I am now back with weekly blog posts, after a relaxed start to the year.
To kick things off, I wanted to talk about the merits of googling yourself. And to reassure you that it is definitely not a sign you are self-obsessed. Whether you are self-employed or work as an employee, you need to keep up with how ‘the internet’ sees you. Whenever your name appears on hearing reports or other public documents, you can be sure that the public, colleagues or prospective clients are googling you to find out more.
Here are three ways you can use google to manage your professional profile and how you are viewed on line and in the real world.
1. Understand your presence
Google your name, and if you are self-employed google your business name too. Find out what comes up and where you appear on the list. What impression do people get when trying to find you.
Be aware though that what you see when you google yourself is not necessarily what others will see from the same search. Everyone’s google experience is tailored to their search history and other mysterious factors built into Google’s algorithms. It doesn’t matter if you are logged in or not, results are still personalised to you.
You need to see the search results that others will see. To do this you need to depersonalise your search results – this will reduce, but not fully eliminate the personalisation. You can use the Incognito tab (Ctrl-Shift-N) or disable the personalised search results by clicking the globe icon in the top right hand corner. You can even try a non-Google browser such as DuckDuckGo.com which never personalises results.
2. Have a presence
Think of the internet as a real place where people get together to do business such as a city, a mall or a business park. You want to be on the directory so that if anyone looks for you on the information board they can find you. How much real estate you go for in this virtual world is up to you – it could be an iconic skyscraper or a simple letter box. But you do need to have a way for people to get in touch with you.
If you are not happy with your presence, get in touch and we can offer some suggestions. Don’t give a blank cheque to a tech firm just yet, as there are a number of cost-effective solutions if you know where to look.
3. Monitor your presence
It is also important to monitor what is said about you on the internet. To do this, do you need to keep googling yourself? It definitely starts to look a bit self-obsessed then. The good news is no, you don’t. You can use google alerts to sign up to be notified when someone mentions you or your company on the internet.
Visit Google Alerts to enter the terms you would like to keep an eye on. Definitely make use of the refine options to ensure you get results which are relevant. You can select to receive all your alerts as a single weekly email to keep things tidy. If the email is showing results you are not interested in, you can refine options from that email.
Tip: You can also create alerts for other things of interest to you like a key project name or the street address of a notified application you are dealing with. Just remember that it only searches ‘permanent’ internet real estate like web pages and blog posts within websites. It does not search on social media so it won’t pick up mentions in social media posts or messages (but there are products which will monitor social media for you too).
So please keep an eye on how you appear in the biggest shopfront in the world, the internet.
And for a light-hearted look at google and the crazy things real people search, see the ‘If google was a guy’ clips’ on Youtube. This series of five videos shows what it would be like if, instead of typing queries into a faceless computer, we instead appeared in front of a real person who fetches the information for us. You will recognise something that you do in the clips, whether it is googling a website address when you could have typed it straight into the browser or googling pointless information.
Happy googling, and stay tuned as the February newsletter will be out next week too.