Removing a profile from Google

One the best things you can do for your blog and your online presence is create a Google + profile and link it to your blog and then link your blog to your Google+ profile.

But what happens  if you want to claim authorship for a blog in Google and you realize that you already have another Google account under your name that you want to keep private?

Or if you want nothing to do with Google+ but Google has created a profile for an email or other Google account that you do not want to make visible?

Here is how to remove profile visibility in Google Search for Google accounts you want to keep private.

1. Sign into google with the profile you want to keep private

2. Go here:

3. If your profile is visible you should see a page that looks like this:

Visible Google Profile

4. Choose to Edit profile
5. Scroll down
6. Click on line that reads Profile visible in search and unclick the box:

Remove Google Profile from visibility






Your profile should now read Profile not visible in Search like below:






7. Save and exit and that should remove your personal profile from search.

Evil kittens bring traffic

One of my blogging best practices recommendations is using your metrics to guide future topics. Topics that get a lot of traffic and keyword referrals deserve revisiting. Topics with no traffic are duds. While I’ve always intended to blog about search and social and other technology topics, I see that [evil kittens] is one of my top referrals. What this tells me is:

  • I’m not getting the majority of my traffic for the keywords I’ve optimized this blog for
  • The market for [evil kitten] posts is not saturated in the same way that blogs about SEO and Social best practices is (hence my ability to capture traffic related to [evil kittens])
  • I may need to address the evilness of kittens because the public needs to know
  • However,this blog is not about [evil kittens]
  • Yet

using rel=author tags on blogs to optimize content ownership

I came across this article, AuthorRank could be more disruptive than all of the Panda updates combined, this morning and decided it was time to practice what I preach. I’ve been advising our bloggers to link their blogs to Google+ as well as work on their Google+ visibility, and this post persuaded me it was time to update my blog.

There is a great Rel=Author Step By Step Tutorial For WordPress here for people who may not be on Google+ yet and it may work for most people.

But the instructions vary depending on your blog host and your theme. I host my own wordpress blog and it just so happened that I’m using a theme that does not support menus or allow for automatically adding a bio to each post. And despite the fact that it probably is time to update my blog theme, I was not feeling it this afternoon.

So I looked for another solution. Because this post, rel=”author” and rel=”me” in WP and other platforms, went a little deeper I was able to figure out why I was getting this error over and over again:

linked author profile =
Error: Author profile page does not have a rel="me" link to a Google Profile. Learn more.

The good thing is, you can test how your snippets will theoretically show in the SERPs here as many times as you like:

Here is what worked for me (YMMV so refer to the links above for more complete instructions):

  1. I finally updated my wordpress profile to reflect my actual name and not “admin” (I know, I know…) nameWordpress
  2. I linked my “Contributor to” to field in the right nav of my Google + profile page to my “About” page on my blog.
  3. Then I linked my blog to my Google Profile. To do this I added a badge with a link to my Google profile in my sidebar. However, if you use this tool to create a badge it will give you a “rel=”author” and in my case I needed a “rel=me.” Easy enough to change, but something to keep in mind. The Google instructions for tying your blog to your Google + profile did not make that part clear.
  4. Tested it in the Rich Snippet Tester
  5. Success!

Now I can make recommendations to our bloggers with a clean conscience. And it was a good exercise for me to set my Profile up to claim my own blog posts and start tying the topics I post about to my name and increasing my ownership and hopefully future visibility in Google.

Speaking at SMX West 2012

I am speaking at SMX West
I’ll be participating in a panel at SMX West 2012
on February 29, 2012. Details below:

Integrating SEO and Social Media – Get More Lift
Today’s search engines are leveraging social signals. For the past year, the search engines have been aggressively integrating social features into their SERPs. Why should companies care? One reason is reputation management. It is now more critical for companies to think about their brand and reputations not only with social media initiatives, but with SEO as well. So how can companies actively leveraging social media programs drive SEO benefits? How can brands generate popularity and loyalty by optimizing social media content for SEO success? This session will provide many of the answers. Attendees will take away new ideas for identifying tactics and strategies for effectively integrating SEO and earned social media efforts.
L. Jennette Banks, Web Search Marketing Manager and Digital Strategist – IBM SWG Web Search Strategy and Solutions
Tim Grenda, Content Specialist, Matrix Direct Insurance
Jeff MacGurn, VP of SEO, Covario

searchengineland’s 2011 year in review

I keep coming back to this article 2011: The Year Google & Bing Took Away From SEOs & Publishers in response to questions about why some metrics seem a little wonky, why we are having trouble monitoring our links, and why we can’t use Google result totals as measurements of keyword interest when Google Adwords does not have enough data. Luckily, there are some other options to look into as well as suggestions for possible workarounds.

I’ve started using Blekko for some of the same functions Google once provided and although Blekko is not perfect, it is certainly much more transparent with its data.

Here are a few links for guidance in getting started with. One hint, creating an account is free and gives you access to all sorts of data and tools.

Some resources:

Using Ubuntu to recover files on an unmountable windows harddrive

Recently I experienced what all web workers dread: the blue screen of death (aka, the BSOD). And on a Monday morning as I tried to boot up for my 6am status call, no less.  After I tried every last trick in the book to get my laptop to boot (last known good, safe mode, etc.) and used every single curse word I knew, it was time to move onto the many stages of data loss.  I didn’t have a sense of what was in my laptop and what was in the cloud, but I did know it had been at least 7 months since my last major backup. It was bad, at the very least everything I had been working on for the past few weeks was probably lost.  So, after confirming with the helpdesk what I already knew and arranging to have a new HDD shipped next day air from Lenovo (it arrived the next morning!) I moved on to getting the data out of my dead harddrive

And this is how I came to be converted to Linux.  Randomly, in my desperate  searches I came across this article Use Ubuntu Live CD to Backup Files from Your Dead Windows Computer.  The directions are extremely clear and I was able to go to the Ubuntu site, download Ubuntu Live, use Disk Utility on my Mac to burn a disk, and then boot my Lenovo with the disk (one tip, Lenovos and Thinkpads often require you to hold down f12 to boot from a disk).

