Saturday, April 28, 2007

Google Order of Things

On my research webpages, I have information and images about various projects my group is working on. These pages include information about collaborators on the projects because I want to provide an accurate view of the projects, give credit to the people I work with for their part of the research, and also highlight the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the work.

Recently, one colleague asked me to change how I mention him in one of these research webpages. He was upset because he had discovered that when people Google his name, my pages appear ahead of his own, and he doesn't like that order. He even suggested that I delete his name and include only a picture without a caption. I told him that I thought it would be bizarre if he weren't mentioned by name on the webpage describing the project, as we'd worked together for 6-7 years, had written numerous papers together, and it was well known in our field that this was collaborative work involving both of us. And I wasn't going to delete the citations of our publications. He admitted that his suggestion was strange, but nevertheless he still wants to change his Google order.

In the interest of being a nice collaborator, I will try a few things. I can change how I mention his name (maybe by using his first initial instead of writing out his first name) or by putting him on a subsidiary page that fewer peole would access. I think he could also do a bit of work himself to make his own pages more accessible and interesting, but he seems to think it is something I need to fix. I guess I could put his name on my YouTube cat wrestling videos so as to bump the research page down more in his Google order, but I suppose that would make the problem worse..

44 comments:

Auntie Em said...

He needs more links to his page, not fewer, in order to bump himself up the ranking. I know there's more to Google's (proprietory) page rank technology than that, but more inbound links to his site will help. Get him to see if any of his professional affiliations have "link directories" for their members. And get him to link himself from his blog, if he has one. Taking his name off your page won't help him at all.

Seems like an odd request though - I'm glad my professional affiliations show high in my Google results. It's not hard for someone looking to me to follow a link from those sites to my own. An I figure that (until I'm very much more experienced in my field) folks are more likely to find me through my lab than they are tp Google me directly.

Oliver said...

or you could link every instance of his name to his own site ;)

Alexander the Great said...

It's been mentioned already, but what your friend needs to change the order of Google's results / ranking is more links that have the man's name as anchor text. Like this - just swap the round parens with pointy ones:

(a href="his site")his name(/a)

Google is a subject I'm deeply interested in, as it makes the difference between the Internet being useful vs overwhelming.

Also, I clicked a link I noticed to your blog because a very close friend of mine is in fact a female science researcher, and part time professor. Conversations are always fascinating with her.

molly said...

i logged on your blog because i'm really new to the blog world and i find it curious, as i'm logging in, to see these multiple site titles go zooming by....yours popped up this morn and 'click' here i am. i just read about half dozen of your posts and THEY ARE GREAT! totally interesting. i love your subtle yet apparent struggle with the male/female dynamic in your line of work.

and, then, this first post was perfect because i was just about to write about googling myself (which is a funny concept anyway!). i won't bother to comment on your fellow worker/friend's issue because i think your post said it all.

(i also loved your post about desktops!)

CoralPoetry said...

Hi,

You have an interesting, eloquent blog. I shan’t follow any links to cat wrestling. It is probably an illegal blood sport in some parts of the world. In my experience, the only catfights I have seen are the human variety. The feline types tend to pounce, squeal a lot, and roll over in submission for about two seconds, then retreat at great speed.

Anyway, as a scientific person, I am curious about your position on the current debate about Intelligent Design, which, apparently is a totally different concept from Creationism, but I think both camps have decided that the Earth no older than 6,000 years, despite all the fossils embedded in amber and rocks that prove otherwise. Do they really mean that the Earth only started to spin when man appeared and started using the resources he found?

Regards,
Coral

CoralPoetry said...

Hi,

I just read the previous comments about Google and Technorati rankings. Would you like to swap links? I have some interesting stuff at my site.

Regards,
Coral

Erica Friedman said...

Sounds like your collaborator doesn't really understand rankings at all. Your pages come up first because they are more relevant and popular. If he wants to fix that, removing his name isn't the way to go about it. To fix it, there's about half a dozen things he would need to do - including maing his pages *more* relevant than yours.

Sounds like he's got some issues that have nothing to do with the pages...

Great blog by the way. I'll be adding it to my regular reads.

pluto said...

Yep, Erica said pretty much what I was thinking. This is a guy whose problems go deeper than Google. Why don't you set his mind at rest by reassuring him that he's such a non-entity no-one would ever google his name anyway? Except himself, apparently. He probably does it hourly and never gets tired of it. Until you spoiled for him, that is.

