This past week was a great week for emails sent in from the podcast listeners and readers of this site. In case you’re wondering, I do read and answer every one.
But of the dozens of emails I received, there were two questions asked over and over again. Those questions were, “What does becoming the Google of your niche mean?” and “Can you explain it in a little more detail please.”
When I say you need to become the “Google of your niche” what I mean in the context of personal branding is for your name to become synonymous with your area of expertise or interest.
So synonymous in fact, when someone searches for you or your area of expertise in Google you are one of the top ten results returned.
Getting to this point requires strategy and a lot of effort on your part. This is especially true if your niche is a crowded one. So how do you do it?
Let start at the beginning.
WHAT IS A NICHE
Before you can show up in any Google results you have to know what you want to show up for. You need to know your area of expertise or your niche. So let’s start here and ask, what is a niche?
A niche is defined as the following.
“A specialized but profitable corner of the market.”
Don’t let the word specialized confused you. A niche is simply a narrow and specific subject of interest. For branding purposes, this is usually a topic in which you have more knowledge or experience than other people.
Your niche can be anything; model cars, woodworking, personal branding, internet marketing, even brewing your own beer.
We are all experts on some topic or niche.
Now, “finding” your niche can be a challenge for many people. If this describes you, pay particular attention this week to the questions people ask you.
What do they come to you for advice on or about? What are you to “go to” person for when people need an answer. I have a friend who is beekeeper on the side. If I want to know about bees, guess who I call. He is my “go to” expert on bees.
You are an expert on something in other people’s eyes. So pay close attention to the questions people ask you. Your niche will be “hiding” in their question.
I’m guessing you’ve heard of keywords before. But do you know what they are? A quick search of our friend Google and we quickly find the following.
A keyword is defined as:
“A word or concept of great significance. An informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.”
Your niche is full of keywords. In a way, keywords define your niche for others. They are the informative words that systems like Google use to identify content and other useful information.
Any time you type something into Google, you are typing a keyword. Did you know a keyword can be more than one word? Your name is a keyword as well.
A big part of online reputation management is making sure your keyword i.e. your name, is displayed on the first page of results when people search for you.
In sum, keywords identify content, can be more than a single word and your name is a keyword.
Before we can go further you need to fully understand what Google actually is and how it works.
You may know Google as a search engine. But do you know what a search engine is?
A search engine is defined in the following manner.
“A program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web.”
Without going into great detail and wanting to keep this post at a high level, Google maintains a database of every site on the internet. It “indexes” or groups together websites of similar content for easy retrieval later.
How does it know the sites have similar content? Because among other things, it is looking at the keywords used within the content on the site.
Take your name for example. Think about all of the sites on the internet, social media included, where your name appears. Google has all of those sites grouped together. This way when someone searches for you, it knows where to look.
Again, I’m being overly simplistic for the sake of explanation. I know I have left out some of the finer details. So let’s continue.
Google is the world's largest content curator. I want to draw an interesting comparison here. During my presentation at WordCamp Dayton earlier this year, I asked the audience what was the largest content curator in the world.
One gentleman quickly answers the Smithsonian. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for but it was technically correct. Museums and libraries are content curators. They preserve, maintain, collect and archive all kinds of content.
In this regard, yes, The Smithsonian is the largest museum in the world. It is not, however, the largest content curator. That honor falls to Google.
To help you understand why I say this let’s define content curation.
“Content curation is the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.”
This is exactly what Google does…for everything on the world wide the web. Think about this for a minute.
When you type anything into Google, for personal branding purposes let’s stay with your name, Google’s little “robots” go out and collect all the information they can find on the keyword.
Once the robots have collected all the information they organize it. How they organize the information is based a propriety algorithm but we do know a few things about how keywords are organized. Here are a few.
1 – Relevancy
2 – Links from other sites (commonly referred to as backlinks)
3 – Frequency of updates
Google uses these methods and others to organize and rank the curated content it finds on the keyword you searched. It then displays the results in what is referred to as a search engine results page or SERP for short.
As you can see I own the top results for the keyword Ryan Rhoten on page one of Google. This is a very good thing especially for me since there are other Ryan Rhotens in the world.
This did not happen by accident. I have been very intentional about building up and managing my online reputation in order to become the Google of MY niche which is the keyword Ryan Rhoten.
Since this is part of at least two posts on this subject, I’m going to close out here. In part one, I’ve provided the framework you will build from as we move forward.
Understanding the parts and pieces involved is critical to your success. The more you know the “easier” it will be to become the Google of your niche.
See you in part two.