Matt Koehler has an interesting post (Keeping track of the Koehlers) about his attempts to rise in Google’s rankings for searches on his last name. In the last few months he seems to have had some success judging that he has moved from page 25 to somewhere in the 3-4 range. So to keep a record of this (self admittedly) silly and vain pursuit he has created a page to track the other “Koehlers” in the world wide web (see here.) So on this page he lists all the Koehlers (corporations and individuals) ahead of him in the rankings and those that he has recently passed on his rapid rise.

And what is funny is that he provides links to all these different Koehlers!

Now here’s a self-defeating idea if there ever was one. By providing links to other Koehler’s websites, isn’t Matt raising their Google ranking, and thus helping them move ahead of him. So by making this list Matt is undermining the very cause he is trying to fight for!

So I would argue, the smart thing to do, in this situation, is to not create such a page at all, and if you have to create one, make sure that you don’t provide links.

Speaking for myself, I must admit that given my name, landing up on page 25 of a Google search is not an issue I have to think much about. There just aren’t enough names like “Punya” and “Punya Mishra” in the world. Though truth be told (I can be as silly and vain as the other guy), my ranking on searches for “Mishra” does leave a lot to be desired! There is this certain author — and we share the same first initial as well, no I am not providing a link :-) — whom I am not going to overtake in a long time. And there is this faculty member, with the same last name (who shall remain nameless and linkless, thank you) that I would love to rise above.

[Incidentally in his search for his name, Matt does not seem to have run into any googlegangers, at least not yet. Coming across another Matt Koehler would be interesting because each of them has the right to argue for their site to be ranked higher than the other person’s. I wonder how they will resolve that conundrum. Hmmm…