is that many of the more traditional ways of
promoting yourself as a professional dovetail nicely with this new
goal, so you can achieve multiple marketing results with the same
strategies. Here are some approaches you should consider:
1. Publishing articles — Writing articles in your area of expertise
is a well-established technique for boosting your visibility and
credibility. To increase your Googleability, what’s most important is
not how many articles you write, but how many sites publish them. You
can achieve a dramatic increase in your web presence simply by writing
three good articles and seeking out a dozen different sites that might
publish each one.
To begin finding sites that will publish your work, type your
specialty plus “articles” into a search engine, e.g. “financial
planning articles” or “conflict resolution articles.” When you spot a
site that features articles from many different authors and includes a
brief bio and link for each one, look for their article submission
guidelines or the editor’s contact information to submit articles of
2. Public speaking — When you speak for a conference or association,
your name and bio will typically appear on their website. To get more
mileage out of these mentions, be sure you always include your website
URL in the bio you provide, for example: “To find out more about C.J.
Hayden, visit www.getclientsnow.com.
Since many of these program listings will only appear for a month or
two, offer these groups a free resource for their members in
connection with your talk. They may be happy to post an article, tip
sheet, or special report from you on their website, giving you a
permanent presence there.
3. Serving on boards and committees — Type any professional specialty
into Google and some of the first listings you see will typically be
professional associations. By becoming an officer or committee chair
of an association, you’ll often receive prominent mention on their
site. For maximum exposure, choose a public contact position like
program chair or membership chair.
4. Participating in discussion lists and forums — When people are
seeking the answer to specific questions on the web, their search
results will often include discussion lists, message boards, and blog
comments on the topic. By participating in forums like this, you can
position yourself as an expert who has exactly the right solution for
a prospect’s problem.
Spend an hour or so typing into Google some typical questions your
ideal client might ask and look for sites where you see various people
posting replies. You’ll get the best results using detailed questions
like “can my resume be 3 pages?” or “how do I motivate my staff?” The
forums where you see people asking many questions you can answer are
the ones you should join. Remember to always include your full name,
profession, and URL in your posts.
The real beauty of this approach to web visibility is that it can
maximize the marketing efforts you may already have on your agenda
instead of adding more tasks to your plate. Instead of focusing on
beating the search engines, you can work on the bigger picture of
gaining more prominence for your work both on and off the web. And
that has to be good for business.