Have you Googled yourself lately? A recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that many people have. Fifty-seven percent of adult internet users surveyed said they have used a search engine to see what kind of information was available about them online, up from 47 percent in 2006. If you did search for your name, what would you find? How you represent yourself online is just as important as how you do it in person.
If you run a business, have a website, provide a service or otherwise need a base of customers or readers to sustain your business, you'll want people to find you. So if you've never thought about what might appear in the search results when the topic is you, it's time to put some stock in your online reputation. How you appear online is people's first impression of you. How do you want to be perceived? Are you proud about what sites and articles appear under your name in search engines? You should if you want to build a business or get a job.
In order for people to find you online, you need to be consistent. Wherever you are online (personal blog, business website, Twitter, etc.) should all have consistent names. If you start a website or blog under your full name (yourfullname.com), do the same for your social network profiles (i.e., twitter.com/yourfullname, facebook.com/yourfullname).
Being consistent allows people to follow your digital tracks and not get confused. It also re-emphasizes your brand when people see the same picture, name and positioning on every site.
If you have a personal social network profile, know that some of that information may get leaked in the future. In order to avoid the wrong person stumbling onto that photo of you with a lampshade on your head, do some preliminary damage control.
Now that you've ensured any searches for you won't result in your good name being sullied over an incriminating photo you didn't even know was being taken, you're ready to build a positive online presence. There are a few things to consider:
Have you Googled yourself lately? Were you happy with what you found? Share in the comments below!
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