Whenever I get some time, I “Google” my name to see what’s listed for me. Whatever is out there is basically my online reputation (my online image) something that my prospective clients would research before hiring me as a consultant. And for the same reason, I often “Google” my company’s name – AnksImage – as well.
- Where does my name (or my company’s name) show up?
- Are the search results even remotely related to any spam sites?
- How old is the information listed in these links?
- And (heaven forbid!) is there any negative comment or information about me (or my company) listed in these links?
These are some of the questions I have to research a few times a month to make sure me and my company are in good public standing. In fact, I would say these are some of the questions any small-business owner, or professional, should take care of to protect their online image. After all, your online reputation might decide a sale, a promotion, even a job hire!
And even if you’re not online for professional reasons, you should check out your online image every once in a while to make sure your name is not related to any spam websites, or even worse, adult websites.
Here are some tips on how to keep a check on your online image:
Pick one particular search engine and type out your full name.
Now read through the search results carefully to see if there is any wrong or missing information related to your name. If you don’t find anything bad, you’re done for the day. However, if you do find anything, open the link in a new window. Preferably in the Incognito mode so that you can view what others are viewing and your personal site settings are not affecting the content. I recommend using Google Chrome. Most browsers have Incognito mode, but I like the one by Google Chrome the best.
Start Your Corrections
In the new window, try to find out how to edit the offending or missing information about yourself.
Most times you can open an account in the website and correct the data yourself.
Otherwise, you can email the webmaster, or use the contact form in the website to request correcting the data, or simply removing all information about you.
If there is wrong information about your website or spammy websites are linking out to your website and affecting your SEO, you can use the Disavow Tool in Google Search Console to fix this. SEMrush does a great job of finding out these rogue links. You can also get the contact information of such websites where you don’t want to be linked anymore. And yes, this feature is available in the free version of SEMrush as well. Best is when you connect your Google Search Console account to your SEMrush account, and you can pick and choose whom to contact, and whom to disavow from a single screen.
If you haven’t seen any response at all for more than a couple of weeks, then find out the domain registration data from whois.net. Usually there is an office address, or at least an email address to help you contact the technical personnel associated with the website to process your request.
And if everything fails, you can always complain to the hosting service provider to take down the offending piece of information.
It might take some time but with a little patience and politeness, you can keep your online image in check.
Now, over to you!
Your online image is sacred. You can’t let anyone mess with it, whether it’s your personal profile or your work portfolio. Remember, any time someone comes across your name or your business name to do business with you, they WILL search you online. They will “Google” you. And what comes up in those search results can make or break potential opportunities. I’ve even had clients who come for my image consulting sessions and we end up first cleaning the online mess they had ignored till then.
Once the cleanup is done, you can set up Google Alerts to keep track of your online image.
Read my other posts for Women Entrepreneurs.
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