These days you are more than just a person, you are a brand. Companies aren't hiring people without first reading through their social networks and people seem to interact with each other online more than they do in person. This creates a huge problem: how do you make sure that what shows up when your name is searched is positive content? I know plenty of amazing people who either do not have an online presence, or look silly online- either way, their online reputation is only hurting them. Here are some tips for beginners on how to fix common problems with your online reputation and how to show up on search engines.
PROBLEM #1: I Don't Show Up When My Name Is Searched
This is a very common problem- people will search their name looking to find their social networks and find NOTHING! Why is this happening? Well there are a few good reasons.
How much content do you have online? Lots of people only have a few pages on the Internet and expect them to show up on Google. Unfortunately, unless this content is heavily optimized for your name that is not going to happen (see this search engine optimization guide for more details).
Are you using your real name? Many people will use an abbreviated version of their name or a pseudonym on their social networks and think that these networks will still show up for their name: they won't! If you want to have a 'secret' identity on a social network realize that you aren't going to show up on search engines.
I have tons of content but it's not ranked high! There are a couple of reasons why this may be happening. First you should see if your content is indexed by Google and other search engines (you can do this by searching for your URL in these search engines). If you site is not indexed then have a look here for some tips on how to get indexed. If you are indexed then your content is not very optimized and you need to read the search engine optimization guide above and boost your pagerank!
PROBLEM #2: There Are Negative Things About Me When I Search My Name
How the content got there is irrelevant, what matters is how you handle it. First of all you're going to have to digest some potentially difficult information: REMOVING NEGATIVE CONTENT WILL NOT FIX YOUR PROBLEM! If you contact a webmaster and try to make them take down negative content a couple of things could happen. The webmaster could kindly delete the content, but unfortunately the page will still most likely be cached in search engines and will still show up when your name is searched. Or the webmaster could just ignore you, after all they don't have to take down the content. Whatever you do, don't get them mad at you because then you're in for an even bigger problem.
So how do I get rid of negative content? The only way to get rid of negative content is to replace it with positive content. I'm sorry that there isn't a quick fix but this is the only 100% effective way to eliminate bad press. Create lots of content and make sure that it is optimized for your name better than the negative content is- that is how you remove it.
PROBLEM #3: Someone With The Same Name Shows Up When I'm Searched
This problem is fortunately fixed the same way as problem #2: get more content and make sure that it's optimized for your name.
Many people are very put-off by the fact that there is no quick-fix for showing up online. This is an unfortunate realization but let's face it, if it was so easy then everyone would do it! This gives you the advantage- you WANT to show up for your name more than everyone else so you're willing to take the time to make quality content that is optimized for your name. Good luck and if you have any questions about managing your online reputation or showing up in search engines feel free to email me here.
Trevor Elwell works for BrandYourself.com a personal online reputation management service based in Syracuse, NY. BrandYourself provides a system that allows users to easily control their online reputation- try it for free here. BrandYourself also has a blog that provides information on social media, SEO, job search, and much more: Check Out BrandYourself's blog.