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Ever Wonder Who's Googling You?

Contributor:
David Silversmith
David Silversmith

You've done it.  You've Googled a coworker, an old friend or even yourself? Then you wonder, "Is anybody looking for me?"  While Google won't reveal this type of information you can find out when and where someone is searching for you.

Google (or Yahoo or Microsoft or any search engine) won't tell you who is using their search engine to look up information about you. Sure, in some countries a court order will get that data - but that is a bit extreme as a solution to being curious.

With a little work you can find out when and where someone is searching for you. Essentially you have to do a little publicity - create a "honey pot" that attracts notice. When visitors find your "honey pot" the owners of that site will tell you a bit about who is is searching for you online.

There are a number of sites that will to place information about you, your profile, high up in search engine results. The goal is that your profile is one of the first hits people will see when searching for your name. Once someone clicks through, these sites will provide you with an eMail alert. They can typically tell you a few things about the folks searching for you - letting you know what time your profile was searched, where in the world your searcher is based (sometimes you can get region, city or even a company name), as well as which search engine and what keywords were used to find you.

Sites to consider are:

  • Ziggs is your one-stop source for creating and managing your online brand. Market yourself on the Web and simplify how you stay in touch with people important to you.
  • Naymz - has a simple: A good professional reputation is the key to effectively networking with other professionals.  The basic service is free with the ability to upgrade to a premium service with more features.
  • LinkedIn - LinkedIn in exists to help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return. If somebody searches for you on LinkedIn you can learn about that - but LinkedIn does not necessarily help with your placement on a general search engine. 
  • Academia.edu -This site is targeted towards people who work in research and/or the academic world. You can find people with similar research interests and you can also set up your own profile and be notified once someone views you.

As LinkedIn and Adademia.edu show, data like this can help in real scenarios like job searchers getting alerted when recruiters view your profile and resume.  Also professionals or small business owners can get alerted when prospective clients are seeking them out.  But even if all you want is to feel the pulse of online searching for your name on the web - it can be free and relatively easy. 

Some worry about the privacy aspects, but this can even be an effective way to monitor privacy. You decide what to post in your online profiles and you find out when folks are searching for you.  That's actually better than just wondering what's up with folks searching for you.

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