If you want to be found via Google, here’s how — even if you have a common name

[Warning: This is a relatively geekish post, but if you want people to be able to find you on Google, there are some things you’ll find helpful in it.]

The search go-to guru of choice here on the RexBlog is Danny Sullivan. That’s because he does such a great job of explaining how things work as soon as they launch, like the new Profile Search results feature that Google started rolling out today on its search results page.

“Profile” results will be displayed at the bottom of each page, so that if you search for someone named (to use Danny’s example) “Peter Smith,” you’ll get some profile options like those from Danny’s screen-grab (the feature is not showing up yet universally).

You can also search directly for profiles of people (which is working).

Bonus tip: When editing your
profile, be sure to select “full name”
option to be found in search.

Danny’s post also provides a good tutorial for how to set up a Google Profiles page. And since Danny says that setting up such a Profiles page will help you get found on Google, then listen to him and do it.

(Sidenotes: You can find mine at the URL: http://www.google.com/profiles/rexhammock. Another reason to set up a Google Profile quickly, is to grab such a “vanity” URL. Also, unstated and a little to esoteric for this post is the way in which setting up a Google Profile page will help Google in its battle with Facebook over identity, “social graph” and “connect” management. Later on that.)

Here’s another tip for getting found via Google:

After you follow Danny’s instructions about setting up a Google Profile Page, do one more thing: Start using the rel=”me” tag on pages that you want Google to understand are related to you. I started doing this when Googler Kevin Marks commented on a long-ago post here in which I listed all the places I’m “expressing myself” online. He then linked to some “googlecode” gizmo that displayed how, if one wants, he or she can see where their “social graph connectedness” score needs improvement. As improving my social graph connectedness score is important to me (it’s right up there with making sure my shoes are polished), I started using the rel=”me” tag wherever I can use HTML in an “about you” field of a social media web service I use.

rel=me is a tag I add
to let Google know my profiles
are connected.

For example, on my Flickr.com profile, I use the name “rexblog” because I set it up years ago and thought I’d only be using Flickr for this blog. So, to let Google know that rexblog and Rex Hammock are “me,” I added to my Flickr profile that list of “places along the rexosphere” and followed Kevin’s advice. If you view the source code of that list (see screen grab at right), you’ll note that within (geekish content alert) the a href=” ” code, I added the rel=”me” tag (Flickr automatically adds the rel=”nofollow” to all links as a link-spam prevention method).

The more sites you use the rel=”me” tag (which is, by the way, a microformat), the more Google can authenticate the veracity of your connectedness. I just made up that “veracity of your connectedness” phrase, however, it makes sense: if you’re pointing between sites you control and tell Google (through the rel=”me” tag) they are connected, Google will believe you.

Because I use the rel=”me” tag, when you search for my name on Google, you’re more likely to find various places Google now knows I am associated with, rather than listing lots of links from one place – for instance, this blog.

Again, sorry if this was more geekish than usual. However, if you actually want people to find you via Google, there are things you can do to raise your hand.