Survey: Only 42% Of Americans Have Googled Themselves

Although the phrase “Google yourself” has become part of our culture, a new survey suggests that less than half of Americans have actually done it.

google ourselves chart

The numbers come from a December survey commissioned by Microsoft on the subject of online reputations. The survey polled about 2,500 consumers and recruiting personnel in the US, UK, Germany and France, and was just released to coincide with today’s International Data Privacy Day.

According to the survey, only 42% of US consumers have used a search engine to find information posted about them. That’s slightly higher than the 36% of UK consumers who’ve done so, but far less than in Germany (59%) and France (56%).

While those of us in the US may not be Googling ourselves, the Human Resources industry is picking up the slack. According to the survey, 79 percent of US hiring personnel say they review online information about job applicants, and 70 percent admit to rejecting candidates based on what they’ve found. Those numbers drop dramatically for each of the other countries surveyed, with France the most different: Only 23% of recruiters there review online information, and only 14% have rejected candidates.

More than three-quarters of the recruiters and HR professionals surveyed say they research job candidates via search engines, and more than half use a variety of social media sites:

  • 78% – search engines
  • 63% – social networking sites
  • 59% – photo/video sharing sites
  • 57% – professional and business networking sites

So, the next time you’re about to tell Twitter about some crazy weekend escapades, or post photos of your bachelor party on Flickr, keep this in mind: There’s a good chance you’re putting that dream job out of reach.

You can download the full study here.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Legal: Privacy | Search & Society: General | Stats: Search Behavior | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • chiropractic

    At first I thought 42% seemed rather low but then I noticed this was not a sampling of SEOs, Search Marketers, and Social Media peeps. One thing we noticed last year was more people emailing with requests to update contact info, professional designation (career or title changes), and content edits on articles they appeared in on our website. A sign that more people are taking reputation management into account and are making efforts to clean up what’s posted online.

  • Carter Cole

    im crazy so i Google myself constantly im Carter Cole i control so much of the SERP some data centers were even turning off the Google profile results for my name :) hehe… ive been trying to knock down a blank NYTimes article that has just my name and nothing else but their raw power is keeping them on first page even with no content it kinda lame but its a good challenge to try and beat

    im the only Carter Cole in the world! (except for that guy Cole Carter who is a male escort in London lolz)

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