Your Google Profile is a very important part of your online identity.
[Disclaimer: Vizibility.com is a Personal Branding Blog sponsor]
USA Today published a survey last week from The Creative Group about evaluating candidates for marketing and advertising jobs. In it, 72% of respondents said they would conduct a web search using the candidate’s name while 59% said they would look at a profile on LinkedIn. For those of you with questionable content on your Facebook pages, take heart in that only 44% of prospective employers said they would look there.
This survey, and others like it, reinforces where we go for trusted information. Google is one of the most trusted brands in the world. A user-produced profile on LinkedIn is valuable but for an unbiased, uncensored look at someone’s background, “Googling” and being “Googled” have become the standard practice.
What many of us have discovered for ourselves and those we’ve searched for, however, is that finding information about specific individuals online is getting more difficult. In April 2009, Google launched Google Profiles, a new service that was promoted as a solution for all of us who need to be easily found online. All we needed to do was to create a profile in Google.
In addition to employment and educational background information, users can include links to a personal blog, online photos and other profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. As an inducement to supply personal information, Google Profiles are promised to be included in results at the bottom of the first page of relevant searches.
But the marketing for Google Profiles can be easily misinterpreted. They say that the service “…allows you to control how you appear on Google…” and that you “…can also allow people to find you more easily…” That may be true for a Google Profile but we want these features for our organic search results.
If you’ve set up your Google Profile and then searched for yourself expecting your dozens, hundreds or thousands of results to be at the top of the organic search results, you were probably disappointed. Google Profiles don’t appear to influence search results right now. And how could they? With many people sharing similar names, Google cannot know who someone is actually searching for.
Myth 2: Google Profiles Will Show Your Profile on Every Search for Your Name
One of the promises of Google Profiles is that they will show up at the bottom of the first page of search results. This works well when there are only a couple of people with a similar name. It breaks down when there are many people with Google Profiles who have similar names. Just ask all the Fred Wilsons…
After creating my Google Profile, I wasn’t any easier to find in Google than before when searching on my name alone. Google Profiles didn’t always show up in the search results for my name and when they did, my profile never made it to the first page. However, when I enter an employer or other piece of information that appears in my Google Profile, that seemed to make it come up.
Despite these shortcomings, the idea and intent behind Google Profiles are good. There are two reasons to create one for yourself. First, in addition to your name, if someone enters another piece of information about you that also appears in your profile (i.e. an employer), that may trip your Google Profile to appear.
Second, while the service replicates popular profile sites such as LinkedIn, Google Profiles enables you to add many more external links to your profile than most other profile sites. This makes a Google Profile potentially more valuable to someone who wants to see more than a company website and a blog page.
If you do create a Google Profile, make sure to add your SearchMe button for Google from Vizibility. It will get people to the correct search results about you in one click. And it’s free.
James Alexander is the founder and CEO of Vizibility. A serial technology entrepreneur and graduate of the University of Oxford, James has been involved with Internet search since starting eWatch in 1995. Google him at http://vizibility.com/james.