Your online personal reputation should be very important to you. Why? Looking for a job or you want to protect your identity from takeover or fraud? These are just three reasons to protect your online profile. Another important reason might be that you want to protect your children’s reputation. Watch this space.
Today’s online reputation services are mainly focussed around search-engine optimization (SEO) processes. The main function of these services include influencing search algorithms, whereby they seed positive content about say your name and encourage linking to it, which in turn helps the search engine spiders identify new and popular content. This has the effect of pushing down the negative content (links) in search engines. Other methods used include using back links, which are incoming links to a website and using keywords – this is bread and butter for SEO companies.
Black hat SEO, which I have privately researched in the past is used in some instances to ‘manipulate’ rankings by adding hidden text or tricking the search engine spiders so that the spider sees one site and the end user the other. So what can you do to protect your online profile in search engines? Google might be able to help.
Google’s ‘Me on the Web’ feature which was first launched back in 2011 (and very few people outside of the world I work in, actually know about) is one such service, which is free to use and will help educate you on just how much personal information about you is available on the Web. To use ‘Me on the Web’ you will have to open a Google account (if you don’t already have one). This will provide you with three options:
Search for yourself – This presents you with the top ten search results for your name on Google. You can also change the name that you want to search for in the search, which includes adding a location for example to narrow the search.
Stay current with web alerts – When new information about you appears online, and this includes when there is a new search result for your name, you will be notified by email. There is also the option to receive these alerts in near real-time too or if you prefer once a week. You can also search by phrase but what I really like is that parents can use this feature to monitor children’s activity on the Internet.
Review your Google+ profile – If you have a Google+ account, then this is a useful feature, if only reminding you to review your profile content. Have you taken a look at your Google+ profile recently? Make sure it is accurate and up to date and also view it as other people would see it.
If you want to try ‘Me on the Web’ why not create an alert about yourself.
How to create alerts:
- Sign in to your Google Account and navigate to the ‘Me on the Web‘
- Click Manage my Web Alerts
- Click the red button to create an alert
- The text field will pre-populate with your name, and you can click the text field to view more suggested alerts. Click Add to add an alert, the pencil icon to make any edits, and the trash can icon if you’d like to delete an alert.
- In the ‘How often’ drop-down box, choose how frequently you’d like to receive an alert.
- In the ‘Send to’ drop-down box, choose which email address you’d like the alerts to be sent.
Safe surfing folks!