Muschamp Rd

Improving your Online Reputation

August 18th, 2013

Maintaining a blog is a lot of work, but it can help improve your online reputation. You can attempt to sculpt the search results for your name or keywords that matter but I have never been able to blog my way to a better career.

Much of the advice and screenshots below or dated but the basic premise of googling yourself and ensuring your social media profiles are professional or at least not offensive is important for job seekers and you guessed it once again in 2019 I am trying to find a new job.

The only constant is change

Although I’m far from finished improving my WordPress blog/theme, I’ve continued to make a number of changes to this website and elsewhere online that supposedly will help my personal brand and my search engine optimization efforts. Completely redoing this website’s taxonomy did not go unnoticed by Googlebot, but it didn’t result in any great increase in website traffic, so six years later I redid my taxonomy again.

Focus & Repetition

I’ve written before that two of the most important success factors in self publishing online are focus and repetition. Deleting over one hundred unfocussed posts and tightening up my taxonomy by repeatedly using certain keywords and phrases as tags may eventually yield positive results. I’ve also gone back and edited posts severely to try and improve their Quality. More and more Google and other ranking algorithms such as Klout give ever greater weighting to what happens outside of your domain and outside of your direct control.

My Google Results

My improved Google Results

Experts often write about what not to post online, but less gets written on what you should post online and which content you should be highlighting. You can overhaul your LinkedIn profile to make it more of a multi-media extravaganza as that is supposedly the next big thing in personal branding. However all your social media channels and your interactions with others on those channels factor into your personal brand

This is an example of a superior Google Search Result

There were some techniques involving Google+ that used to work for personal branding and search engine optimization. Alas Google giveth, Google taketh away. Nowadays you’re better off ensuring your structured metadata and online social media profiles are as focused and on brand as possible. Here are two articles I previously recommended:

“Klout-orship” or the Kloutification of Bing

Sometime around October 11th 2013, Klout and Bing announced an extension to their partnership and data sharing agreement. Alas this technique has also disappeared but it briefly made Bing more interesting. If you use Klout and you use LinkedIn and you use Bing and you have all three synched together and you jump through one or more other little registration hoops, you could get enhanced and personalized search results for your name.

Below are two screen shots that I believe show off how Klout, LinkedIn, and Bing are sharing data in an attempt to lower Google’s dominance of web search and thus online marketing.

This is some of the data shared between Bing, LinkedIn, and Klout
Improved Bing search results using data from LinkedIn

Beware Over Optimization

I ‘binged’ myself the other day which still sounds awkward to type and say. I searched for my full name in Bing and I was quite surprised to see Junior Dos Santos’s face next to my webpage.

Bing seems to think I am Junior Dos Santos ever since I pinned his photo

Junior Dos Santos is an MMA fighter who has twice lost to Cain Velasquez, after each of these loses his face has been badly swollen yet Junior is a cheerful guy who posts pictures of himself giving the thumbs up sign and promises to train harder and be back better than ever. I ‘pinned’ one these photos to Pinterest. I also redid my homepage to include the RSS feed from Pinterest. I also already jumped through all the hoops to let Klout and Bing share information, the end result? Bing thinks I look just like Junior Dos Santos after he has been in a 25 minute long fight.

A few days later at work I used Bing to search for “Andrew Muschamp McKay” and the photo of Junior Dos Santos was gone. 

My Bing search results with no Junior Dos Santos but plenty of Facebook images

People use Bing in China

I’m in China now so potential employers are probably Googling me less but Bing is not blocked in China. I still prefer Google by a wide margin and am glad I have a VPN for my personal laptop and iPhone. I made some minor textual changes to this post and tweeted it because it is still an interesting observation but I decided to try searching for myself and doing a proper update. I like the results for “Muskie McKay” in Google better than “Andrew Muschamp McKay” because now Google is displaying tweets and my handle is @MuskieMcKay because @Muskie was gone but has yet to make a single tweet.

December 2015 Google results for Muskie McKay

Old VS New Images

All the pictures Google chose are old. One is my official social media profile photo which is from 2004. The others are from when I worked at Building Opportunities with Business and I think were taken and posted by bloggers in the Downtown Eastside. Bing also chooses old photos nothing from Pinterest but Bing seems to rank Flickr much higher my Flickr handle is also MuskieMcKay. I don’t know if “Muskie” was gone or if I was encouraged to go first name + last name or in my case first name I wasn’t officially given plus last name.

Bing search results for Muskie McKay from December 2015

What of Baidu?

In China there is a national champion search engine. It and Bing are censored, so your options are use a VPN or use a censored search engine. I’ve left China but I searched for myself several times. Baidu indexes less frequently than Google or Bing and can not show images posted to most social media networks. Everyone uses WeChat in China and it is a mobile first and basically a messaging platform with many other features added.

Baidu search results for Muskie McKay

Having lived in China for years I’m perhaps not up on the latest greatest personal branding and search engine optimization tips, but I do follow several experts on Twitter and once again I’m overhauling this blog and updating old blog posts to see if that will help with my search engine results and job search. If you have thoughts or advice you can leave them below.


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