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What Happens When People Google You?


Robby

Here’s something you should do on the regular: Google yourself. That’s not because I want you to have a high opinion of yourself (and Googling yourself is kind of like looking in the mirror to see how good you look.) It’s because other people are searching for your name online. And what they find tells them all about you.

Google sign
© Flickr User Neon Tommy

Last year, I had a meeting with scheduled with someone. She had a fairly unique name which I thought I had heard before, but could not place. So I decided to Google her.

The first result? A major federal lawsuit where she was the plaintiff. The second, third, fifth, and tenth result also related to the lawsuit. Now, I didn’t bring this up when she arrived for our meeting. But you can bet I was thinking about it!

In another case, I was supposed to meet with someone whose name happened to overlap with a low-level Hollywood actor. It wasn’t their actual name (he was “Bob”, but his résumé said “Robert”) so I searched for “Robert ______.” I couldn’t learn a thing about them. Which was sad, because he didn’t go by Robert anyway. He went by “Bob.”

What’s the moral of the story? Three points:

  1. Google yourself. See what people are seeing about you. Do it often. And make sure you’re prepared
  2. Use the name you want to be known by everywhere online. If you have a nickname that everyone calls you, use that name in your LinkedIn profile. Use it for any articles you write. Use it for your Facebook profile. That way, people who search for you are likely to find you.
  3. If you don’t like your results, change them. The best way to push down content you don’t want to see in search results is to add content you do want to see. Start a blog. Join Twitter. Leave comments online. Write articles for LinkedIn or Medium. Contribute with your name, so that your name appears.

People are Googling you. You should Google you, too.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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