Unlike some people I know (Able Parris), I have a fairly common name, which means that simply Googling Chris Butler wont retrieve any information about me among the top results. I just cant seem to compete with the Chris Butler who makes Space Art or the Chris Butler who does wedding photography in Austin… Even Mark OBrien has this problem! But then I realized that performing well in an unqualified search (i.e. just Chris Butler) wouldnt really be that valuable to me, anyway. What would be much more valuable would be to perform well in a slightly more specific search that is actually relevant to who I am (i.e. chris butler web). Contrary to common belief, achieving this is actually well within your reach.
Since I am happily employed, I am not really looking to improve my standing in search results for any other purpose but to unify my online identity. However, many people will look to improve their standing in a name-based search in order to boost business, especially if their name is their brand (talk to the Chris Butler who does wedding photography in Austin- Im sure hed agree).
The first step is to determine what your online hub is going to be. This could be a personal website, a particular online profile, a blog, or something else. Your hub should be the place that will have the most up-to-date information about you, as well as be the source which you keep up with most often. I chose my hub to be my Newfangled blog.
The second step is to utilize social media to point traffic to your hub. If you havent yet participated in any social media applications, now is a good time to start. Most of these applications allow you to set up a simple profile free of charge, though many offer other utilities that you might find pretty useful for connecting with others based upon interests or other common criteria. Your profile should be consistent among all your social media accounts (stick to a common username, contact details, profile photo, etc.) and should all link to your hub. I would recommend at least setting up profiles with Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Del.icio.us, Technorati, and Digg.
Because your social media profiles will indicate your areas of interest or expertise, you should begin to see an improvement in your standing among qualified search results within a few weeks. Prior to linking up all of my social media profiles to my hub, my standing was pretty poor. Even though Ive been consistently working in the web/design/development industry for years, I was nowhere to be found! However, I actually now show up among the top results for many specific searches that are actually relevant to me (i.e. chris butler blog, chris butler web, chris butler design, chris butler technology, chris butler risd, etc.).