Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh, Go Google Yourself

(available from www.cafepress.com)

Admit it. You've done this too!

I was sitting around today while working, waiting for a report to run. The system was very slow, and I got bored. I'm not sure what triggered the thought, but I decided to Google myself. I have to admit this isn't the first time. (Do you think there is a support group for this sort of thing?)

I started with "Jenny Graman". This, my maiden name, I am relatively sure will be my pen name - should I ever need one. I found the typical stuff - and thanks to this blog, the real me (or at least the pen-name used-to-be real me) shows up. The fact that my blog is now the top result when searching on Jenny Graman (even though I haven't used this name for 20 years - other than on this blog) shows the power of setting up your blog or website before you're published - it gives the search engines time to find you, and rank you at or near the top.

Then I searched on "Jenny Meyer". I always get a kick out of this. I'm a well-known jewlery designer. I'm married to Spider Man! And, best of all, I own my own Literary Agency - what am I worried about? If I'd just finished the book, I apparently have an "in" into the publishing world!

I'm used to finding these listings when I search on Jenny Meyer. It's one of the main reasons that (1) I plan to use a pen name if I'm ever published and (2) I don't bother using a psuedonym when posting on the Compuserve forum and other places -- there are just too many of "me" to ferret out anything truly related to me.

This blog does not appear on the first few pages of listings. Apparently, separating your first and last name with your maiden name results in a lower ranking. In fact, there is no sign of the "real" Jenny Meyer on the first 5 pages Google returns.

But here's the one that really bugged me (and this is new from the last time I googled myself). The blog HERE, which nobody has posted in IN OVER A YEAR! appears on PAGE ONE of the Google search results. WHAT? Ironically, not only does this person share my name, but they write. I swear, the post in this blog about Jenny Meyer is not me!

So, besides morbid curiosity, what does this mean? Well, for one, separating your first and last name with something in the middle (like a maiden name) lowers your search engine ranking. As a published or want-to-be published author, getting a good ranking is part of the process.

Second, the content of your posts do contribute to higher rankings. If you want people searching on a particular topic to find you, include key words in your posts. If you write, say, about Polish gypsies, include those keywords in your posts, perhaps in your profile, in a welcome statement on your blog or website. As an experiement, I am going to check back in a few days and see if this particular blog post appears in the Google listings higher than page 5, since I've intentionally included "Jenny Meyer" several times. Should be interesting, right?

What else can you do to improve your search results ranking? Well, I'm no expert yet, but I have been reading up on the issue as it relates to my web design business. In the interest of having a good, searchable title and keywords , come back in a few days. I'm pulling together an post on things you can do to improve your blog search engine results!
* UPDATE: I've been doing lots of research, and have put together a series of articles on optimizing your blog, beginning in January. Be sure to stop back!


kc dyer said...

Hi Jenny,

Have you seen this? I think Amanda has your number...



Jenny Graman Meyer said...

Thanks for the video link. That's hysterical.

Hey, Sara was talking about you last night. She has to write an English paper about the past (based on the book Kindred, by Octavia Butler) and is thinking of using Seeds of Time as a model for the structure of her paper!


kc dyer said...

Hi Jenny,

Please tell Sara I say hello! I'm so glad she's doing so well.


Gerb said...

Hi, Jenny!

I confess. I not only google myself, but I've google-alerted myself and my books. And thanks to some of your suggestions, I often appear higher in the google rankings than the *other* writing Linda Gerber. : )

BTW, you have been bookwormed.


Happy almost Christmas!


Darlene said...

You're kidding, right? Do I Google myself? Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear do it in the woods? If the Pope was in the middle of the woods on a camping trip would he...

Never mind. Anyway, I not only have Google set up to give me a daily feed of any "Darlene Marshall" references, I have it set up to send me a daily feed on each of my books.

I love Google!

Kaza Kingsley, http://www.erecrex.com said...

I'd love to know if there is a person somewhere who hasn't googled themselves. What a selfless person that would be! Do they exist?

That other blog is too funny. I think maybe writing is in your name...