Hiding in Plain Sight: Google and Your Name

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article about names and Google ranking- the importance of being findable via a Google search.  Among other things, the article reminds us that Google is not just about web search.  While I haven’t really thought about it like this before, Google is a multi-purpose tool for me.

It is my spell-checker.  I search for the word, and it either confirms I’m correct or asks me if I meant [correct spelling].

It is my direction finder.  I type in the address and it gives me a map, and a link to Google Maps, for a bigger map and directions.

It is my lyrics finder for the lead ins I sometimes use for my blog posts.

It is my dictionary, leading me to the Free Dictionary.

Sometimes, it’s my people finder.

But it’s not as good at finding people as it is other information.  I search for my old buddy Carter Via, and I get to places named Carter via all sorts of routes.  I look for my cousin and get zip.  A search for my old friend Kevin Morris leads nowhere, unless I add our hometown.  Then it returns my failed friend fishing experiment (which was a rousing success compared to my failed Flickr experiment).  It all comes down to how well your name Googles, as the WSJ puts it.  And to Google well, you need an effective platform, which as Scot Karp points out, is not always easy to come by:

The problem for most people is that they don’t have a platform for influencing their identity in Google or other search engines. Anyone can start a blog, sure, but that may not help if your name is John Smith, or even a less common name if you don’t get any inbound links.

Most bloggers Google well, since they generally have a significant online presence.  Earl Moore is number 2, behind a baseball player nicknamed Big EbbieMathew Ingram is number 1 for both the way he spells it and the way he doesn’t.  Mike Miller is number 13, behind another hoops player and a couple of clownsTom Morris is number 2, behind an institute for human values.

Ken Yarmosh offers a roadmap for putting your name on the Google map.

My name Googles pretty well.  I’m number 1 for both Kent Newsome and Newsome.  My work bio is number 2 for Kent Newsome.  The benefits of a long online presence and a somewhat uncommon name.  My two oldest kids are number 1.  Raina is number 4.  Some odd blog post that seems to mention her is number 1.  Luke is too young and has too common a name to make the boxscore. Yet.

I certainly wouldn’t change my name to Google better, like someone mentioned in the WSJ article, but I do see the benefit of Googling well.

How well does your name Google?

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