Maintaining an excellent reputation has always been necessary in order to attract business, land a good job, or get into the right school. Unfortunately, even if you have a stellar reputation in your community, your workplace, and your profession, you can still have a questionable image online. Your online reputation can make you or break you even if it is inaccurate. Fortunately, you can manage your online reputation and present a better, more accurate picture of yourself online.
The key to improving your online reputation is to drive negative or untrue content onto the third or more page of Google search results. You can do this by cleaning up negative information and creating new, positive content that provides a more professional image.
Search Your Name
Type your name into the Google search box and see what comes up. You may be surprised. Go back to Google and click on the images link beneath the search box with your name in it. Hopefully, you will find only flattering, professional words and images. However, if you found things you would not want to mention in a job interview, you should take steps to improve your image.
Remove What You Can
If the content you want removed appears on your own social media or other sites, just go there and remove it or tighten up your privacy settings. If you own the picture or content and did not give permission for it to be posted, contact the website’s owner and request removal. If that does not work, Google will remove some things. However, these are usually limited to things like your financial account numbers, your Social Security number, unauthorized nude images, and copies of your personal signature.
Make a Google+ Account
Anything that you cannot remove can still be buried by positive content. One way to start is to create an impressive profile on social media. Include business and personal achievements, awards, and attainments. Post professional, flattering photos of you and your family. Create a reminder on your calendar or phone so that you remember to post something at least once a month. Information about professional or charitable events or activities you have been involved in make great posts. So do reposted articles about your career field, interests, or favorite charities. Take the time to make a few carefully worded comments on each article as you post it.
Keep Private Things Private
When you Google your own name after taking these steps, you should find content that casts you in a positive light. However, if you post photos of yourself at your best friend’s bachelor party, those are going to show up too. Unfortunately, they may also show up if your friend decides to post them. Using strict privacy settings on your personal social media sites is a good idea, but you still should never post anything that gives the wrong impression. If a friend tags you in a picture you would not show your boss, remove the tag and ask the friend to take the picture down.
Powerful people pay a lot of money to companies that promise to polish their reputations. You may not be a celebrity or a Fortune 500 CEO, but you can use the same tactics to improve your own online image.