I was lucky, because I was able to access my Windows files this way and download them all onto my external HDD (and yes, it would have been great if I’d done that before my laptop crashed).

I also bought a harddrive enclosure and attempted to access my old HDD that way once my new HDD was installed, but it would not be recognized.  I imagine YMMV, so that is also an option if booting from Ubuntu does not work for an installed HDD.

Manual Rank Checking in the era of Google Personalization

I’ve never been a proponent of manual rank checking (I’ve also called this “canned ranking checks”) as a reliable KPI for Search Marketing success, but with the “upgrades” to Google results in the form of personalization, my recommendation is that all manual rank checking be discontinued.

As Conrad Saam noted in SearchEngineLand last month in Excuse Me While I Have A Ranking Report Rant , ranking reports “convey progress while hiding failure. They distract from business goals and promote the misallocation of resources.” Personalization is one of the major factors as to why ranking reports are essentially a waste of time.

At SEMPDX’s SearchFest 2011 last week, Chris Sherman stated that personalization of results in Google is now the default. There is no way to completely turn off personalization and 60% of the results in SERPs are based on your secret Google “profile” based on your location, your search history, etc. You can’t get a “clean” ranking report anymore, so I recommend retiring this KPI.

Not showing up in SERPs is always a concern, but unless you can exactly recreate the experience of your potential audience in your own search results, your real and actionable data is in referrals to your site from Google. This is basic SEO, the goal of Search marketing is not #1 results in the SERPs; the goal is driving traffic from search engines to your site and gaining an audience of users with optimized content relevant to their searches.

Many Eyes as a graphing shortcut

Like many Digital marketers, I like data and I like charts. Getting access to the raw data and being able to play around with it is one of the best parts of working in Search (although I will also admit, a marketer with access to raw data can be a very dangerous thing).

Because I like data, I spend a lot of time with spreadsheets. I remember the first chart I ever made — I was so proud. It was a record of Google ranking improvements for pages due to changes made to title tags. It was also pretty ugly. In the years since, I’ve learned a little more about making charts legible and useful and many new ways of visualizing data have been introduced. I’ve spent a little too much time recently playing around with alphaWorks’ free Many Eyes tool. I spent about 2 minutes uploading some data from a comScore press release on September Search Engine rankings and then way too much time messing around with the data and creating all sorts of beautiful graphs. Like this one here:

You don’t have to upload your own data, you can also play around with existing data (and any data uploaded is fair game for other people to visualize with). You might say that Many Eyes is the perfect tool for those too lazy to put together their own graphs, but it has much more functionality than just graphing — you can make word clouds, map graphs and all sorts of cool stuff. And it’s also a good place to get started with graphs — especially if you have data, but not a lot of experience putting together visual representations of the data.

What I’ve learned in 10 years at IBM

old school under construction

This Wednesday I drove out to my local IBM HQ to get a new badge.  After 10 years, my magnetized badge no longer works with most of the new  badge readers.  I had to turn in my old badge, and when I hesitated a moment in handing it over to the security guy who made my new one, he was apologetic.  Apparently I’m not the only IBMer who feels nostalgic about his/her first badge.  But it’s not really the badge I’m nostalgic for, it’s the me I was a decade ago.  Ten years ago I came into IBM as an intern with training in Usability and Testing, Technical writing, and HTML.  I was so proud of my HTML skills.  I had several Geocities Web sites and a blogspot blog.  I cringe now when I think of the graphics and the coding and the silly stuff I posted to the internet (in Web 2.0, you  post pictures of your cat on Facebook, not your blog).  Mercifully, Yahoo finally put those Geocities sites out of their misery a year ago.  And the good thing is, I have learned so much in the past 10 years that those early sites do not reflect who I am and what I know anymore.

Ten years at one of the  largest technology companies in the world, working with some of the most talented developers, marketers, and business people in the world (seriously), has taught me a lot.   Over the years, I have learned how little I know (apparently there is more to the Web than basic HTML) and how valuable it is to surround myself with a team of people who know more.  And the best teachers I’ve had at IBM were the people who never came right out and pointed out the gaps in my knowledge, but instead patiently walked me through what I absolutely needed to know to get my job done.  I cannot thank those people enough — especially knowing that initially, I probably pissed a lot of them off coming in with my “great ideas” without a clue of what needed to be done to implement them.

My decade of learning experiences (many of them painful) have not made me give up on “great ideas” but I have a better understanding now of what it takes to be a good colleague in a large, multi-skilled, multi-country and time zone organization.  And one action I’ve learned is key no matter where you sit in the organization is to be respectful.  Some people call this by different names — having patience, being flexible, practicing kindness, etc. But if you always have Be Respectful at the top of your ToDo list, you will come to the end of each day with more goals reached and more of your humanity intact. And being respectful helps you create those teams of smart people you need to surround yourself in order to complete those complicated projects.  Some days it’s hard to remember and I let my eagerness to get the job done at any cost get in the way of being my most respectful self — I’m not perfect.  But each day is a work in progress.