Go Google yourself

It’s Valentine’s Day, so many of us will spend time thinking of our loved ones today. But don’t forget to consider the person that each of us truly loves most – ourselves. When you’re not spending time picking up flowers for a partner or meeting a friend for a late Galentine’s Day drink, show yourself a little attention by typing your name into Google or another search engine.

Why Google yourself?

We might think we’re aware of the information about ourselves that appears on our social media profiles and the websites that we’re mentioned on, but over time, not-so-flattering things can slip through the cracks.

Googling yourself is the best way to know how you come across to people that want to learn more about you. In professional settings, these folks include hiring managers, recruiters, colleagues and clients.

Frighteningly, nearly half of American adults report that their Google results aren’t positive. Don’t be part of this statistic! It’s imperative that you know about anything that could tarnish your reputation so that you can be proactive about removing these digital “blemishes.”

When reviewing your search results, keep the following points in mind:

  • Public vs. private social media profiles: If your profiles on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are public, ask yourself if the content that you post and share is appropriate in a professional setting. If you use social media heavily for both business and pleasure, you may want to consider creating two profiles. Make the personal profile private, then share baby pictures and rant to your heart’s content without worrying what a potential employer or client might think.
  • Media contact on news releases: If you’ve ever worked in communications or public relations (like me!), your name may appear on press releases as a media contact. Know the details of the campaigns that list you as the media contact in case you’re asked about them in a job interview or a manager.
  • Negative information about yourself: If you find negative or embarrassing public information about you online, such as in news stories, videos or other third-party content, you can consider creating new, highly-optimized positive content about yourself that will appear higher in Google search results. The idea is that the new, positive content will bump the old, negative content to the second or third pages of the search results. Who looks at the second or third pages anyway? Learn more about this approach here.

While you’re thinking about number one today, take the time to set up a Google Alert for your name. You’ll then receive an email whenever there’s a new mention of your name online, so it will be easier to keep tabs on yourself.

Image credits: Pixabay.com.

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