By Christina DesMarais for Techlicious
8 Tools for Protecting Your Online Reputation
When was the last time you used a search engine to look yourself up? Why would you want to do so? There’s a good chance others are, so it’s prudent for you to know what they’re seeing.
“People should be concerned about their online reputation because once something negative about you is posted online, it is very, very difficult to have it removed,” says search engine optimization expert Andrew Hazen. “You never know when someone will perform a Google search on you and perhaps uncover an unfavorable review, a nasty comment or a rant about how evil a person you are. This clearly can have a negative impact when either applying for a job, looking for credit, entering into a new relationship, or want to coach your child’s sports team.”
And what you share online certainly matters as well. In recent weeks a media brouhaha has erupted over the fact that some organizations have actually asked prospective employees to hand over their Facebook account username and password so as to see how they behave online. While doing so is undoubtedly an invasion of privacy, it underscores the point that people are interested in your online reputation, and you should be too.
Here are some tools that can help you curate your online reputation so you come off in the very best light possible.
Search Engine Optimization
The first thing you need to do is use a search engine to look up your name. What shows on the first page or two of search results is important. Ideally, the links you see there will point to pages that mention you in positive light, social media profiles that you have groomed to bolster your image and any web site you own and want people to see, not innapropriate photos.
Getting those kinds of sites higher up on the search results list is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and anyone who cares about her online image uses it to her advantage.
Loads of companies offer help with this, but I recently played around with two free services that seem to work well.
BrandYourself was co-founded by a Syracuse University graduate who couldn’t get an internship in college because employers mistook him for a drug dealer whose information surfaced with an online search. The vibe of the site is straightforward and comes off as reputable and trustworthy.
The other service I tried was Vizibility, which like BrandYourself, works to move positive links higher up in your search results but also offers ways to proactively promote yourself, such as a partnership the company has with Vistaprint whereby you can get business cards printed with QR codes on them. When people scan the code, they’ll get your contact information on their smartphones, which they can email to themselves, others or quickly import into their email contacts.
This post is excerpted with permission from Techlicious.