The Wall Street Journal reports that in an age of Googling and online personas, names matter. But not exactly in the way Freakonomists think. No, these days, you’d do well to have an unusual name that will not leave you buried by more famous people in Google searches:
In the age of Google, being special increasingly requires standing out from the crowd online. Many people aspire for themselves — or their offspring — to command prominent placement in the top few links on search engines or social networking sites’ member lookup functions. But, as more people flood the Web, that’s becoming an especially tall order for those with common names. Type “John Smith” into Google’s search engine and it estimates it has 158 million results. (See search results.)
For people prone to vanity searching — punching their own names into search engines — absence from the first pages of search results can bring disappointment. On top of that, some of the “un-Googleables” say being crowded out of search results actually carries a professional and financial price.
Parents even resort to checking Google before naming their children, hoping to give their offspring a leg up in the online market of professional repute.
The Journal suggests a number of ways in which people boost their names in the rankings: cultivating their profiles on LinkedIn, signing up for services like Ziggs, even changing or augmenting their names to make them more distinctive. For example, “Jason Smith” became “Jason McC Smith.” Perhaps they should have mentioned blogging using your own real name as a means of self-centric search engine optimization.
What have you done to boost your rankings on Google? What would you be willing to do?