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What story does Google tell about you?

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It is hard to imagine life before the web.

If I have to do anything — make soup, download a Mod in Minecraft for my son or get someone to haul away trash from my garage, the first place I go is Google.

After scanning past the sponsored links (why don’t I trust those?) I scan to see what information is available.

If I am hiring a fix-it person, I love a link to Yelp, where I can check out their track record with other customers.

(When I researched “carpet cleaning in Mesa,” George from Paradise Carpet Cleaning got my business because of the near-perfect 5 Star Reviews from his customers on Yelp)

If I want to research a professional, I like to dig into LinkedIn profiles or personal websites or blogs.

(I was looking up information about a mutual friend here in Phoenix for a writing project, and found out that not only did she provide social media services for business, but that Social Media Stole her Kidney).

If I want to learn something, I usually turn to YouTube.

(Tobuscus is one of the reasons my son is planning his first career step to be creating and monetizing his own YouTube channel).

For better or worse, we learn who people are, and what they do, by Google results.

Because you are not the only one who contributes content to the Internet, you cannot always control the story Google tells about you.

But you can influence it by making sure that you are adding great content and information to the web.

In order to influence the story Google tells about you, think about the following things:
  1. What could you create that would tell the story about who you really are?
    How can people learn about your interests, strengths and talents? Where do you share your particular point of view about life? Of all the things you do in the your life, which do you want to be known for? You could create:
    -A video
    -A blog post
    -A book or ebook
    -A Facebook page
    -A Tumblr blog with photos
  2. How can you curate a place to tell your story?
    The problem with telling your story exclusively on public sites like LinkedIn, Facebook or Yelp is that you don’t have control over how all the threads of your story tie together. This is a great reason to have your own website where you can aggregate different parts of your body of work.

    Even if you don’t work for yourself, it is a great idea to reserve the URL of your own name (if it is not available, look for the closest equivalent). Then use this page as a central place to link out to other places where you share content.

    (For the parents among you, reserve your kids’ domain names early!) :)
  3. How are you sharing your body of work with others?
    Once you create things you are proud to share, how are you getting the word out?
    You can:
    -Add a link to your site on your business card
    -Add links on the bottom of your email signature
    -Share on social media
    -Share in a live setting, then encourage people to connect with you on the web
    -Start an email newsletter
Where is the best place to start?

Google yourself!
  • See what information is available about you.
  • Note what is missing.
  • Imagine what you would love to find.
  • Decide what you need to create to close that gap.
  • Break down the steps to creating that piece of content, and add them to your 2014 plans.
We are complex, nuanced, flawed and imperfect human beings. Don’t worry if everything about you on the web is not glowing.

Do make sure that you contribute the best, strongest and most powerful part of your story on the web. That is the story I want to read!

My brand new book, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together can help you create and share your story! Check out some great pre-order goodies including a workbook, videos from my live event and a lifehacking guide right here: http://pamelaslim.com/bodyofwork
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8 Responses to “What story does Google tell about you?”

  1. […] from Cubicle Nation: What Story does Google Tell About You? We all know prospective clients Google us. Sometimes that’s how they even find us in the first […]

  2. There was once a time when it was a big deal that your name was googable, now everyone is. Just need to accept it.

  3. Barbara says:

    I had a coworker who was skeptical of the Web and did her best to avoid putting up any content. This person’s profiles were skeletal. Owing to the dearth of information, the thing that did come up when her name was Googled was disciplinary action against a professional license! The moral of that story: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em/

  4. Great article Pam! I can’t remember who once said not to forget that your grandchildren will develop their opinions of you and where they came from based on what they can find on the internet – so what would you like your grandchildren to know?

    Also – not a bad idea to put a Google Alert on your name as well so that you see everything everyone says about you as it comes out.

  5. Thanks Pam for his blog article. If your name is your brand, it is especially important that people see what you want them too see when they Google you. If there is a lot of old or negative stuff out there about you, it is best as you said to start building new information through various outlets to guide people into your story. Everybody’s story changes in time, why not have a strong hand in molding it online to keep it current:)

  6. Mish says:

    Fab article with some great advice!

    For people who have “threads” of information scattered across websites that are outside of their control, it’s a great idea to have one hub website to aggregate it all together.

    And I love the tip about imagining “what you would love to find” when Googling yourself. It’s such a good way to come up with ideas for blog post content too (which I sometimes struggle with!).

    Thanks Pam!

    Mish

  7. josh says:

    There are some things I don’t want to know ;)

  8. faisal says:

    At a time, it was said, if you google and your name comes, you have done something.

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