Note: I first posted this over at Social Media Breakfast – Twin Cities. You can see that post for further discussion.

Hey friends, in light of Mykl’s “Supercharged Personal Branding” post, and the awesome presentation that Greg and Christopher gave on Reputation Management, I’ve been thinking about one little narcissistic thing lately: do you rank for your name? And if so…how many times?

Craig Key Search Results

Craig Key Search Results

I’ve been trying to grab more search real estate on my name craig key (did I mention I’m a narcissist?), but I’m having a hard time because there happens to be an island in the Florida Keys which is bold enough to go by that same moniker (and a judge in Oklahoma that wrote a book called “A Deadly Game of Tug o War”).

But I wanted to throw out a challenge: Own your name in the search results – so that others can’t.

For me, I rank for my facebook, twitter, blog and linkedin profiles. 4 out of 10. Not bad…but I’d rather have all 10. Ok, maybe I won’t take down Wikipedia (stupid island), but I could at least aim for 9 out of 10.

I have some thoughts on the subject (or tips, I guess), but I would rather hear from you first.

How many of the top 10 search results on your name do you control?
How do you think you can boost the rank of some profiles?

All of this is a fun test for your own name…but brands should be asking themselves the same questions, don’t you think?

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4 Responses to Do you own your name’s search results?

  1. great topic! It does seem that you’re up against some challenges, but I think you could see quite an impact by simply changing some of your social account names (and subsequent links) from craigsanatomy to Craig Key. Doing this on Twitter especially will improve your footprint in vanity searches. In the places it’s not possible or desirable to do this, I’d make sure to include something (statement, post, etc.) connecting the two names.

    Adding a tagline with your name to your blog would also be fairly painless. Another option to consider would be to look into the microformat rel=”me” and add it to links to your blog’s about page.

    I’ve found that using a consistent name everywhere often yields better results than the most sophisticated SEO techniques. Thanks for the shout out by the way.

  2. Jacey says:

    I own all but one, which is a generic White Pages link for my name in general. But, I suppose that’s what happens with a name like mine. It also means I’ll probably almost never be searched for unless someone is looking for me specifically.

  3. Call me crazy. Crazy. Ok, that’s done.

    I’ve been wondering why we make people search at all. Why not try to be more up front and make better introductions than search. I blogged about it most recently here http://blog.extendr.com/2009/06/05/why-search/ on the .extendr blog.

    It seems to me that the wide majority of the time when people want to learn more (i.e. search) about someone they have either just met them physically and received a card or found the person via a website profile (i.e. Facebook and so on). Further they have a good idea of the kind of information they’d like to find or they would not search. My question is, why make people search when you can make a optimized search results page for them and give them what they would have to spend 15min or more trying to find?

    We search to learn more. But if your introduction as been made much more effectively then search before someone has had the chance or inclination to search they you’ve captured the opportunity available to you.

    Moreover, search results can’t currently be categorized. To my mind, it’s a bad introduction platform and strategy to leave your introductions up to the current form of search.

    So, am I really crazy?

  4. @mykl – The rel=”me” is a really great idea – I haven’t played with this. Have you? And yes: using “craigsanatomy” in stead of my name definately provides a hurdle – I’m currently trying to see what I can do with my real name, despite my username (and also whether I want to separate the two – like one being more personal, and one being more professional)

    I could definately add “craig key” to the tagline and homepage title of this site (in fact it used to be in there) – and in most cases I would, but I chose to leave them off, and optimize my “about me” page for my name – that way when someone googles me they see a nice introduction (ala extendr *ehem* joseph) in stead of whatever random blog post happens to be at the top of my homepage.

    @jacey well done! nice work on owning the search results.

    @joseph – thanks for the extendr plug (you spammer! – just kidding). but this experiment is about search for me, so I don’t want to remove it from the equation. In part because this principle should apply to brands just as much as it should individuals, and also because I don’t see search going away any time soon when it comes to being found online.

    Have you guys played with this at all? Have you paid attention to where you rank? Does it change? I have some observations from some of my own experiements (which I will share – I promise), but I wanted to hear some more ideas from you!

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