If you Google my name, my first page is filled with relevant results about me. How about you? Do your Google results reflect the reputation you've worked so hard to build offline?
Our co-founder Pete used to be mistaken for a drug dealer in Google, so he developed BrandYourself, a free DIY product that makes it easy for anyone to improve their own search results. Now you can control what people find when they Google you, without paying a reputation firm thousands of dollars to do it for you. Create a free account and try it for yourself.
Like It Or Not, We're Being Googled All The Time
Whether I like it or not, people Google my name online. 1 billion names are Googled every day. Only half of people own their first result, which is the most important. About 1 in 4 have no positive content at all on the first page for their Google name search. Even more alarming, 15% have at least one negative result on the first page that damages their reputation.
Translation: If I don't own my name on Google, I'm losing opportunities. The days of first impressions beginning with a handshake are over. More than three quarters of companies perform a Google name search for job applicants online prior to meeting them in person. How I manage my online presence is critical to my personal brand and future success, especially for job applicants or anyone in the business world.
So how do I own my name online when I know everyone from employers to colleagues is Googling my name?
Google My Name: Do I Already Own My Name?
First things first: I need to Google my name to determine where my online reputation currently stands on Google. This is simple, I just need to go to Google.com and type my name into the search bar. Keep the following items in mind:
How do I own my name online when I know everyone from employers to colleagues is Googling my name? Here's what I do to find out what my results look like on Google:
- Sign out of your Google Account. Google employs personalized and local searches when I am signed into my account. In other words, Google will slightly alter my results to make them more relevant to me based on my location and what they know about me through my Google account. This is a very important part of understanding how to Google yourself properly. The person Googling my name won't have this, so signing out will give me neutral results that better represent my overall online reputation.
- Enter the name people will actually use when they Google my name: I use the name on my business card or resume, not the name stored in my best friend's phone. This will help display the most relevant results and give you a complete understanding of how to Google yourself.
If I'm like most people, I do not have positive, relevant content that appears on the first page of the search results when my name is Googled. Nearly everyone falls into one of the following three categories:
- The Negative Online Reputation: This is the most undesirable category to be in because it means you have one or more negative results representing you on the SERP. This category is not just reserved for criminals and politicians. In today's world of anonymous sharing it's become disturbingly easy to have your reputation tarnished. In just one status update, tagged photo or blog post from a disgruntled ex or former employee, your reputation goes from sterling to tarnished on Google in the blink of an eye.
- The Irrelevant Online Reputation: Yes the results are about you, but they don't really help or hurt you. They are completely outdated and irrelevant. Instead of an online reputation that shows that you are one of the most well-respected doctors in Boston, the searcher finds, that when he/she Googles your name, you finished 120th in a 5k run three years ago - not exactly the most relevant or pertinent information that you wish showed up in the results of a Google name search.
- The "Hey that's not me" Online Reputation: In this case, your online reputation is dominated by other people with the same name. In a best case scenario, they prevent the searcher from finding anything meaningful about you. In a worst case scenario they might actually mistake you for someone else, like our Co-founder Pete who couldn't get a job in college since he was being mistaken for an ex-convict in Google.
Ready to Take Control Of Your Google Results?
Today, it is just plain irresponsible to be passive about your personal brand. You spend a lot of time building your offline reputation It's time to apply that same discipline to your personal branding efforts.
Create a free BrandYourself account now to make sure you look great when employers, clients and even dates Google you.