Magic Bellybutton said...

That was a very odd request. I for one am always surprised if anything I've written appears in a google search.

Why was he googling his name, anyway?

Female Science Professor said...

Yes, this colleague definitely has Issues, but however bizarre his request, it seemed rude to say I wouldn't even try to modify my pages.

James said...

Excellent Blog!
Your friend needs a little dose of humility! Sounds like he is driven by a need for recognition. Does he drive an SUV? :)

Speedcat Hollydale said...

Your site is very "google strong" indeed. People need to realize that once online, your anonymity is lost. Bad manners by Mr. Jingles - you did nothing wrong.

By the name of your page I expected something entirely different. I was pleasantly surprised. :-) Your blog is fun to read! This is one reason why you get so many hits.

I envy your content. Very nice.

Speedcat Hollydale: (where will I come up on google now?) LOL!

"The Captain" said...

Great blog!!! you made some good points.
Jeff

Preston's Page said...

I am the proud grandfather of four granddaughters. I want them to grow up knowing aboaut and considering careers in science.

Any adivse or suggestions on how to do that would be apprecaited. Oh, they are still very young, 6, 2, and two less than one year. It is never too early, is it?

Thanks for your attention.

Preston

Sparks said...

Bullshit! The key phrase is "HE wants to change his Google order." Why doesn't he have enough hits to accomplish this on his own? Perhaps WIRED will do a piece about colleague assholery, with his name mentioned prominently, and the resulting hitfest will point Googlers to WIRED, where his address will be linked.

Tareq said...

This reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld where a fight between the friends occurs for "who is listed first in the Speed Dial memory!!

nice story though...

How is he feeling now?? :)

jessica said...

Hello

I have been Writing and reading Blogs for a few months now and I have to say I see some unusual blogs out there, but your blog got my attention. I really enjoyed reading it and If I were you I would go to http://www.autosurfmonster.com community which I and many of my friends belong to and let thousand of others see your blog for free,. I will add your blog to my favorites and I will check back for updates. I wish you warm regards and continued success.

Jessica

Lexcen said...

I suggest you link your colleagues name to "Vanity". This might help.

Am I a woman scientist? said...

Yikes...

What site did you get linked to that picked up so many trolls? Was it having the word G**gle mentioned so many times?

Constella said...

Been through your page interesting read

zahir said...

Dear FSP,

You noted:

"I am a full professor at a large research university, and I do research in the physical sciences. The physical sciences include chemistry, physics, astronomy, environmental science, geoscience, oceanography, and related fields."

Wow! Did I misread this? Or are you explaining that you do research in all of those areas, or are you merely explaining what are the physical sciences?

If the former, what particular domain of research might that be?

And at least your colleague trusts you enough to confide in you his great apprehension/insecurity.
Perhaps he thinks of you as a friend too?


Thanks and regards,
Zahir.

Nasim Fekratْ said...

Interesting blog, I like it.

from Afghanistan

Peace

Anonymous said...

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Lord Ruryl said...

Interesting blog, adding it to my bookmarks now...

Keep up the good work.

A Peruvian in Australia...

Rain said...

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my blog
www.zlykyo.blogspot.com

priya said...

zrrxsGood blog
keep it

Hello from priya

rockofgalilee said...

I don't think its vain to google yourself, especially if you are in a public position where a lot of your funding comes from grants. If the first thing on Google that comes up is negative people will have a negative impression. So it is understandable that he would want his own website to come up first when his name is typed in.
It is also professional courtesy for you to do something to try and help him out, though I definitely agree that he should be helping himself out first.

Barsawad said...

What an interesting informative blog! I am glad I clicked on and read some of your very interesting fine posts. Know: that you now have a fan, way out here in a remote part of Yemen!

chtank said...

I hope you don't mind if I don't care what your sex is or your age or anything but the fact you do research in all my favorite fields. Regretfully, my GI Bill ran out before I could complete my senior year in physics/CHemistry double major, so I went to work for a living. I am now retired, born in 1933, after reaching the title of Principle Mechanical Designer with Parson's Eng. Corp., Petorchem. Div.
My blog is http://chtank.blogspot.com/ and I would welcome comments and colaboration on any or all of my projects.
Yours
chtank, aka, tank, gramps, and Q (from Star Trek)

etbnc said...

