How to Improve Your Online Reputation
There is a saying in the digital world “if you don’t exist on Google you don’t exist”. While it isn’t completely true, the general idea stands. For a potential employer or client if they cannot find you online it does raise some red flags.
Today we are going to build the foundations for your online reputation. Depending on your age and how active you are online, you may already have some of these sites setup. If not, today is the day that you complete them. Let’s get started!
Your Personal Domain Name
The most important piece is going to be owning your name’s URL. Ideally you would own the .com, .net and .org versions but the .com is the most important. If you have a common name, you may have a hard time finding your name’s .com version, in this circumstance you can add your city, state or state abbreviation to the end. For example JohnDoeNY.com or JohnDoeChicago.com
If you’ve never purchased a domain name before it’s very easy, we recommend either 1and1.com or NameCheap.com because they both offer free privacy protection, this hides your contact details from the public. Trust us, spend the extra few dollars to avoid unwanted junk mail and phone solicitations. Go to their homepage and type in your name with “.com” at the end and see if it is available if it’s not try the ideas above until you find one you like.
All domain registrars will attempt to sell you other products or services, you don’t need them this time around, so just skip them all until you get to the checkout page. Once you pay for the domain, the next step will be to setup the actual site.
There are a couple options here; our recommendation would be to setup an actual site as this will give you the best results. However, if you are looking for a super quick/easy method you can just forward the domain to your LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+. If you choose the easy route, your domain will not show up in the search engines but it will help protect your name in the future from someone else grabbing it.
We actually have a great tutorial on How to Build a Website that will take you through step by step.
This will take some time, but it is one of the best long term strategies for controlling your online reputation.
The Big 4 Social
Like it or not social media is here to stay. It may not be your thing, and that is just fine, but you want to make sure you have claimed your name and put up the information you want others to find about you. Here is what you will need:
-URL of your domain
-URL of your social media sites as you set them up
Each site is a little different, and you may already have some of these setup. We recommend doing it in this order, so you don’t have to keep going back to these sites:
Twitter will only allow 140 characters in your description so you may have to get a little creative. They will allow you to link to one website, and it should be your personal site.
LinkedIn has space for a ton of information. LinkedIn is one of the most important social media sites for your reputation. Typically it will rank highly in Google and for businesses and clients this is where a lot of them start. Fill out as much information as you can. Make sure to add as many details as possible to your job history. In the “Contact Info” section, there is a link to add your website, make sure to add that as well as your Twitter profile. Don’t forget to add a professional looking image!
It would be a little surprising if you don’t already have a Facebook profile but if you don’t, register it now. Next make sure to fill out your “About” section with as much detail as possible. If you are concerned about privacy, click here to change the settings to private. Make sure to add an image to your profile that is appropriate. It doesn’t have to be as professional as LinkedIn but you doing a keg stand is probably not going to impress your potential future employer.
Lastly, we want to set up Google+. The good news is if you have a Gmail, YouTube, or Blogger account you already have a Google+ account! Next you need to configure it, go to https://plus.google.com and it will walk you through the setup. Make sure to fill out as much detail as possible and add an image, the same one you used on Facebook will work great.
In the “Other Profiles” section make sure to add links to your website as well as your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Are you comfortable on camera? If you are, this is one of the best element you can have for your online reputation. We recommend keeping the video short, 30-90 seconds long, talking about what you want people to know about you.
Once you’ve made the video make sure to save the file as your name, for example, JohnDoe.mp4. Next upload the file to YouTube, make sure the title has your name in it and then write out a few sentences in the description (make sure to include your name). Also add a link to your website as well as your social profiles created in the last steps, just make sure you add the “http://” so the link will be clickable.
You can also share this video on your social media profiles and website to get a little boost!
Expanding Your Presence & Claiming Your Name
The sites above are the most important. However, they aren’t the only ones out there. By claiming your name on these other sites, you are creating more pages that can rank in the search engines. We recommend using a site called KnowEm.com to do a quick search to see if your name is available. When the results come back, you can sign up for as many as you like. KnowEm has over 500 sites that you can create a profile on while this is overkill for what we are doing it is nice to see them all in one space.
Make sure you are prepared to add at least a little bit of content before signing up otherwise they will be little help overall. Also note the type of content, for example, LiveJournal posts are typically hundreds of words whereas and Imgur post is just an image. Unless you have tons of free time, the most you would want to setup is about 10.
Building Your Businesses Brand
**If you do not own a business, you can skip this section.**
For companies, you will want to claim your business profile on popular directory sites like Yelp and Yellowpages. We have a Local Business Citations Guide that is perfect for small businesses. The most important listing to optimize is your Google+ for Business page.
Congratulations you now have a pretty strong online presence! Depending on how popular your name is you may already show up on the first page of Google for your name. In the next chapter, we will cover how you can boost your rankings and ideally take over the first page. See you in the next chapter!