Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Who does Google think you are?

I found an interesting article on Brand Republic. It's review of Domino's Pizza's Marketing Director Robin Auld and how he "does not appear in the top five results" on Google when searching for his name. In his stead, you can find a Southafrican musician's website and his Myspace profile and a Wikipedia article about Sir Robin Earnest Auld.

What is really worrying about this is that, not only our identities are becoming very much public knowledge with the advent of the facebooks, myspaces and linkedins but that this is expected and encouraged.

Of course, the first thing I did was to search for my name to see how much Google knew about me and I was (pleasantly??) surprised to find a couple of links to some mentions of my person (all good things thankfully). Now, although my presence was slightly haphazard, there are ways you can ensure you appear in the google listings, particularly if your name is not one very popular like, say... John smith (you'd have to compete with the bitter of the same name)? How!?!?!?, I hear you ask whilst waving your arms in the air in despair. Well, below you will find a couple of methods that seem quite effective:

  • Register your domain name. This is quite important, particularly if you want to protect your name from being taken by someone else. Take Robin's example, he should go and register straight away to avoid Robin Auld from SA to register it first.  If you have a business that relies on your name (i.e you are a freelancer) or you are a well known person, its very important that you do this. You don't know when you will want to setup your online present behind your own domain and find that it has been taken by some evil dimension travelling doppleganger.
  • Blog. Yes, just like I do (sometimes), get a little Blogspot account, hosted wordpress, any of them will do. The important thing is that you blog and that you talk about yourself or about anything you like. Get some content flowing, that's the first step. If the blog allows it, point your newly registered domain name to it.
  • Build a website. Running a blog is probably enough but if you are a bit tech savvy and you want to add your own spin to it, some content galleries with pictures or videos and you think your blog will just be a section of it, then go for it. Having said that, most decent blogging software such as Wordpress provide all the functionality you need through templates and plugins. Experiment!.
  • Register social networking profiles. Go to Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace, Xing,, and any other networking websites you can find and register your name and/or your own public profile. Make sure you go through the security settings and avoid disclosing any information that could be used against you, perhaps Date of birth is a good start. Social networking sites like Linkedin and tend to allow Google to crawl your profile quite easily.
  • Get Linked. Yes, having a website isnt enough. You need to be found by Google for something to happen. Some profiles like and Linkedin allow you to add a link to your own website. Do it! Those are quick wins. If you read blogs, comment on them, most blogs allow you to add your website url to them and some will provide you with some benefit. It can't hurt.

Now that's start. They are quite simple steps, give them a try and see what happens, do have in mind that it will take a number of weeks before you see any results but the key is to experiment!

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