In today’s world everyone Google’s each other. Before you date someone before companies hire new employees, maybe you Googled your friends too and hey, there’s a good chance that’s how you found my site.
I’d also be willing to bet that 95% of people that are reading this have Googled themselves at least once. Because of what I do for a living I realized that what you don’t know could hurt you. I Google myself regularly. A year or two ago I found that a guy in California with the same name as me committed a murder. I was a little shocked when I found it! What if that had come up in a job interview or when I was working with a client that Googled me and didn’t realize it wasn’t me.
Once when I was applying for a job, I think it was in 2006, I had been doing some of my own work in the side under my company name, and the interviewer tried to be slick and in the middle of discussing something else he dropped, “so what’s Blackbird e-Solutions”. I was prepared though and explained it was a side project I was working on. For many people that might have been a little scary, but I fully expect that people will check up on me online.
So, if we know everyone is Binging, Yahooing and Googling each other (sounds a bit obscene doesn’t it?) What can we do about it? Is there any way to make sure people find what you want them too? Yes and no. What I mean is there is no way to control what other people are posting online about you. Unless it is some sort of slander and worth suing for but by then the damage is usually done. There was a time when I controlled the top ten for “bryan coe“, now I think 5 out of 10 are sites or profiles I control. Including 1-4.
There are a few things you can do to get your import stuff on the top of the search results.
1. Register a domain name in your name.
This is a great one but can be tough if your name is Joe Smith. I use bryancoe.us but also own bryan-coe.com as well as others. Just registering it is not enough though, but we’ll come back to this. You can register your domain here: 1&1 Internet
2. Set up a personal blog.
This can be fun. I started one when I was living in Europe and wanted to be able to keep my friends and family up to date. (Just so you know this was before Facebook even MySpace) Here some popular blog platforms that make it easy: Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress
3. Set up social media profiles.
Facebook carries an enormous ranking power, so it’s natural that the profiles also do. You can even customize your own URL. The same goes for LinkedIn: Vanity URL. There is a tone of others out there too. Check out the list on Wikipedia: Social Media
4. Set up a website.
This one is for the more ambitious person, but there are some great open-source content management systems out there that can make it quite easy WordPress, Joomla, Drupal. Plus many hosting companies offer free site development tools. WPengine
5. Point your domain.
To come back to the custom domain idea. If you are not so ambitious to set up your own blog or site, that’s ok too. You can register your domain and then point it to one of your social media profiles, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Ask your host or where you registered your domain for how to do this.
These tips should help you protect your personal brand and help people find what you want them to find.