I want this site to be a dumping ground for things that I’m doing or thinking about, but I’m not going to make any concrete commitments about content or updating on a schedule.
I don’t tend to participate in the social internet very enthusiastically. However, one of the “projects” I’ve occasionally spent some time on is to improve my “personal SEO”. At the time of this writing, the Google search results for my name are somewhat embarrasing. In no particular order, they are
- My Github account,
- a defunct Twitter account to which I posted 7 times between 2009 and 2011,
- Several Stack Exchange accounts,
- An obituary for my grandfather, and
- My Correct Home Address
What‽ How is my home address a matter of public record? How can this site get away with publishing that as the title of a google search result? Thankfully, It was relatively simple to request that the site take down this information. I was also able to take down my wife’s information, but the site had a lot of bogus data for her entry.
I think the author knows they’re not running the most ethical service on the internet, which is probably why they were so quick to allow me to take down the information. However, [whitepages.com] claims to have my phone number, address, and arrest records – and I only have to pay them $5/month to find out what they are! At least those records are behind a paywall, and not on the first page of Google search results. Correspondingly, there appears to be no way to automatically request the removal of records from whitepages. Perhaps I’ll send their contact email address a message… But I digress.
What I’m mostly concerned about is that the search results for my name aren’t really representitave of what I’d like people that search for me to know, and that sensitive personal information is trivially available to anyone who cares enough to look. I’m not the type of person who likes to use a handle for everything (except usernames), so my name is intentionally attached to things that I want people to see (Github, this site, etc.), and inevitably attached to things I don’t want people to see (my embarrasing ancient Twitter account).
So, for the “personal SEO” project, my tentative goals are:
- Make the first page of Google search results appear “professional”
- Figure out how to delete that Twitter account
- Make this site appear prominently in the results (ideally first)
- Improve the first pages of other search engines
Another aspect of this project is that I’d like to start contributing to more open source projects. Hold me to that, okay? I just found out today that someone forked my Atom CPU12 grammar project (with attribution!), and it made me irrationally excited that someone found my derpy regular expressions useful. I want to make other people feel like that too!