Q: Why the sudden surge of comments?

A: Because FSP was listed as Friday's Blogspot Blog of Note: http://blogsofnote.blogspot.com/

Congratulations, FSP

And though that notoriety won't necessarily increase your Google ranking, it sure won't help your vain colleague's ranking. The words "poetic justice" come to mind...

Cheers

Ana said...

Pretty great read some posts here. I saw our blog in the web site of blogger as Intesting Blogs and I came here to check. Congratulation!!

ana.passarella@gmail.com

R2K said...

Wow I love female science professors. They are the best kind! My geology professor was so cute!

A.R. Linder said...

My daughter, unlike her mother, has shown great potential in the areas of math and science. My own experience, in a non-traditional field early in my military career left me less than objective toward these fields for women. I will certainly direct her to your site. Perhaps, your insight can help her with her career decision. Challenge the minds of your young people at YouthPlay.

WHISKEY PUZZLER said...

hi, am also making my own researches about alsmot everything, specially about females. or ladys. i could use some help. best regards.

Lisa Schaefer said...

I noticed you have linked to a few other female engineer blogs. Would you include my blog in your list too?
http://compositepost.blogspot.com
--Lisa Schaefer, Ph.D.

Garullas said...

I think your colleage needs firstly a good physicologist to help him on his trauma of being displaced by a woman. What a silly behavior.
on the other hand if he wants more aknowledgment, he should offer a rich website and sell more himself in the web.
We need more convinced women to work together with us, men, to have a better world. Sex is not a precondition of anything but brute force sometimes.

htw said...

Odd...now I'm feeling like I should google myself! New self-esteem issues to discuss with your therapist revolving around your online popularity ranking...everyday is just one d**n thing after another
;-)
htw

Anonymous said...

Hola. Que interesante situacion la tuya. Espero que te interese el idioma espaƱol y que algun dia podamos intercambiar correo. Yo tambien soy profesor de universidad, no como tu, claro.

Ben said...

Sorry this isn't related to your post but I thought you might be interested in this.

http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2007-04-11T16_59_10-07_00#

anon said...

Damn. I liked it way better when this blog wasn't linked to by some 'blogs of note' site. I think some of the regulars might stop commenting... Of course, the posts are still worth it.

As for the colleague, do as he says I guess. It's just another strange request that you agree to and do and forget about it. He's a collaborator and is probably a good person to keep in touch with and one with whom you can work well if you decided to collaborate with him earlier. Everybody has their quirks (if you want to call it that), or reasons. He must have read a NYT article that said "your Internet image is very important for prospective employees and for your career". That's practically every second article on the topic of the Internets these days. Most people don't check beyond the first two or three links, so he wants his site that makes him look good there.

There is a big philosophical debate behind the scenes on all that and a society that values commercialism and image a bit too heavily even in the sciences these days, but... I'm not going to go into it. Well, except to note that there are two people in my field who work in the same area and both have great results and the same number of good publications. One is much more known and has created a huge buzz around her, but the other guy no one really knows about. No website and no professional society magazine savvy means no love (i.e. less starry eyed incoming graduate students to do research).

Gary said...

tell the stupid wanker to jump off a cliff. by the way, if you're ever single again, or bored with your husband, i'd like to know you better :)

bsci said...

The easiest solution hasn't been mentioned yet. Whenever you mention his name on your website, you should provide a direct link on his name to his own website. First that means anyone who gets to your page instead of his will easily be able to find his own research. Second having a like to his page from his name on your prominant webpage will help bump up his own page's link to his name.

The other thing I did with my page was to make sure the search tags in the webpage header list my name in every possible format anyone can type it. I assume it will be the only page with his name in the search headers, which does wonders for helping searches.

Ancient Clown said...

Blessings:

This post caught my attention from the standpoint of Vanity and Wonder, for if you google my name("ancient clown"-in quotes) my site is the first thing that pops up.
Which makes me wonder and is vain of me to mention.
From the standpoint of perspective I would invite you to examine my post on the Laws of Life"
I'd also like to point out;
"I don't think I know...I just know I'm thinking."
your humble servant,
ancient clown

LostinScotland said...

He needs to update is meta tags and then use google awareness stuff