Need help hiding my name online!!
June 19, 2008 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Keeping my name private on my website - can robots.txt help?

I only use my first name on my website, for privacy concerns, but my husband is a public person (professional comic book artist) so he uses his full name.

I just noticed today that if I google my own name, my website comes up as #1 on the search listing. I think this is because I have linked to my husband's site (the URL is his name) so now google is finding my first and last name together and referencing my personal website.

Is there a way to write a robots.txt file that will discourage robots from finding my name on the site? My alternative is to replace all instances of linking to his site with a tinyurl link instead and hope that google refreshes its cache soon.

I don't keep any content that is offensive, I just don't like work people spying on my personal life. :)
posted by giddygirlie to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A robots.txt file can tell crawler bots not to index given pages or directories on your site, but if you're looking to tell them to avoid specific content on a given page I think you may be out of luck indeed on that front.

What you might do instead is add this to any link you don't want indexed:
<a href="" rel="nofollow">DUDE</a>
The major search engines, at least, will respect that by declining to index the link when they're crawling your site.
posted by cortex at 12:11 PM on June 19, 2008

I don't know if google does anything with it, but it looks like your last name is on the whois registration info for your domain.
posted by juv3nal at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2008

I think your best bet is to change the way your husband's link appears. So rather than showing make it the words "my favorite comic book artist" with a link. That way your family name won't actually show up in the text of the page, so Google won't find it.
<a href="">my favorite comic book artist</a>
FYI, I don't think the "nofollow" advice would help keep Smith off Google's radar if it shows up on the page. All it would do is prevent Google's spider from following the link to your husband's page for the specific purpose of conferring "page rank" (Google's metric of reputation_ to his page.
posted by CruiseSavvy at 3:47 PM on June 19, 2008

Note that any instructions you give to robots are publicly viewable. e.g. Anyone can type into their browser. So if you want to make it completely impossible to for anyone to draw the connection, drop the link.
posted by winston at 4:53 PM on June 19, 2008

The problem is you are focused on a very narrow issue: googling your name returns a website. Is the class of snoop you're trying to defend against really so narrow and lazy? Because otherwise, there are probably eighty different ways someone can link you with the website with a little information, the whois info being the killer unless your domain company offers a hold-in-trust-type service.
posted by adoarns at 4:55 PM on June 19, 2008

You might be able to do this using an .htaccess file, though I couldn't tell you exactly how.

Basically, you would need to ban referrals from common search engines when the query is your name.
posted by sindark at 5:55 PM on June 19, 2008

« Older Is my kid an ancient hebrew good luck charm?   |   Excel solver binary constraint help Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.