Have you ever Googled yourself? Sure, we all have. It’s actually called egosurfing, the practice of searching for one’s own given name, surname, full name, pseudonym, or screen name on a popular search engine to see what results appear.
Controlling the Google search engine top rankings for what comes up on a search page may seem out of reach, but with a few easy steps, you can take charge of the results to improve upon your name and personal brand. Whether you’re disappointed with what appears or nothing comes up at all, remember that results will vary, literally, depending on a number of factors like how common or unique your name is and its current presence on the Web.
With employers and basically everyone who knows you potentially Googling your name to find out about you, it’s becoming increasingly important that you have at least some kind of grasp of your online identity and reputation and that you understand how to take better control of the search engine top ranked sites that mention your name (in a positive light). It’s relatively easy, and best of all, it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
Privacy and Security
First things first. Dealing with and using your real name online can be risky business. It shouldn’t, however, be a problem as long as you do it wisely and correctly. It’s vital that you never publish personal information that you don’t want anyone to get a hold of. Stuff like your home address or phone number should be kept to yourself.
Some of the things Google simply doesn’t tolerate on its search pages include your social security or government ID number, your bank account or credit card number, or an image of your handwritten signature.
If such content is published on the Web somewhere, you can request its removal from Google search results. Learn more about how to remove false information about yourself on the Internet.
On social networking websites, be sure to check out your privacy settings so that you can specify who gets to view your profile.
Create Your Own Google Profile
Google created profiles to give you greater control over what people find when they search for your name. Profile results are displayed at the bottom of search pages.
First, you’ll need to make a profile with your name and a little information about yourself. You can also write a short bio and add links to some of your public pages if you have any, like online photo albums, social network profiles, and personal websites.
You then have the option of adding contact information, which is not made public and you get to decide who can view it.
From my experience, the more information you add to your profile, the higher it’s ranked, so keep that in mind.
2. Join Social Networks
Take advantage of the popularity of social networking websites and services. Profiles on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Classmates, and LinkedIn are musts. These websites have significant PageRank, meaning your profile may be able to achive top search engine rankings - with placement on the first page of Google search results for your name.
Feel free to go the extra mile by making a profile and listening to music on Last.fm, putting up videos on YouTube, or sharing photos on Flickr. Just be sure to enter your real name as the profile’s username only if you’re comfortable with doing so.
3. Start Your Own Blog
I highly recomment you check out recent MakeUseOf article on How To Easily Create a Blog with Tumblr.
Ideally, the subdomain should include your real name (yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.wordpress.com) when you register.
4. Get a Domain Name
If all else fails or you want to try to go for the very top of Google’s search listings, buying your own domain name may be the answer. Check to see if your first and last name together is available for a .com domain name registration.
As far as the content for your websites goes, it doesn’t have to be the best. Just writing in a little bit about yourself or posting your resume should do.
Getting your own domain is probably the best way to grab that top spot in Google search results for your name. However, the downside is that it’ll cost you to purchase the domain name and have your website hosted.
For the obsessive, you can actually set up Google Alerts to track any mentions of your name on the Web.
We have done some similar articles on online reputation management and controlling your online name in the past. Here’s three of them :
What pops up when you Google yourself? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit : Techprodigy