Google Yourself: The Man with Two Names

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Google Yourself: The Man with Two Names

“Google-ing” myself was a particularly interesting assignment for me because I sort of have two names.  Legally, my full name is Thomas Jacob Stresen-Reuter, but for my entire life I have gone by Jake Stresen-Reuter.  I was very interested in seeing how this would create different search results for different names and I definitely was not disappointed.

Thomas Stresen Reuter

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Upon conducting this search, the first thing that I noticed was the very interesting image results that came about.  Now that I know what I know about SEO and Image Tags, I suppose I am not surprised to see such diverse results as Google likely returned images with Stresen Reuter in the tags.  I recognized some of the images and names from the search, but I am mostly estranged from this side of the family, so do not really know these people on a personal level.  In fact, the search results for this search were mostly a range of pages related to others with this last name.  I did notice a “White Pages” looking result with my age and location as one of the results that I found interesting.  I also found a posting that listed my position as a graduate assistant from a few years ago.   My current Facebook page for this graduate program was also found on the second page of this search.

Jake Stresen Reuter

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This search actually yielded more results that were specifically catered to me.  It’s very interesting that my unofficial name would have more results about me than my legal name.  I suppose in the sense of privacy and “big brother” issues, this is a good thing for me because I don’t necessarily want all of my information out there.  The images that were returned were at least me at the beginning, but there were still some of the same images of people from before.  My current job came back as one of the early results which I liked.  Also, my wedding registry came back as an early result which kind of surprised me.  Some of my graduate program social media account returned in this search, but my personal Twitter did not come back in this search.  Overall, this was definitely the more effective search when searching for me. 

In conclusion, the most interesting thing I took from this assignment was the fact that my two different names really led to completely different search results.  I was surprised to see how many more relevant results came from searching my non-legal name.  One other thing that I found particularly interesting was a search of my common screen name for various services (jakereuter10).  I have used this name since back in the days of AOL Instant Messenger and the results for this search were definitely an in-depth profile of my online accounts and interactions, including social media and various message boards that I participate in. 

Do you have a “screen name” that you have used a lot that might create an interesting Google search?

What are possible SEO benefits/complications that can result of my having two different names?

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6 thoughts on “Google Yourself: The Man with Two Names

  1. Is that you, the purple man in the search results that appears to be singing??
    Your situation of having 2 names is interesting. I am sure you use your full name on legal documents and the like, which would make me think it would have the higher search listing. I am not married, but I imagine if I recently was, there would be 29 years of just ‘Lesley Geyer’ out there on the web, and less with my married name. That is an interesting question/thought: how do we reconcile our dual identities online whether is be a legal name/nickname or maiden/married name.

  2. I haven’t thought about how a consistent screen name would play in Google, Jake, but that’s an excellent point. As you saw, it returned a more accurate profile of your online life that the other search terms. I don’t have a default screen name that I use across all social media and now, thanks to your search efforts, I never will. 😀

  3. You had a pretty unique predicament this week Jake! I think when it comes to SEO for business, I think that it’s important to maintain consistent information so that the “googlebots” can easily find you and link all of your information. I don’t think it’s as important for an individual profile to have increased SEO, so it could be a benefit that your harder to search and link information to. SInce the AOL days I have always been the type to change my profile name and email addresses 1,000 times so I don’t think any of my emails, screen names or handles would yield a ton of results.

  4. Hi Jake!

    What a unique situation you’re in! I loved that you had the ability to search two very different names and yielded completely different results! I think it makes sense that you would get more results when using Jake rather than Thomas – if you’ve gone by Jake you’re entire life, I would assume that more things would be associate with that name. I could see where having two names associated with the same person could get confusing – especially if someone is trying to find specific information on you. However, the upside is that one name could stay relatively untouched and you could clearly go work for the CIA or something. 😉

    I have used the same screen name since college – lutt06. I just Googled that (thanks for the idea) and got my Instagram profile, something from TheBump.com (whaaaat?) and the flipping Knot.com again – I cannot get rid of them!! On the second page of results, I actually found one of my blog posts from this semester! In all honesty, I thought I would have found a lot more…maybe I don’t use that screen name as much as thought…hmmm.

  5. I ran into a similar issue with my maiden name and now legal married name.
    OMG, as I am typing this I Googled my most commonly used user name and the horror!!! A TON of pictures from a Photobucket account I didn’t even know I had!! What a disaster!! Thanks for posing the question! The answer is clearly that user names yield better results than legal names. Here I go again, removing things I didn’t know existed from the internet.

  6. Thanks for the comments everyone! It is weird having such varying results from the two names, but since I am not particularly concerned with my own SEO, I kind of embrace the concept. Truth be told, I don’t think I want to be very searchable and it weirds me out to think of someone being able to see more about me than they already can. I’m also glad you all tried the screen name thing, I thought these were my most interesting results. Lesley, I most certainly am not the singing person in purple and I don’t think I’ve allowed a picture of me singing in YEARS lol.

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