Googling Yourself is About More Than Just Vanity – It Can Help Protect Your Reputation
There was a time when when Googling your name was considered “Vanity”. But 2016, it is a vital part of online reputation management and a shrewd measure to make sure your profile represents you justly.
There are things that reflect well on you: a polished LinkedIn profile, industry awards, a blog you wrote that contains industry relevant information, and a complete Indeed CV.
And then there are the search results that you’d sweep underneath your living room rug if you could. Inaccurate dating profiles, personal blogs that feature off colour jokes, photographs from your days as an undergraduate fraternity student. The list goes on and on – for every one positive piece of information publicly available on the Internet, you can probably think of three where nothing would please you more than to see the site’s host server go up in flames.
Google allows us to find the information we need, when we need it, in seconds. However it also compiles an online profile that may not be flattering unless you’ve actively curated and taken control of that profile. Here’s how to do that in 3 simple steps:
1) Google Yourself – Scroll Through All Results Pages that Have Content Relevant to You
The first place to start in online reputation management is knowing the terrain. You can’t know that terrain without doing your research about what parts of your life are ‘Google-able.’ Don’t limit yourself to Google – run the search on Yahoo and other engines as well. Before you take action to remove any content, or counter it with newly created material, you want to know how easy that article or website is to find.
Once you’ve found all the relevant results for your name, grab a pen and some paper. Make a list that’s divided into 2 columns. On the left side are the ‘Good’ results and on the right side you will write the ‘Bad.’
2) Note Any Results Where the Person Shares Your Name
God forbid you should be named Donald Trump. Note if this person is in the same line of work that you are. Sometimes name duplications are just the result of having a common name, such as John Smith. At other times it becomes more concerning when they are in your line of work and potentially poaching business that should rightfully be yours. It may be that someone with your name occupies the top spots in Google because you haven’t properly used SEO to optimize the content about yourself that you want highlighted.
Any ‘doppelnamers’ should be noted on the list you created in step 1. You can create new content about yourself and optimize it for Google’s search results (it’s the next step in the list) to get the ranking and create the online profile of yourself that you desire.
3) Be Proactive – Start Getting Your Name Out There (on the Internet, that is)
Think critically about what kind of online profile would make you stand out given your field of work. Then get a head start on creating a profile you can be proud of. Google’s algorithms prefer new information over old, so the more complete profile of yourself that you create, the easier it will be to push those embarrassing high school yearbook photos into the deep recesses of Google’s search results.
Asking Google to remove websites or delete images is a time consuming process that does not always work. If you need to remove inaccurate information about yourself from the Internet, the best option is to hire a Reverse SEO specialist.
Happy reputation building.