It struck me, at a recent conference, that when a speaker came on, several of the people in the audience started looking at their mobile phones. I knew what they were up to, because I was doing the same: seeing what I could find out about the speaker on Google. And it’s not just public events where this happens: it’s routine now for salespeople to look up prospects before a sales call, and the same thing might be happening in reverse. I even found myself idly “googling” someone’s online presence while talking to them on the telephone the other day.
All this means that it’s very important how all of us come across online, and especially the path to reach us via the search engines. Firstly, it’s worth just typing your name into Google to see what happens. It’s likely that you’ll share your name with others, and if that’s the case, it’s worth seeing if you can manipulate a page with professional information about you to jump out of the Google results for the people you’d want to find that page. For example, if a search for “Chris Rand” comes up with several pages of results in Google, covering many different individuals, the people I’d want to find me would also be looking for the term “BMON”. So I should be aiming to ensure that the result linking to the page about me on my business website (or LinkedIn, perhaps) prominently includes the name of my company. This means that when people scan down the Google results list, they’ll quickly spot “BMON” and know that’s the “Chris Rand” they’re after.
Does this matter? Yes it does, particularly for people who go out to represent the company and who are more likely to be “googled”. You want prospects to be led to a professional profile of them, showing their experience and authority. LinkedIn pages are excellent for this. But it’s important that people find that page, and not something trivial or out of date. Many companies now have an initiative to try to ensure their staff are presented online in the best possible light. Does yours?