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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

service sites).

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

with you.

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

your own.

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

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.

This Email Marketing article was written by C.J. Hayden on 5/2/2007