Customize Your Google Search Results And Ego Surfing With Vizibility: An Interview With Vizibility Founder James Alexander
By on August 10th, 2011

vizibility-logoGetting found by potential customers is a real problem these days.

You maybe a company, an individual or a startup but if you are not being found by customers or recruiters, the chances of getting hired is really very thin. Ego surfing is becoming a standard practice and employers frequently Google the name of a person before deciding to hire them or avail their service. If they can’t find you from a simple Google search or land into the online profile of someone else, guess what happens.

There are millions of people who can’t be found through Google search just because:

  • they have very common names and Googling for their name returns thousands of similar results.
  • they have unique names which is impossible to spell.
  • they change their employers and career paths frequently and Googling their name sometimes show outdated results.

Fact of the matter is that you have no control on what gets displayed on Google when someone is searching for your name or company.

So how do you ensure that Google returns the links and results you want potential customers and recruiters to see, when they are searching for your online presence, Twitter profile, LinkedIn resume, personal blog etc?

Enter vizibility.com a simple approach to customize how you want to show your links and online profiles on Google search. Vizibility lets you add your social profiles, blogs, press mentions and other links to your Vizibility dashboard. By making use of Google’s advanced search operators, Vizibility lets you reorder and customize which links are shown on Google search, when someone clicks your Vizibility search me button.

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Vizibility’s PreSearch button is a proactive strategy where users pre-select the information they want displayed in search results. Through a simple wizard, the Vizibility service makes it a snap for users to quickly create and share the optimal Google search for themselves and their companies. Vizibility’s patent-pending service provides users with a free, permanent SeachMe link and button which return just these results. This PreSearch can be added easily to online profiles, websites, resumes, email signatures, business cards and anywhere else they have to be visible.

We had a chat with Vizibility founder James Alexander and he agreed to give us the following interview over email.

Amit: How is your service different from Google Alerts or the latest “me on the web” tool? Do you use additional signals like Twitter mentions or links?

James: We’re pretty excited by the fact that Google is helping to elevate a serious problem we’re uniquely positioned to address. By announcing Me on the Web,Google did not introduce any new functionality. Instead, the tool’ is essentially a new FAQ section on your Google account dashboard. They pulled together a small collection of related information and resources with a focus on trying to get people to create a Google Profile and build some buzz for their new Google+ service.

Where Vizibility differs is that we actually give individuals real tools that allow them to curate and share their entire online identity, getting anyone searching for them to their correct information in one click or QR code scan. At the same time, we deliver reports and metrics that allow users to monitor their search results and activity.

Vizibility users get a personal SearchMe button, link and QR code, which they can put on their online profiles (including their Google Profile), e-mail signatures, business cards, resumes, PowerPoint presentations or anywhere they need to be visible. We can even buy their name in Google with a personal AdWords campaign so users can be found by someone searching for them directly in Google.

While Google Alerts are helpful if you are receiving them for a trademarked company or brand name, alerts based on a person’s name alone are often inaccurate or irrelevant. These results are no different from Googling a person’s name, and our data shows that only 12% of search results based on name alone are about the actual person.

Amit: I see Vizibility uses Google search operators to customize what’s shown on search results when someone uses the Vizibility button. How does that differ from when people override with their own keywords?

James: Vizibility makes it very easy for users to take advantage of Google’s powerful advanced search features to help them curate their Google results, and get people to the right information about them in a single click. We call this a pre-configured search or a PreSearch.

While these advanced search filters are available to anyone using Google, Google’s own data suggests that less than 5% of all searchers actually use them.

Another key feature Vizibility offers exclusively is the ability to verify and rank your top five favorite results, allowing anyone to instantly see your best, most relevant results in a single click.

Amit: What if users simply shorten the URL of search results that Vizibility offers and use it rather than the button? What additional benefits would they miss?

James: While you can easily create a short URL that links to your long Google advanced search query, the minute you put that somewhere it’s locked in. If you switch companies or careers, change your name, or something old or irrelevant gets indexed by Google, that short URL is instantly outdated. You will need to build a new search, generate a new short URL, and update any sites or places where you have shared your old short URL.

