It’s been a term that’s been around for some time, with the advent of social media: “Brand Yourself.” There have even been books written on the subject. And now there’s a start-up.
It’s called BrandYourself.com, and as you might expect, it’s a website designed to help you control your “branding” on the Internet, specifically your Google search results “branding.”
You’ve heard of other services such as Reputation.com, that charge for these types of modifications to your online reputation through search engine optimization. BrandYourself’s product is totally free. According to BrandYourself.com, it is the only Do-It-Yourself
SEO platform that “makes it easy for anyone to improve their own search results.”
To use it, you create an account (natch), then enter the name you “want to control” in Google’s search results. Be careful what name you choose (if you have a nickname that you are better known as, you might want to use that). The site warns, as you sign up, “You’re going to use BrandYourself to fill the first page of search results for this name with positive links. Once you start this process, it’ll be hard to change later.”
It doesn’t seem, based on that warning, that if you had two names you wanted to brand positively (like say, Tom and Thomas), you could do so without two different accounts.
Once you complete the sign-up process, you then have to go through your Google search results, marking them positive, negative, or not me. You then get a score. After that, Tap “What’s Next” to get BrandYourself’s instructions on how to improve your brand.
Those steps include “Publishing Your Boost Profile” (a BrandYourself profile), submitting positive links to the site, and then following the site’s instructions to make your positive links rank higher in Google’s search results (in BrandYourself’s “Boost Links” section).
So, how does the company make money? The service is based on the “free basic, paid premium” model. Free users get limited in many ways. For example, they can only boost three links, while a Premium user can boost unlimited links. Other Premium features:
- Premium intelligence about your visitors (free users find out where profile visitors came from, but Premium users get to find out how people found your profile and what they searched for)
- Track the first 100 results for your name (free users are limited to their first 30 results)
- No ads on your profile
The Premium service is $9.99 monthly or $79.99 annually. The service launched early Thursday morning.
BrandYourself says it only uses “White Hat,” search engine approved techniques, ones that won’t be penalized as “Black Hat” ones are if “discovered.”
Can it work? The site makes no guarantees, and is quite open about that. Not only is SEO a complex “science,” Google keeps changing the rules. It’s a lot easier for a company like BrandYourself to keep on top of those changes, though.
In this day and age, when your Internet reputation is used by companies when hiring and even by scholarship providers, it’s at least worth taking a look at seeing what comes up for you in their search test. You may be positively — or negatively — surprised.