Friday

Google Thyself! - Take Charge of your Internet Rep

Jennifer DAlessandro


Have you Googled yourself lately?  Like it or not, we all have an internet presence to some degree.  Don't let it your internet reputation form by chance.What do you want future employers, friends or family to see when they search for you?  Be proactive and use the internet to market you in the best possible light.

Take a moment and perform a test.

Google this:
  • Your name
  • Your name + the name of your town
  • Your name + the school(s) you've attended
  • Your name + places you've been employed
  • Click on 'Images' on the main page and repeat the above searches. 
Did you find yourself?  Did you find the old Myspace profile you forgot you had?
What images came up? Maybe you didn't realize that your cousin tagged you a public Facebook picture; do you really want people to see you doing THAT?
Did you know that your college roommate was keeping a blog that detailed all the antics of your sophomore year? The stories are funny, you don't want your Aunt Josie to read about the time you drank yourself into a stupor and woke up on a park bench covered in pigeon poop. It doesn't matter than you are now 28, she's going to call your mom!

Don't panic. Take notes and begin some clean up.  Take down the old profiles, untag yourself in Facebook photos. Send an email to your college roommate and ask her to make her blog private. It's likely that she forgot it existed and will appreciate the nudge. 

After the cleanup it will actually take a little time before your Google results change. It's a tricky process and several companies are cashing in on the mystery of it all.  You can pay anywhere from $500 to $5000 for assistance in cleaning up an online reputation.  They all work on the same theory; Overshadow the bad stuff with a lot of good stuff.  

Get Started:
  • Create a LinkedIn.com account and begin to 'connect' with people you know. be sure to add a picture because that will eventually show up in the Google image search. 
  • Set up a blog with your name in the title (like this one.) Blogger and Wordpress are both free! Put your name in the tags/labels. 
  • Secure your own domain name (like I did!) You can do that right through Blogger or GoDaddy and it's only about $10 a year.  The nice part about using Blogger is that the hosting is included and the template is provided for easy posting. If your name is not available, be creative and find a way.  For example, if my name had not been available I would have tried using my middle initial or looking for JenDalessandro.com instead. 
  • Create a Twitter account in your name.  Connect with professionals and Tweet with care
  • Using your full name, set up accounts in sites like Quora.com, GoodReads.com and similar places.  Post a little here and there.  
  • Set up a Google+ account. 
It will take a few months to see true Google results so it's important to stay with it.  I worked on this blog for about 4 months before I saw it begin to crawl up in my Google results.  Now it ranks #1 when you search my name!  

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