With Vizibility, you can refine your curated Google results at any time without having to update any of your profiles, email signatures, or anywhere else you happen to share your SearchMe button, link, or QR code.

The Vizibility QR code can also share the user’s entire online identity along with their curated Google results, including their professional and social profiles, business card details, profile photo, and more, all through a true mobile experience.

Whenever a Vizibility user’s SearchMe button, link or QR code is clicked or scanned, the user is notified that they were just searched, along with the location of the person searching for them. Vizibility users also have access to metrics and reports informing them how their search results are changing over time, how often they are being searched, and the location of the people searching for them.

Amit: What about local search? Can users optimize their Vizibility button to get found for local searches? Like when a recruiter is looking for a programmer in a specific city rather than the whole web?

James: Vizibility does not directly impact or provide tools to take advantage of local search. However, by including your SearchMe button and link on your online profiles and bio, it will benefit from Google’s algorithms to deliver local results to searchers.

Amit: You say Vizibility is geared towards career professionals who want to control how search results are displayed? Can this model be gamed? Like my competitor setting up gimmicks or something similar?

James: While it is possible for someone other than you to set up a Vizibility account using your name, they will not be able to put it on any of your online profiles, email signatures, business cards, etc. Only you have access to update your profiles and other places. Simply creating a Vizibility account does not put it in circulation and in front of people who may be searching for you.

Claiming your place in cyberspace is an ongoing challenge and Vizibility can play a key role in helping individuals take control of their online identity and make a killer first impression. If someone is hijacking your identity by setting up websites, blogs, profiles, etc. under your name (whether they include a bogus Vizibility link or not), it is important that you take appropriate measures to combat this. While removing content from the Internet is not our specialty, there are services available to help. For example, Vizibility has partnered with Reputation.com, the leader in online reputation management, to offer services in this area.

Amit: How does the analytics of Vizibility work?

James: Vizibility users have access to two online reports: Search Results Change Report and User Metrics Report.

The Search Results Change Report monitors your search results over time, highlighting results that are new, and those that move up and down within your custom search. Similar to a credit monitoring report, this allows our users to watch their results and make changes to their PreSearch if they see something show up that should not be there. In addition to online access to this report, each customer receives a monthly summary of this report, highlighting any changes to their top results.

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The user metrics report allows users to track activity on their SearchMe buttons, links and QR codes, including the location of each click. Users can also receive text message and email alerts every time a person searches for them using their SearchMe button, link or QR code.

Amit: Can you put some light on the feature “Buy Your Name in Google?”

James: Our Premier Pro and Business accounts include the buy your name in Googleservice. We set up and manage a personal AdWords campaign so these customers can easily be found by someone searching for them directly in Google. The ad links to their Vizibility SearchMe link, directing the searcher to their curated results and alerting the user that someone has just searched for them.

Amit: One disadvantage of Google Profiles is when individuals have very common names and their profile is lined up with several other Google profiles on search results. How can Vizibility help them in this regard?

James: The way in which Google Profiles appear in Google search results depend on several variables, including location of the person searching in relation to the location of the person being searched. One way that Vizibility can help is by creating a natural organic SEO benefit for our users. By linking to your SearchMe link in multiple locations (LinkedIn, blogs, online profiles and bios, etc.) that Google can index, you are improving the relevance of your SearchMe link.

Over time, your SearchMe link, as well as your top five verified results, will benefit from this increased relevance and start to move up. Make your Google Profile one of your verified results, and it will eventually be more relevant than the profile of others who share your name.

To demonstrate the power of Vizibility and SEO effect it has, just Google my name James Alexander. Two years ago you could not find me in Google. Today, I am the number one result.

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Amit: Indeed it is. Thanks James.

And following is a video interview where James Alexander talks about the objectives of Vizibility and how the service lets you curate your Google search results:

I just Googled myself and found there are 2,710,000 results for my name. It’s about time I get my Vizibility pre-search button.

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Author: Amit Banerjee Google Profile for Amit Banerjee
Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee

Amit Banerjee has written and can be contacted at amit@techie-buzz.com.
 
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