There was a craze a few years back to Google yourself -and your friends  – just out of curiosity and to see what came up.

How we chuckled when we found out one of our friends had a US namesake on death row. Honestly!

Today, with the ever increasing amount of touch points we have online, it’s really important to keep track of your online presence and reputation, because people will Google you – yes you – if you’ve applied for a job, reached out as part of a network or if they’re considering working with you. And you never know but your friends might still be checking you out too.

Have you Googled yourself recently?

I checked my Google results about seven months ago when I moved to Australia, to try and identify profiles and websites which listed me as being in the UK. I was prompted a couple of days ago to go and check again and here’s what I found.

The first page of results had the following listings:

  •   My LinkedIn
  •    A Facebook profile – not mine – for someone with the same name as me who apparently studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Witchery!
  •       My Google+
  •       My membership to Canberra start-ups
  •       My athlete profile on the CrossFit Games website – yeah baby I’m an athlete!
  •       A profile on Chamber.com in London, which didn’t ring any bells
  •       My Pinterest
  •       A Zoominfo profile, which is out of date but for me
  •       A Lead411 profile – for again another person with the same name but in the United States
  •       A Yatedo profile, which is out of date but for me

So I think I did well, out of the ten results I appeared in eight and the majority of results were professional and told a good story.  In addition, the image results were great – just my work and personal thumbnail pictures.

Cool … so what next. For me, I’m going to spend a few minutes visiting each of the links to see if I can control the content and update them. If not, then maybe there are a couple of other things I can do make sure I look good online.

First on my list is to create my own website and use it like an online resume, oh and I’ll be getting a profile on the Threesides website too. I’m also thinking of registering and getting involved with a few more professional blogs and forums.

How were your personal Google results?

Not happy? Want to make improvements? Have a read of these top ten tips for sprucing yourself up online!

  1. Join Social Networks – make sure where appropriate, you have a presence on the main social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and don’t forget Google+ it is Google after all. For more exposure try Slideshare, Vimeo, FourSquare and Flickr.
  2. Decide Personal v. Professional – when joining a network or online group ask yourself if this is personal or professional? If it’s personal maybe don’t use your full name but a nickname or pseudonym instead, this way it won’t show up when your name is Googled.
  3. Check Security Settings – regularly check your security settings on all online profiles because things change, don’t assume everything will be kept private.
  4. Get  Yourname.com – create your own website, it only has to be a page where you can explain a little bit about who you are and what you do, a quick and easy low-tech solution is also to sign up with a personal branding service like Brandyourself.
  5. Have A Company Profile – if you run your own company or are in a senior role in an organisation, get your company profile published on the website, include an image and a short description.
  6. Share Your Thoughts – if you like writing or getting involved in online conversations why not start your own blog or start commenting on other peoples’ blogs and forums.
  7. DIY Public Relations – there are plenty of online news and press release submission services, so if you’re in a role where you can author a press release then get your story and your name out there.
  8. Advertise Yourself – if your results aren’t that great, or you’re fighting for share of voice against another person or brand, consider running a Google Ads campaign – yes it costs money but it will be inexpensive and get you on that first page.
  9. Get Expert Help – if you have bad or negative results then consider using a social profile cleaning service, these have become very popular and will assists with tidying up your profile.
  10. Google Yourself Regularly – set a reminder once a month to quickly Google yourself, and if you have time maybe go a few pages back just in case someone really wants to do their research.

–          Nicola Woolham (google me!)

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