By B.L. Ochman
Your Google About.Me Profile Impacts SEO. If you can find it.
If you’re not using Google’s new About.Me page you’re not alone. It’s practically a secret.
But it’s crucial for you to understand and use your Google About.Me profile correctly because it will affect both your online identity and your future Google search results.
And when the mysterious new Google Posts goes live for everyone, it’ll reference your Google About.Me profile also.
The new Google About.Me page – hard to find and ridiculously complicated to update, to put it mildly — replaces any previous Google profile you have created on any Google platform.
If you already have any Google account (YouTube, gMail, Google Play, etc) your About.Me page will most likely already include your name, image, gender, birthday, work history and current place of residence, among other details. You can edit and erase most of that information, though VentureBeat notes that you’ll delete your Google accounts if you try to delete your name and photo.
About.Me will follow you around the web
Content from our new About.Me page will follow you around the web like the ad for the shoes you bought six months ago. The information on your new About.Me page will become all or part of your profiles in Gmail, Photos, Music, Google Play, Drive, YouTube and other Google platforms – except Google+. (In YouTube and Play, Google says your profile shows “alongside content you share” but I haven’t seen any examples of that.)
This new Google About.Me profile also isn’t part of the popular about.me social network that has been around for years and which allows users to share their personal profile and network with other members. Nobody knows why Google would usurp the name of a popular website. (But then again, when they renamed the company Alphabet, they had to buy it from the guy who already owned it for years.)
What Google+ Users Need to Know
The change is particularly absurdly complex for anyone who used or still uses Google+.
When Google massively overhauled the Google+ platform in November 2015 they detached many popular features including Hangouts, photos, YouTube integration, events, access to local business pages and business reviews — and your profile.
What your Google+ profile lost and how to get it back
Hangouts and Hangouts on Air now have their own landing pages, as do Google Photos and YouTube Channels and YouTube events. And your profile has its own landing page also – called About.me.
In what Google now calls “Classic Google+, you could use thousands of words and links and images and videos to describe yourself and explain why people should work with you.
You could format that profile to look pretty nice, but it’s all messed up now and can’t really be changed. It exists only in Classic Google+, which is probably only going to be around for another couple of months, and which will take that profile with it when it goes.
In what G+ now calls your Profile, you can still change your headshot and cover photo (both of which have new sizes), as well as what Collections and Communities you’d like to have displayed on your profile. But everything else about you is contained on and edited through your new ‘About.Me’ profile page. In the new Google+, this is all I can show in my profile:
Google’s About.Me support page – unclear as usual – says it lets you manage your various Google profiles from one place and control the personal information you’re sharing, via elaborate privacy settings. But that’s not entirely true. You can’t combine the profiles of your various Gmail addresses into one profile, for example.
Now, Google engineers continue to call one tab in the new G+ “Profile” – even though it does not actually contain information about you.
In their inimitable manner, they don’t explain on their “Help page” that none of your actual “About” information – like where you work, what you do, links to your online content and contact info – is included in the new Google+ profile.
Who you are, what you do, how you can be found online – now resides on aboutme.google.com, a separate page that is not part of Google+, but that is connected to it.
Google says,confusingly as usual:
“Profiles in the new Google+ have been streamlined and simplified. They include your Collections, Communities, and posts.” People using the new Google+ can only see your new Google+ profile
Drink This Alice!
The truly serious confusion comes from the fact that there is a great big button on your masthead in the new Google+ that says “Edit Profile.” It sticks out on the page the way “Drink Me” sign stuck out to Alice in Wonderland before she fell down the rabbit hole. But that Edit Profile button won’t take you to your new about.me profile, Alice.
Remember, we’re dealing with Google engineers here. Clarity is not one of their strong suits.
To get to your About.Me, you need to click on the ridiculously small “i” that is directly next to the huge “Edit Profile” button.
Yes, you are correct dear reader: that makes no sense. But don’t give up yet!
The information you choose to make public on your new Google About.Me page is pulled into your description on the new Google+ and on all other products. How much of it, and where it’ll go is not clear, at all. But here’s how your About.Me Google profile will display on Google+ and all Google products that feature a bio -once you create or update it here:
How to rock your About.Me google page
So much for the backstory. Let’s move on.
Everything we need to know about you is now housed at http://aboutme.google.com, which – confusingly enough – is still pulled to and from Google+. You now get the option of deciding which parts of your profile are visible to which of your circles, so you still need to pay attention to those (if you ever created any.)
You can change what other users of Google products see about you. For instance, when you connect with people on apps like Gmail or Hangouts, you can choose to share certain additional information with them, like your birthday and phone number.
Note: Your name and photo (if you choose to add one and elect to share it) will be shown to other users across Google products, including when you communicate or share content. If you don’t upload a clear headshot, people will just see a blue head with no face – surely not how you want to present yourself.
Love it or hate it – but don’t ignore it
As many marketers – including this one – have noted, it sometimes appears that Googlers have no clue how business people actually use their products.
I’m reserving my judgment because the new G+ is a Beta. It is in flux, with features coming and going, and it’s going to keep on changing until the Google engineers think it’s done.
But I’m paying close attention to my About.Me page and so should you if you want accurate information about you in Google search.