A few days ago I posted some suggestions about using social media sites to “ace” the front page of Google (fill the first page of Google’s search results for your name with links to sites and content that you control). Let’s review the value of doing this (aside from the obvious ego stroke!):
1. Create a positive impression on potential clients and/or employers. It is very common these days that people who are considering doing business with you (or hiring you) will Google your name to see what comes up. If you are involved in the marketing or advertising fields, the impression such a presence makes is worth even more than usual.
2. Force down negative links. If you are “out there” — either because you are well known and/or you participate actively in social media, blogs, forums, etc. on the Internet– sooner or later someone will write something negative about you. If the attack shows up high in Google results, the only thing you can do about it is bury it by creating positive links and getting them to rank higher than the negative post.
3. Create linking “juice” that can have a positive effect on other sites you control on the web.
One relatively new tool that should not be ignored in this effort has been provided by Google itself: Google Profiles. Google Profiles allows you to create a “one stop” picture of yourself and your online connections. You can easily post as much or as little information about yourself as you like. Additionally, this web app makes it super easy to add any or all of your social web sites.
Google has a high incentive to incentivize you to create a profile. Many are predicting that Twitter and Facebook will become the first real challenges to Google’s stranglehold on the search market. Facebook in particular is actively pursuing the creation of Google-killing search functionality. The advantage that sites like Facebook and Twitter are banking on is that they are able to collect very personalized data tied directly to individuals, whereas Google’s search data is more aggregation and generalization. Facebook’s creators believe that in the years to come people will value the ability to find information, get recommendations, etc. in the same way they’ve always done, by querying their friends and acquaintances. And then, of course, sites that facilitate that will be able to present ads to users that are very tightly targeted.
Google gives every sign that they think there is something to that challenge, and Google Profiles is one of its first attempts to fire back. But because they are already behind in the game, Google has to hold out some kind of carrot to get people to create these profiles. So far, the main incentives seem to be:
1. Having a one-stop “business card on the web” that gives people searching for you all the ways to contact you, as well as where to find you on the web.
2. Rewarding profile participants with Google ranking “juice” that feeds back to their linked sites.
Tomorrow I’ll post about how best to optimize your Google Profile to get the biggest Google bang from #2 above.