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Few things today are as valuable as your online identity. From protecting to your name or brand to monitoring what people are saying about you to trying to influence what pops up first on a Google search, managing your online identity is both important and difficult.

When it comes to search, you have little control over what people are saying about you on other websites and you can't guarantee that the most pages will have top SERPs when people look you up.

But thanks to the new and improved Google Profile pages, you have options. Originally launched in late 2007, Google Profile pages have been used with a number of Google services, like Google Maps and Google Reader.

The other day, Google announced that Google Profile pages have made their way to the search engine. When a name-based query is made, Google will display Google Profile results at the bottom of the page, giving searchers easy access to Google Profile pages that are a match. There's plenty of information you can add to your Profile page and according to Google, profiles that are "comprehensive enough" have a better shot at showing up in the SERPs, a not-so-subtle hint that providing more information is the best approach for those who are eager to rank. For those who don't want to spill the beans, a first and last name is all that's required to set up a valid page.

Getting a Profile page is easy: just search for "me" on Google and you'll see a link at the very top of the results leading the way. Or, you use the less-nifty method: go straight to http://www.google.com/profiles.

If you don't have a Google Profile page and don't want one, you may still benefit from this update as Google is also providing links that make it easy to search for profiles on popular social networking sites.

Needless to say, this is a smart move by Google. People are often frustrated by their 'search appearance' and it's nice that there is now a way to potentially exercise some level of control over that.

At the same time, however, it will be interesting to see whether or not the inclusion of Profile pages in the SERPs leads to abuse. Obviously, since Profile pages are free and easy to sign up for, it's possible that black hats will attempt to abuse them to get into the SERPs. It's also easy to see the downright mean using Profile pages to attack individuals they don't like. Hopefully Google has already considered these issues and planned for them appropriately.

Photo credit: d70focus via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 23 April, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2380 more posts from this author

Comments (11)

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David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

Nice, now more people have control over their reputation online, but good point its easy enough to setup a "trusted" gmail account and create a fake profile, im wondering how long until they move towards the Google Local Business Center model where you have to have something posted out or receive a sms to verify your details.

While this can be spammed still it does take a lot of the automated spam bots out of the picture...

over 7 years ago

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Rufus

I had the same problem with the search for 'me' not working. I then went to the create page by another route and filled out the profile. It gives the following error:

Failed to save your username. Please choose another username and try again.

Given it has me logged in under the username i always use I am loathe to try another username. I am no longer sure whether i can be bothered to fill this out. The ptofile url I chose says that name is available, which is no suprise as it is a fairly uncommon name.

I think maybe I should stick to naymz, linked in and blogger.com if this is causing errors and suggesting I abandon my standard username.

over 7 years ago

Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles, Tech Reporter at Econsultancy

That's weird. I wonder if the "me" search only works in certain locations.

over 7 years ago

David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

i seem to recall matt cutts saying on a tweet that it was only functional within usa at this time...

over 7 years ago

Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles, Tech Reporter at Econsultancy

David,

Yep that's it. I see the Profiles promo when doing a "me" search through my proxy, which has a US-based IP. I don't see it when I use my connection's IP (from here in Chile).

over 7 years ago

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Louis Smith

To be honest, I'd much prefer to manage my personal reputation with a site i trust with my info! i use http://www.yasni.com for anybody that doesn't just want to be a slave to the google corporation!

over 7 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

Good luck controlling this Google.

Fake Steve Jobs. Fake Eric Schmidt. Fake Larry Page. Fake Sergey Brin.

No I'm the real Eric Schmidt.

Please fax us your driver's license.

No problem.

Seven drivers licenses for three real and four fake Eric Schmidt.

This is among the more stupid Google initiatives of which I have heard and there have been some doozies (web accelerator anyone?).

over 7 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

I forgot to note: the admin costs of this passport control system will make it one of most expensive failures at Google.

The YouTube purchase looks cheap in comparison.

over 7 years ago

David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

ah but here is the great part it is currently just for US ip addresses, so maybe its to encourage US citizens to return home otherwise they risk being at a disadvantage...

since @Patricio confirmed that if you setup a US ip, you can do it, so as @Alec said, welcome spammers setting up fake profiles...

over 7 years ago

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Daniel

I was wondering if this was for personal use only, or if it as advanced as allowing for business profiles? Would be good to know.

about 7 years ago

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Sabrina C

This is a great article and I completely agree that is extremely relevant to manage your online identities while making sure that the content that employers or prospects find about you on Google, creates a positive impact. Creating an online profile that allows you to dictate your web presence be it, big or small, is a great idea.

about 5 years ago

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