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Three months ago, I married my best friend. There was no doubt I’d personally take his last name, but as I blogged about this summer, I was less sure about changing my byline to take his name professionally as well.
For a myriad of reasons, I did in fact change over my byline and every account I could think to change. That’s why my byline where I could change it now says Meranda Adams. My Google+, My Twitter, My Facebook, My LinkedIn, My Pinterest, etc. etc. etc. They all dropped Watling and gained Adams.
I Googled myself to see how I’m doing in gaining traction on the other Meranda Adamses of the Internet (the top one happens to live in my same metro area, which is unfortunate). When I search, my Twitter handle pops up first. Half of the links on the first page of results are ME. I felt pretty good about how the transition was going, confident I’d quickly regained my prime rankings.
But then a colleague and I were playing around with some of the Google Webmaster tools, and I saw a graph that literally made my jaw drop. All I could say was “Wow.” His immediate reaction? “What the hell happened on Sept. 16?”
In all of my preparations for my recent wedding, I didn’t plan for this one question that still lingers over me unsettled more than a week after the pastor pronounced me a wife in late July. How will changing my last name affect my SEO and search engine placement? Is it even OK to change my name professionally in the age of SEO?