Ok, admit it, you've probably self-Googled or 'ego-surfed' your own name at least once to see what pops up. This practice has become so prevalent the social scientists at Scientific Commons have done a study on why people self-Google. The study compared search and click-through trends for personalized information resources (individual names) versus non-personalized information resources (more generic URLS - for example, airlines versus Southwest). It also addresses whether the generic search terms or personal search terms produce a better click-through performance. Useful information for search engine optimization.
Wondering how to have more control over search results for your name? Here's some info on the free way you can update your personal information and drive traffic to your arts/crafts business website by setting up a Google profile.
What is a Google Profile?
A Google profile is a link leading to a personalized information page about you and your arts/crafts business that appears at the bottom of U.S. name-query search pages.
Want to set one up? Follow these simple instructions and you'll have your Google profile up and running in minutes:
Create or Access Your Google Account
Go to google.com/profile. On the bottom right of the page are several examples of profiles to get you started. Click the Create my Profile button. You'll be prompted to sign in with your Google account. You might already have a Google account because you use AdWords or AdSense. If not, create one.
Create a Google ProfileThere will be three tabs at the top of the screen: About me, Photos and Contact info. Fill out as many or as few information fields on each tab as you want. A personalized page is created on which you can include links to your arts/crafts business website, your blog or other company info. You can also upload photos of your products and links to your other profiles on sites such as Facebook or MySpace. Consider customizing your URL by choosing a unique name.
Change Your Gmail Info if Needed
If you use Gmail, your profile URL will automatically end in your Gmail username, which is probably not a good idea as everyone and his brother will have your Gmail address. Change it by selecting the option to use a URL Google generates instead.
Selecting a Customized URL
If you select a customized URL, you won't be able to change it or delete it. However, you can make it private at any time by selecting the Google numbered URL on the 'Edit profile' page. I changed my URL to my business name, which didn't come up in the first twenty pages of search results - this was not a good idea. So I went back to the Edit page, selected the Google default and within a minute I was back up in Google under my personal name.
Create Your Google Profile
When you're done, click the Create your profile button. You can edit your profile as many times as you need. My test profile was in the Google search results within a minute.
How Google Profiles Can Promote Arts/Crafts Businesses
While not directly driving traffic to your website, any customers that remember your name but not your business name will be able to find your business by doing a Google search using your personal name. Check out the keyword info in the website statistics for your site. I'm sure you'll find that your name has been used as a search term to find your website. It has for mine. A Google profile is just another way to help that searcher find you.
Also, if your personal name has exposure on another site (maybe you provide a service for them), but aren't allowed any self-promotion, a Google Profile can help your name recognition from that site drive traffic to your arts/crafts site.
It doesn't take that long to throw up a bare bones profile - and it's free. It took me about 10 minutes to do mine. Admittedly, it's very brief. It's always worthwhile to take some time to promote your business in yet another way.