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Well . . . Why Don’t You Just Go Google Yourself!?

by Barb Cashman on December 9, 2011

Yes, it might sound like an insult, but it’s really an invitation.

Have you Googled your name lately to see who your Internet doppelgangers are? My favorite item that comes up is “[your name] arrested!” I’m not sure what that one’s about, but I think it’s like most reality TV shows and probably ought to be avoided.

Matt Willson‘s screencast this week is about setting up a webhost, but one of the suggestions he makes is to Google your name or your firm’s name to make sure that there are not similar names and firms out there to contend with.

And while we’re on the subject of Google, have you looked into other free listing opportunities in the form of local search engines and directories like Google Maps, Yahoo! local, Microsoft Live, AOL Local Search, Mapquest, Yelp, Citysearch, Local.com, Hot Frog, Kudzu, GenieKnows, and a few others out there? (Some with even more ridiculous sounding names!)

So, along with the instruction to “Google yourself,” you might be wondering what other information might be helpful in terms of getting your Internet “brand” established as your own. The first step is to define what you do and what you care about. Specifically, be sure to state what services you offer, your location, pricing, what differentiates you from the “rest of the pack,” and other factors that inform how you are perceived by clients and prospective clients. Try to use language that would be used by a client looking for a lawyer for a particular problem. Didn’t we used to call this “natural language” back in the old days when the only online search engines lawyers used were Westlaw and Lexis?

The next step in your quest to identify your brand requires you to look around. It will be helpful to know your competition – who are your competitors and how do they get their business? What is the top advantage you offer over your competition? What about competitors’ relative strengths and weaknesses? Is there a gap in the market for you to take advantage of? Are there ways you can further distinguish yourself from your colleagues or competition? This would be a good way to showcase you or your firm to distinguish yourself, but remember it is probably best to maintain sharp focus and to be sure to practice what you preach. This includes selecting clients who will reinforce your brand. Don’t underestimate the importance of that vision – a Japanese proverb says “vision without action is a daydream, action without vision is a nightmare.”

There’s so much more to write about this topic, but I’ll leave that for another post. Next time, I will get started on talking about avoiding ethical potholes while you are on the road of pursuing your vision.

For now, enjoy Matt’s next screencast: Choosing and Setting up a Webhost.

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