This week’s assignment: Google yourself.
I won’t lie — I’ve done it before. In fact, I search my name fairly regularly just to make sure there’s not anything out there about myself that I didn’t know about. My name isn’t as common as John Smith, but it’s also not as unique as names of many people I know. I think it’s important for me, especially as a digital media professional, to be well aware of how I rank in search and with what. I’m fortunate that there aren’t any criminal Julie McKinneys out there (or at least any with better SEO than me), and I’m glad that I found myself near the top of Google’s search results for my name.
After the link to LinkedIn’s directory of all Julie McKinneys (a list on which I am fourth), the next three links go to my profile on AL.com, which shows the posts, photos and comments I’ve published on the website.
After that, there are social profiles for Julie McKinneys who are not me, a link to a Facebook directory of Julie McKinneys (a list on which I’m first), and three more social links to non-me Julies.
I was somewhat surprised to find other multiple other Julie McKinneys’ social accounts ranking higher than mine. Then I realized that on all my social media profiles, my name includes my maiden name — Julie Clark McKinney. On AL.com, my byline reads “Julie McKinney | email@example.com” because I dropped Clark to keep my byline from wrapping to a second line. So Google is just trying to most closely match my search, especially since I included quotation marks. Note: When I discarded the quotation marks, the results on Page 1 were very similar, but also included two Google+ posts I’ve made in place of the other Julie McKinneys’ social accounts.
On Page 2, I found two more links related to my work. Without launching into a long explanation, AL.com has sister sites that allow you to comment using your AL.com account, so my profiles on Gulflive.com and Mlive.com also showed up (even though it’s the same account as my AL.com one linked on the first page). And still none of my direct social media links.
But I did find that there’s apparently an actress named Julie McKinney. Although according to IMDB, her career has been rather short, I’m still going to give myself cool points for ranking ahead of an actress.
On Page 3, I found a Julie McKinney who was a 2012 Republican candidate for District 51 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, another who is an insurance agent in California and another collection of my profile pages on AL.com’s other sister sites.
My Google+ profile finally made an appearance on Page 4. It’s interesting that the profile I’m least active on is the social account that ranked first — but of course not surprising since this is Google we’re talking about.
When I changed my query to “Julie Clark McKinney,” the full first page was me (mostly social media profile links), including the image search results preview.
Since I do keep an eye on my name in Google (and I have Google alerts set up for my name, just to make sure), I was not shocked with my findings this week. But it’s always good to check again!
Update, Feb. 26 at 10:40 a.m.: I just realized that I didn’t try Googling my email address. When I search for my work email, firstname.lastname@example.org, I get all work-related links. This makes sense, because that email address is included in my AL.com byline. When I search for my personal email address, email@example.com, I get my Google+ account, as well as several blog posts to my Blogger and WordPress blogs. If you notice, my blog URL has juliecmckinney in it, too.
Did you have any surprises after Googling yourself? Do any “celebrities” share your name?