Does Google know you exist? Or are you just another face in the crowd? A simple test.

Real Estate Agent with Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME

A face stands out in a crowd of people.

photo courtesy of _lmaji_

So simple, yet so powerful.

I was watching a bit of the Dakno TV feed from REbarcamp Lynchburg today when I saw David Patterson and our very own Clint Miller speaking.  The talk was great - there was a lot of territory that was covered, but one thing stood out to me.  It's simple, but says so much.

David was talking about Google and trying to figure out how "searchable" you were.  All of us constantly want to know if we're holding the #1 spot or if we are holding 3 on the first page or which keywords are being picked up in the latest post we wrote.  We love Google and the information it provides us and the information it gives people about us.  Google is your friend.

But does Google even know you exist?

David's simple cure to learning how important Google thinks you are is awesome.

Hop on over to Google.

Enter in two things to search for.  1. Your first name (no last name - just your first).  2. Your city.  (he also added state, so I would check both).

Look at the results page.

Where do you rank?

What does this tell you.

I live in San Antonio.  My name is Matt.  Google returned 8.27 million hits for that combo.  Matt isn't an uncommon name and San Antonio is a top 10 city population wise (we rank from 6th to 8th depending on who you ask), you can see how finding your face in the crowd might be difficult.

But there I am, on the first page.  Beaten only by Mexicans & Americans Thinking Together (M.A.T.T. - get it?) in ranking, little 'ole me is more important to Google than all the other people named Matt in San Antonio that have any sort of web presence.  Think of how many news stories contain the name "Matt" in San Antonio alone and you'll see why my head spins at how powerful this simple search is.

Try it yourself and see where you fall into place.

Oh yeah, Google knows I exist alright.


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Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Matt ~ That was fun. Turns out that "Elizabeth Cambridge" is a popular name - I didn't dig deep enough to figure out where I fell. But for Liz my blog is #2 - cool!


Oct 08, 2009 12:19 PM #10
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
RealtorĀ®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

That is interesting!  I ranked #2 thru 12 and scattered after that.  Wow!  that is wonderful.

Oct 08, 2009 01:36 PM #11
Brian Burke
Kenna Real Estate - Englewood, CO
Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate

LOL - that was fun. For 1 city I was from spots 3-10 LOL. There is a Rita B  hair salon that was holding spots 1 and 2. For two other cities I am also on the page 8 times from spots 1-6 and then a nurse + that hair salon are mixed in in the bottom. The hits come from Twitter, Linkedin Blogcatalog, our site, Activerain, Localism, our outside blog, WP blog... (in no particular order). Cool. ~Rita

Oct 08, 2009 01:40 PM #12
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Matt, This was fun to do because I liked the results. I was number one for both the city where my office is located and the city in which I live.

Oct 08, 2009 02:02 PM #13
Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

Hi Matt... this might have worked better for me if there were not a lot of people named Steve with the last name Dallas... including the fictional Steve Dallas of the Bloom County comic strip.

Oct 08, 2009 02:43 PM #14
James Malanowski (DRE #01373117) - Palmdale, CA
REO Broker, Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond, CA

1st of all, make sure your google web history is disabled or you'll get a false reading :)

When I search "James Palmdale" my 3 main sites are 7-9 on the 1st page but I'm at the top in the google business map.  Good for you, Matt, for being at the top of your list!

Oct 08, 2009 05:02 PM #15
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

I had to put Debra Homer Alaska but I came up first and second that way.... that was fun!

Oct 08, 2009 07:33 PM #16
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Wow, I have all 9 spots and the map for missy ann arbor.

I wonder if that would happen if it was from another state? I even popped up when I started the search.

Thanks Matt, makes my day.

Oct 08, 2009 11:42 PM #17
Jeani Codrey
The Learning Jeani - New Braunfels, TX
If you're not learning, you're not living!

Gee, I must be doing something right...I totally own page one of GOOGLE!!!  I can now officially go and have a fantabulous weekend!!!  Thanks for the post Matt...aka Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together!!!  LOL...Love it!

Oct 09, 2009 04:59 AM #18
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Steve - Yeah, Steve Dallas...that sounds like the name of a good guy in a old movie.  Or maybe even a bad boy character ala James Dean.  In cases like that it would be hard to tell.  I tried testing your name out and came out with all sorts of people named "Steve Dallas."  I tried "Matt Dallas" just to see if the name "Matt" might affect anything - turns out there is an actor named Matt Dallas.  Guess I won't be changing my name.

Missy - I tried "Missy Ann Arbor" (we're lucky to have two words in our city name - makes it more likely we won't hit Steve's problem) from here in Texas and I got the same results.  I think that's what you meant by what "would happen if it was from another state?"

When David told this to the crowd in Lynchburg he said use "firstname cityname statename" - I thought by pulling the state name you might get even more impressive results.  Either way, it does paint an interesting picture for you of how Google views you.  Knowing that Google thinks I'm more "important" than all the other guys named Matt in San Antonio shows me that Google is paying attention to me and likes what they see.

I hope more people catch on to this and see how it can be used to help them understand how to better their SEO rankings.

Oct 09, 2009 05:36 AM #19
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional

Brother Matt...

"Richard Newnan" was not as I would have hoped. Then I remembered that I optimize for Coweta and "Richard Coweta" garnered me the first FIVE positions!

Oct 09, 2009 05:40 AM #20
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Hi Matt, I did the same as you...  tried the variations.  Popped up #6 on bing using NC, but first on google both with city no state and 2nd using NC.  Very interesting test - gotta love the juice..  Didn't David & Clint do a great presentation together? 

Oct 10, 2009 12:37 AM #21
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Great post. When I checked, I had all 10 spots on page one, 8 on page two and 6 on page three. I am pretty happy with that result. Thanks for the tip Matt!


Oct 10, 2009 02:22 AM #22
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

I also tried my first name and one of the communities that I work in and had 8 out of 10 spots.



Oct 10, 2009 02:40 AM #23
Rita Fong
RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 - Marion, AR
Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale

Matt, this is fun.  I rank #1 and other 7 spots on the 1st page also.  Thanks for the tip!

Oct 11, 2009 03:09 AM #24
Karen Singbeil
Royal LePage Access Real Estate | Associate Broker | Personal Real Estate Corporation - Sicamous, BC
Living In & Selling Shuswap : Sicamous | Mara Lake

I am going to check now! Thanks

Oct 11, 2009 11:08 AM #25
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Hey Matt you made our day! Page one!  What we would like to figure out now is how to now which key words the public is searching! Any insight?

Oct 12, 2009 01:38 AM #26
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Al and Peggy - Google Analytics is the key to everything for me.  If you're just using your regular ActiveRain blog (not an outside blog) I recommend Clicky.  Once either has been installed, you can start reviewing what's happening to get people to your site and what's causing them to stay.  I spend every morning looking at my analytics to see where I'm at and what I can improve upon.

Oct 12, 2009 02:01 AM #27
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Matt..I did Hannah Philadelphia ..and i was at the top of the page right there with Hannah Montana me Hannah Williams not to bad..thanks for the info :0)

Oct 16, 2009 02:17 PM #28
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Matt, looks like I have a little work to do.  One city I came up fifth, in Alabama it was the second page for this boy.  But then Nick Saban is a tough act to follow in this state.  Thanks I'm going to work on that right away.

Oct 16, 2009 03:14 PM #29
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