More and more, when someone wants to know about you, they will type your name into the world’s leading search engine to see what it reveals about you. Whether you are applying for a corporate job, pitching some work as a consultant or hoping to get a date with your colleague in the cubicle down the hall, you can count on being googled.
Your Google results reveal how visible you are on the web and visibility (at least among your target audience) is critical to successful personal branding. Your google results also become useful data points for those who are looking to make decisions about you. So the prospect of being googled brings up some interesting questions if you are building and nurturing your personal brand.
Is being googled the new millennium version of a standard credit-check?
Will your google results be figured into whether you will get a loan, secure an apartment or get accepted into an educational program. Will being googled become a routine step in evaluating someone’s application for any number of activities?
If you don’t show up in google, do you exist?
Quantitatively speaking, you are somebody if your google results cover multiple pages. You are a really unknown brand, however, if google can’t find you, or worse, if it finds your name only in a list of obituaries. So if you don’t show up in google, will you be dismissed?
How do you control what is said about you and what shows up in Google?
Qualitatively speaking, we suffer even more scrutiny. What do the results of a Google search actually say about you? Do they reinforce your unique promise of value? Do they say what you want them to say? And how can you control what the Google results say.
Will being googled replace reference checking in job interviews and client bids?
After all, Google provides a much more objective view than those whom you select to be references for you. Will your Google results be the determining factor in whether you get in to see a new client or are considered for a new job?
Will being googled change the way we name our kids?
Having a common name can be a challenge for getting an accurate Google assessment. Google doesn’t discern between John Smith the upstanding CEO of Acme, Inc. and John Smith the serial killer who escaped from prison and is on the run. Just as the trend in company and product naming has moved to creating names for originality and to ensure domain name availability (think Altria, Yahoo and Avaya), will parents in the future be creating one-of-a-kind names for their children to ensure accurate Google results?
I don’t have all the answers to these questions. But I am completely fascinated with the personal googling phenomenon and all that it means for my personal branding clients, not to mention my own personal brand.
Googling is becoming common and it’s not going away. So when you are working on building your brand, don’t forget to build a plan to increase your Google visibility and ensure it says what you want it to say.
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