On Self-Examining Online Identity Through a Google Search

Online reputation management is a rapidly emerging field that has shaped how people view the Internet. Virtually everyone uses the Internet to research individuals or companies of interest. The information about you or your business available online is a direct reflection of your identity that could end up hurting your cause. Establishing a professional identity requires a consistent monitoring of search results to ensure that your online standing is in tip-top shape.

Online reputation management is similar to search engine optimization in that users must possess a considerable knowledge of their online standing. In SEO, the overall goal is to make a website climb to the top of search engine results. However, online reputation management is more about ensuring that positive content about you ranks above anything negative – regardless of who said it.

Online reputation management is a more complicated process than simple search engine optimization (SEO). Google provides a one-page tutorial with advice on this subject; however, an online reputation management firm is often necessary to rid your digital identity of inaccuracies, errors, slander or any other unwanted material.

Still, there are several ways to prepare yourself if a landlord, employer or personal acquaintance chooses to check your online reputation. Several factors are relevant in terms of how much attention must be paid to your online presence. A basic Google search will help you to examine your online identity so that you can address any issues.  Don’t simply search for your name or company’s name. Expand your search by examining all similar phrases. Online users often misspell words, so try a variety of related terms that might be associated with your particular brand.

The Google search is the modern version of a background check. Institutions complete a background check for teachers, coaches, volunteers and employees of all types. As a business or organization, it’s imperative that you hire an employee who will not prove to be a legal liability.

Online reputation is something that everyone can control, and managing it will ensure that you or your business will have the greatest odds for success. Start with the basics of boosting your online reputation. Register your full name on the highest-authority social media sites, domains, blogs and email accounts. If your name is taken, include a middle initial, a hyphen or a period. As an optional feature, complete the bio section and upload a professional photo. Complete this same process for your spouse and children.

Set up a Google Alert that will send an email each time your name is mentioned online. Plus, get a Google Profile, another free service that ranks on the first page.

Build a WordPress blog that features your name prominently in the address bar and post often. Frequent posting will ensure that any negative material will be buried deep in the Google search results.

Purchase a domain name that is, or is similar to, your real name and place your name within the HTML header so that it will be visible in search results. For accuracy, log out of Google during this online check. Google automatically defaults to offering personalized results each time you log in. Everyone else will have a much different experience, and those results are much more important to track.

Online reputation management requires a proactive approach. Take charge of your digital footprint or you may have to deal with the consequences later.

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One response to “On Self-Examining Online Identity Through a Google Search

  1. andreaeldridge

    Damage control. If you find embarrassing or unflattering content linked to your name, don’t despair. In many cases, once you know they exist you can systematically track down things you want to get rid of and attempt to delete them. If the content is posted by a friend on Facebook, ask them to remove it and un-tag yourself from inappropriate images or posts. Update your Facebook privacy settings to customize what you share and what others are allowed to share on your wall. If you discover posts that seem to be particularly malicious, contact the administrator of a website to request that it be removed.

    your goal is to push down unfavorable content

    After removing what you can, your goal is to push down unfavorable content. Create more profiles, particularly on sites that end in .edu or .gov as Google considers those sites more credible and may push those results higher than potentially damaging links.

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