The best way to see what you look like online is to Google yourself. The more complete the search, the better sense you will have about your current online profile. Some search terms to think about include:
- First and last name (in quotes)
- First and last name (in quotes), plus…
- Home address
- Company or businesses where you have worked
- Work address
- Email address
- Phone number, including area code
- Schools you have attended
- Social media account names
Once you have searched in Google, you can also search Google images to find pictures of you using the same search terms. You can also keep current on new information posted about you using a free service like Google Alert that sends email alerts whenever your name (or other selected information) appears online. If you find information you don’t want online, you have three options. All three options may be necessary to get your online reputation back in shape.
Option 1: If you posted the information yourself, say on your Facebook page, you can remove the information and update your privacy settings.
Option 2: If someone else posted something about you, you can ask to have it removed or you can contact the site that the information was posted on and ask a site administrator to remove it. Unfortunately, others may not agree to your requests.
Option 3: You can populate the web with more favorable information such as blog posts, tweets, or product reviews, so that less reputable photos, comments, and affiliations fall later in your profile search. Generally, people Googling your name don’t look past the first few pages of results. The next sections provide strategies for option 3.