Whether you use your website as a resume, portfolio, blogging platform, or advertisement for freelance services, taking advantage of SEO strategies can help improve your search engine ranking and make you more visible to your target audience (recruiters).

Here are a few simple ways to become more visible in a job search with SEO:

Optimize Your Website’s URL and Name

One of the best SEO strategies for your personal website is to use a domain name that consists of your first and last name. This will help employers find your website if they search on your name to learn more about you.

If you have a common name or if the domain is already being used by someone else, add a middle initial to set your name apart (i.e., www.johnbsmith.com instead of www.johnsmith.com). You may also want to include the name of the position you’re targeting in your site’s name (e.g. “John Smith: Social Media Guru”) or even the URL (e.g. smithsocialmedia.com).

Use Keywords Wisely

Another important SEO strategy is using career-related keywords on your website. One way to find keywords is to Google the career/profession you are looking for (ie. Social Media Marketing) and in the Google search, click on “related searches” to find out the other keywords that people are looking for in that profession.

Update Regularly

Simply creating a website probably won’t make a big difference in your search engine ranking. The most effective branding websites are dynamic.

Take time to ensure that professional information is current, blog posts are updated on a regular basis and links to references about your accomplishments are included. Create a network of links between your social media profiles and your personal website.

Using your name for link text will help increase the ranking for your name. If you have the time, attempt to do some guest blogging on professionally related sites, making sure to link back to your site from your guest post.

Not only will this increase your visibility in your professional space by drawing more eyes, but it will also improve your site’s search engine performance for related keywords.

Keep Tabs on Google

Since Google is the most widely used search engine, the logic it uses to rank search results (widely referred to as its search algorithms) can make or break a commercial or personal website. Developers are constantly tweaking the Google search algorithms in order to deliver high-quality search engine results.

They also make occasional major changes that can affect search rankings. The most high profile of these changes was nicknamed Panda by Google developers. Released in early 2011, Panda employed artificial intelligence to lower the search rank of low-quality websites.

A little over a year later, the Penguin update was launched. The purpose of this update was to lower the ranking of websites that use “black hat” SEO techniques, like keyword stuffing and duplicate content.

Website owners can’t afford to ignore Panda, Penguin, and any future modification to Google’s algorithms. These changes allow Google to add value to searches by filtering out what appears to be useless content.

Link Building

Another important SEO strategy is using career-related keywords on your website. One way to find keywords is to Google the career/profession you are looking for (ie. Social Media Marketing) and in the Google search, click on “related searches” to find out the other keywords that people are looking for in that profession.

You can also use link building, which involves gaining backlinks from other sites using select keywords, to solidify your association with these keywords in the eyes of search engines.

Conclusion

Besides enhancing your professional reputation, high-quality content and skillful use of career-related keywords will help your website survive Google filtering and rise to the top of search engine rankings.

And remember: High ranking means your personal brand will be more visible and help your next employer find you, instead of the other way around.