Online Personal Branding: How it Really Works

Online Personal Branding

Today, I will be doing something for the first time.

I will be talking about SEO for personal brands. Before I move forward, I want you to know that you don’t have to own a business before you become a brand.

Daniel Lapin said in his book, Ten Commandments For Making Money, you are a business entity, your friends and families are your board of directors who advise you and provide funds and support where necessary, your employer(s) is your customer/client as they pay you for your time, knowledge and skills.

This payment is what you use to run your business and ensure its growth. The growth process can be in the form of buying more books to read so you never run out of knowledge, feeding well so you have the strength to give out the knowledge you have, and many more. (This is a discussion for another day).

Before I move further, I would like to give you a brief definition of SEO.

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website/page through organic search engine results.

Concerning what I would be discussing, it is what you do to make sure you appear on search results for your personal brand.

According to Wikipedia, Personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from competition to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence and have a larger impact.

So, what is the essence of putting in the effort to create and influence public perception when the public cannot find you where you should be, online? This is where SEO comes in.

So, there is this thing I do whenever I want to play around the internet. I open a tab on my browser, type in my first and last name, and do a google search. With the search results generated, I click each result to be sure that they lead to the right page.

The search engine (Yes, Google is a search engine) provides search result of pages that

1. Has the name I provided.

2. It crawled and noticed there was a sprinkle of the name provided.

I open all the pages in the search results to be sure they are working and anyone that is not, I check and ensure it is.

This is possible because I was consistent about using my first and last name on every platform I register on. The display name may be nickname or freestyle names but I always used my first and last name.

Search result from Google

If you noticed in the screenshot I shared, my Twitter account is not visible, and that’s partly because my username doesn’t carry my official name. It has a freestyle of both my first and last name.

So, whoever attempts to look for me on search engines, will not be able to see my Twitter account because it is not well optimized and the connection couldn’t take place.

As you would have noticed, my LinkedIn account ranks first because more traffic comes from my LinkedIn page than any other page that carries my name. So the search engine ranks according to the number of traffic and backlinks generated.

If a stranger hears my name in a room or conversation and decides to reach out to me, the person can reach out to me on any of the platforms on the search results. LinkedIn will be the person’s first point of contact. This will determine the person’s next decision either to continue or discontinue.

For someone who has different versions of their name on different social platforms, the search engine may not be able to crawl and link the pages together.

For example, my name is Ibukunoluwa Olawumi on Facebook and LinkedIn, I am Christiana Olawumi, it is the same person but SE doesn’t recognize that so it will not index the pages together or provide them as related on search results.

This brings me to the last part of this discussion.

Do you want to exist in the digital space? If you want people beyond your comfort zone to find you online, if you want to increase your social capital, you should do the following if you haven’t been doing it already.

1. Make sure your name appears in the right format across all social platforms. (First name, last name not last name, first name.)

2. Update your profiles on those platforms as frequently as possible.

3. Don’t be a ghost user, visit these platforms at least once a week, and engage in activities like sharing your thoughts about something, upload your pictures, like somebody’s picture or post, share or retweet something you like.

If you have any questions about what I’ve shared so far, send a DM on Whatsapp. I will try my best to answer you or at best refer you to someone or something that would answer your question.


I am a storyteller. I tell stories on God, Life and everything in between.