On the first day of class, a professor in Journalism school asked us to google ourselves, because “you’d be surprised what your name is attached to”. Of course, that was ten years ago, before social media profiles and Facebook usernames. Heck, it was even before Merriam-Webster recognized “googling” as a proper verb.
Thing is, when someone googles your name (for business research, contact information, cyberstalking), you don’t know what they will get. Sure, we can throw some SEO tips your way, but you’re still at the mercy of Google. Will searchers get the best representation of you? Will they even get you – or someone who shares your name?
Take control of your world wide self with Google Profiles. This is Google’s way of asserting some order in the process of searching for people online. Here’s how it works: you fill out a profile form with information like where you live, work, and where you went to school. You can add a short bio blurb and some fun facts about yourself (your superpower, interests, etc). Then, attach links to your profile, like your website, blog, or even, your spanky new Facebook vanity URL. If you want to, you can include photos and direct contact information. When you’re finished, claim your profile page and personal URL (http://google.com/profiles/yourname).
Whether you’re looking to create an online presence or just solidify the one you got, Google Profiles is a smart move. If you’re reticent to put yourself out there, consider the alternatives. Someone else’s online activity could be harmful to your reputation.