ORM Best Practices: Optimizing Biographies

When a biography about you appears online, make it work in your favor. Use online reputation best practices to optimize biographies for maximum impact.

Why This Matters

  • Quality: Biographies are high-quality sources that highlight your message in the most positive light and are valued by both readers and search engines.
  • Quantity: The more sources promote your message online, the more authoritative that message becomes.
  • Control: Biographies connect your name to information sources that you approve, giving you greater control over what people associate with you.

Best Practices
Use bios whenever appropriate
Your professional and business websites should have a biography, as well as any blogs or other sites you maintain. Encourage conferences to post your biography on their websites, and ask journalists to include a mini biography whenever they write about you.

Use a new bio for each website
Diversity increases the effectiveness of your message. The more sites that talk about you in different ways, the more your side of the story rises to the top. If you repost the same thing too often, on the other hand, it will be treated as filler and pushed down in the search results.

Use your name in the first sentence and a few more times throughout
The sooner search engines can determine who a biography is about, the more powerful those biographies become. Peppering additional mentions of your name throughout confirms that you are, in fact, the subject of the text. On the other hand, too many mentions looks unnatural and usually gets penalized. A total of 3–4 mentions per biography is ideal.

Keep the length between 200-300 words
The length of a piece of online writing influences its perceived function. Biographies are generally about 200 to 300 words, and sticking to that length gives your bio the best chance of being accurately categorized.

Include two or three links to your other websites
A few links from each bio to a different set of websites increases their perceived influence. Too many links looks unnatural, but two or three maximizes the impact of your biography.

Include a photo
Photos and text together rank better than either alone, because they contextualize each other. If at all possible, include a photo and tag it with your name.

Make use of HTML conventions and best practices
The more consistently your biography meets the formatting expectations of search engines, the more powerfully it will rank. Use header and title tags appropriately in your HTML code, apply descriptive image tags, and follow other common Web best practices.