Google wants you to profile yourself and it all sounds so inviting. A Google profile is simply how you present yourself on Google products to other Google users. It allows you to control how you appear on Google and tell others a bit more about who you are.
As an extra inducement, they now give you greater control over what people find when they search for your name by showing Google profile results at the bottom of name-query search pages, at least in the U.S. and Canada.
Danny Sullivan has an excellent article on the mechanics of how Google profile results improve people search. Barry Schwartz has also provided details on the slightly clunky way you can verify your google profile. Since this is all linked to social networking, you might have thought it would link in with Orkut, their ailing attempt to create a social space. Not so, in fact it requires you to at least create a profile in their Knol space, even if you do not feel the urge to add to the fund of human knowledge.
I wondered how many people are going along with Google in creating profiles. It seemed to me that a good test would be to check out some of the 38 leaders in the world of organic search engine optimization that had contributed to the SEOmoz Search Engine Ranking Factors Version 2 study. This is how they seemed to be working with profiles, at the time this was written. Clearly results may change over time.
Google Profiles for SEO leaders
|Good Profile with Verified Name (7)
corrected April 27, 2008
|Good Profile with Non-Verified Name (10)|
|Minimal profile (6)|
|No Profile (15)||
It will be interesting to see how this evolves over time. As Marshall Kirkpatrick points out You Can Change What Google Says About You whenever you wish.
Google also offers a way of deleting your Google profile, if you feel that is to your advantage. However it adds the somewhat ominous Note: Once you delete your profile, you won’t be able to get it back. Given that it is unclear how Google profiles might be used in the future, that leaves you with a somewhat risky decision.