My friend and interactive media strategist Adam Broitman calls Google a "reputation management system." I love it. Essentially, Google knows what's true, as far as the uneducated are concerned. How does Google come to accept you as the authority on something? Here's how:
Inbound links from other sources. If someone is linking to your web site, you must have information of value, especially if the person who's doing the linking is important.
Outbound links to quality material. This is actually more for human love, but it certainly helps prove that you're a lively presence.
Readable, searchable pages. If Google can tell what you're talking about at your web site, you are probably trying to offer something to the world.
Constantly updated content. Google values freshness over staleness. (Don't we all?)
Listed in directories. Google wants to know that you've submitted your site for inclusion in the more prominent search engines and web site directories.
Mechanical quality. Google has a lot of other things it values, like well-written web sites that follow standards, and it takes a little bit of learning to understand them all. Hubspot makes a free Website Grader tool that would help you understand a bit.
That's what Google cares about, and that's how a lot of people are searching for you. But we do this for humans, because humans make the decisions. Let's look into what counts for your strong personal brand ...