How to Check Your Online Reputation
Do you exist online? This question may seem silly to some but to others they may not. Even if you have a Facebook, there may be very little information about you online because your profile is set to private. By completing this online assessment, you will be able to see what information is out there and what areas you are missing.
Start First with a Plan
The assessment will be slightly different if you are a business versus an individual. We’ll write this post as if you are a person, so if you are a business simply do the same check with your company name in addition to your name.
The first thing you’ll want to do is open up a text editor like Word or Notepad and make a list of terms you will search for in the next step. Here are a few recommendations:
**Note: replace [your name] with your name or business name
[your name] about
[your name] review
[your name] images
You may also want to search for your industry or other relevant information like your college, high school, clubs/associations, and anything else that may be relevant to you.
If you have a common name, you may want to add your city or state to the end of the search queries so you won’t have to sift through as many results. Lastly open something that you can paste the links into as you find them.
Doing the Assessment
Let’s be honest this part can be a little boring, but it can also be fun to see what exists online about you. Grab your favorite beverage, start a playlist of you favorite music and let’s dive in!
To prevent Google from showing personalized results based on your previous searches, you will want to either clear your browsers history/cookies/cache and log out of Google. Otherwise just open an Incognito windows (Chrome) or a Private browsing window (Firefox).
Get started by heading over to Google.com and pasting in your first term from the list above. Look at the results from an outsiders perspective. Do they show you in the light you want to be perceived? Worse? Not at all?
You will want to keep a sperate note of anything of interest including not so flattering photos, items that make you look bad and anything that you notice is missing. Make sure to look through the first three pages of results before moving on to the next search. Also, make sure to save the website address of anything that does have good information about you (we will be using it later).
Do your major social media profiles show up? Are they sending the right message to the person that may be typing in your name? Does anything professional show up? Can a potential employer get an idea of who you are and why they should hire you?
More than likely you will see a few sites that just have basic data including your address, age, etc. these sites are simply aggregating data from random sources around the web. There is no need to pay for the full report they will show.
Hopefully after completing the assessment you have a few sites with positive information about you. If not that is okay, we will work on this in the next step.
Did you find anything that surprised you? Most people that go through this exercise find at least one item that they didn’t know existed.
Join us in the next chapter to learn what to do next!