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.

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.

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:

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.

Quick Review: Audience, Relevance, and Search

Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content

Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content

I’ve worked with many people on Search Optimization over the years I’ve been Search Solutionating and James, Frank, and Cynthia belong to a small subset of people I’ve met at IBM who truly “get” what the purpose of Search Optimization is.

I’ve never had to waste any time with them describing the “why” behind Search Optimization and Findability.  That alone is a treat — but also, I’ve learned a fair amount from working with them and a whole lot more from reading their book “Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content”.

This book is of a far higher quality than many of the  search marketing books I have read (or attempted to slog through) during the search engine book boom of the past 10 years.  James, Frank, and Cynthia provide a thoughtful  approach to creating content that improves the user experience of search AND of your Web site. Because it’s all about the content — a little detail that Digital Marketers often forget in their quest for  #1 rankings in Google.

As a Technical Search Marketer I said “amen” to many of the ideas presented in this book – not because I had already thought them myself (I wish!), but because James, Frank, and Cynthia put into words a way of talking about search that built on what I already knew and put it in a broader context of user behavior and relevance. I  did want tips and guidelines — and I got that. But I also came away with something I would not expect: A greater understanding of why the user experience of search works or doesn’t work the way it does.

This book also goes even further, providing suggestions as to how to use that new understanding to not just write content for a #1 ranking, but instructions on how to create better content for the user.

I think this book would be of use, if not a revelation in some cases, for anyone in Digital Marketing (from novices to experienced SEOs), bloggers, journalists, Web content creators, and anyone who does anything on the Web.

Flash: still not good for findibility

I’ve been getting reports from various sources that Google is now indexing flash “for real” this time and we don’t have to worry about using text to make sure search spiders and people with pagereaders can access our content. I did read the Google Webmaster blog post on Improved Flash indexing but I tend to take these types of announcements with a grain of salt. And I will admit, I like text. It works for me. I think 1000 words is worth 1000 words. And also, I am not a flash developer and could not determine if this new method was reasonable. I remained skeptical. But I also did a little more digging and came up with three blog posts that reinforce what my gut was telling me: If you want to be certain your content is findable and will rank well, continue to put valuable keywords in text and not in flash.

For a more indepth understanding, I recommend these posts:

I remain a Flash SEO naysayer.

Overture Keyword tool discontinued

It’s the end of an era. Barry Schwartz at SearchEngineLand reports that Yahoo has decommissioned the Overture Keyword Suggestion tool.

Although I no longer use it (I prefer the Google Adwords Keyword tool as my free keyword tool), I think it was one of the first keyword tools I ever used and one I have recommended to novice SEOers about, oh, about a million times.

It’s good news that we have more and better tools to use for keyword research (a very important part of any SEO strategy), but still I am a little sad to see it go.

Reflections on SMX Advanced Seattle 2008

This is not a summary of what I learned, just some random thoughts on the conference itself. I am not an SEO insider. I do inhouse SEO and do not mingle with the big players.

First off, this was far better than Search Engine Strategies conferences. I’ve attended 2 SES in the past (last one in December of 2005 — wow, times flies) and those confs are just too broad, too long, and the food is just terrible. At least it was last time I attended.

SMX Advanced was far more focused. Even if there was some serious black hattery, At least now I know what SEOs are really up to.

On the Presenters

  • MS Guy — not the right guy for the panel. All I will say is you should not be on the Bot Herding panel if you don’t know whether MS Live search honors the NoFollow tag. Everything he said after that I ignored because he had no credibility.
  • Yahoo peeps — very nice, but really did not tell me any thing I did not know or offer anything up that was truly exciting.
  • netconcept guys — really enjoyed their presentations and learned some stuff. And I will be mining their for data.
  • Matt Cutts — OK, even though he makes me mad sometimes and I don’t think he always gives the full story, I was pretty excited to see him talk. Interesting how everyone was talking smack about him, but still his session was packed.
  • Danny Sullivan — I brushed past him in one of the sessions. it was like walking past a pop star. Not that I think he acts that way and I have seen him at other conf, but I feel like I should ask for an autograph or have my picture taken with him. I am not so gauche as to ask, though,
  • I won’t call out the individual non-search engine rep presenters here, but I have two main comments on the sessions overall
  1. What about a good user experience?
    How about using blogs for something other than spam? Because as the blog manager for dW, I spend a fair amount of my time cleaning up the spam people are using as some sort of sick black hat SEO campaign. How does that improve the user experience?
  2. Some of the black hats were a little too irreverant for my tastes
    At one session, someone used an extremely offensive and homophobic example. Not cool. I think that if it had been racist, even in the mostly white audience, someone would have said something and the presenter would not have gotten the laughs and implied approval he did. That example left a bad taste in my mouth about the conf. But then, what do you expect from black hat spammers?

Thoughts on Seattle
This is only my second trip to Seattle. Compared to Portland, Seattle is more hilly, bigger, and with more water. Otherwise exactly the same. 🙂

To save money, you don’t need to stay right at the conf center. I stayed a mile away and took the free bus (free during all the hours I was riding around and within the area around the conf center).

I also did a fair amount of walking. Pike Place is super sketchy after 5pm and so is the area around the conf center. I still had to walk a few blocks from the bus to the conf center, so I would not recommend public transportation in these areas after dark.