Many students today are worried about what their top Google results are when someone looks up their name. Will potential employers see pictures of me dominating at J-cup or will they see me carrying away the debate competition trohpy?

To paraphrase what Gary Vaynerchuk said during his keynote at the Future of Web Apps in Miami: It’s over. It’s 2008. Everyone can find out anything about you. Instead of trying to hide yourself, own it.

This doesn’t mean you want pictures of you taking body shots off of topless women (or men) as your first Google hit. But you can’t hide it if it already exists. Instead you need to create page(s) that Google will index higher for you. The first step to accomplishing this is to register your own domain name. Tomorrow, we’ll go over some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips and tricks to make sure that your name bubbles to the top of search results.


What is Your Name?

A domain name, while sounding vaguely medieval, is just a web address that points to an IP address. For example www.google.com is a domain name, but it really points to the IP address 74.125.19.104. (Note: Google has many, many, many servers so this number will definitely differ depending on where you are and how you are routed.)

The most obvious choice for which domain name to register would be your own, first and last. For me this wasn’t available, so I registered michaelkellysutton.com (i.e. first, middle, last).

But how do you know if a name is taken or not? Let’s move onto the next step.

Search Out Possible Names

There are many domain registration services. One of the most popular ones is GoDaddy. We use and love them, so this example will hereby continue using them.

Head over to GoDaddy.com. GoDaddy is a domain registration and web hosting site. You’ve probably seen their racy Super Bowl ads.

Right in the middle of their site, you will see this box:

This magic box checks to see if your a domain name of your choosing has already been registered. Type in different formations of your name to check the availability. Prefer “.com” names. Once you have one picked out, add it to your basket and check out.

Domains aren’t free, but they are pretty cheap. GoDaddy will charge you about $10 for a domain name without any discounts.

Into the Future

Consistency is key. If possible, maintain the same online persona throughout all networks. One of our readers, Jessica, wrote us an email last week requesting advice on how to choose a user name. Our answer: it should be the same across everywhere (if possible). Start with the domain name and then work from there. Think of your name as a brand, and you want to own it. One of the best examples of this is a buddy of mine and the head Seesmic blogger, Jeremy Vaught. Google him.

Alright, you’ve done enough work for the day. Go to the spa and relax. Get a massage. Tomorrow we’ll go over what to put as a landing page for your domain and do some SEO on it. If you just can’t wait, check out my personal landing page at michaelkellysutton.com.