To improve people search, Google recently launched a user-created profile page for individuals. Google profiles will give you more control (sort of) over what is seen in a Google search for “your name”. In some ways, this new feature allows you to claim your online personal identity with this major search engine. It likely goes without saying, but it should also improve your name-query searches with others as well.
Who can have a Google profile?
Anyone can build a profile. It is actually quite simple and quick. In this user-generated content profile, Google allows you to provide the following information:
• Your photo
• Your occupation
• Your birthplace
• Your location
• Your employer
• Your schools (past and/or current)
• Your biography (with no restrictions on inbounds links)
• Your links (i.e. website, blog, LinkedIn, Facebook)
• Your photos (from your Picasa, Flickr or other online photo albums)
• Your contact information
Here is my profile: Helen Faber
Vanity URL: www.google.com/profiles/helen.faber
Before you publish, ask yourself “What do I want searchers to see when they Google my name”? In other words, how do you wish to brand yourself online? Think of this as a way to manage your reputation on the web.
Where are the people search results found?
People profiles appear at the bottom of a search engine results page (SERP) in a Google search. Up to four results can be shown. For each, an abbreviated profile with photo is listed along with a link to the full version. There are also links to name-related social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and My Space.
But is it for Canadians?
No – not really. The initial launch is for the U.S. only. Google profiles, at this time, can only be found using Google.com (the traditional U.S based version of Google search). “Profile Results” do not appear on Google.ca (Google Canada). However, if you do have a profile and Google’s main engine is used as the search tool, your profile can get found. In addition, claiming your online identity (and getting your vanity URL) is always a good idea. In our industry, we call this Google insurance.