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Who doesn’t turn to Google to learn a little more about a potential business partner, supplier, employer or employee, and you can be sure that people are Googling you right back too.
An overriding strategy for controlling your reputation online is to do good stuff that gets put up online: write a blog, write articles for top-ranking sites, speak at events, get listed on association or top-ranking aggregator (directory) sites, do charitable works, or win awards. In this way the good stuff will show up when you are searched, either creating a persona where once there was none, or pushing less desirable activity down the rankings.
Here are a few quick tips to manage your reputation online
- Using Google on your own computer will probably give you skewed results, so use a Google tool “Me on the Web” which will show you how Google sees you, and provides a free service to notify you of any changes. You need a Google+ account for this. Read on to find out why you should get a Google+ account anyway.
- Use Facebook’s “View As” tool to see how others see you. Even if you have set your privacy settings, you might still be surprised at what people can see.
Control what you can control
- Take the time to understand and update your privacy settings for Facebook, Linkedin and other services you might use.
- On Facebook be aware that updating your privacy settings is a “from this time forward” action. Be sure to “Limit Past Posts”.
- Amongst other things, on Linkedin remember to “Turn On and Off your Activity Broadcasts” when updating your profile so your connections don’t get to see every move you make (but turn it on again once you are set up and are sharing tips and advice).
- Make your URLS “pretty”. Use the options in Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook to claim your vanity URL, which is your name rather than the default string of numerals you get when you open an account. You will then become more searchable.
Add value where you can
- If you do not have a Linkedin account, or if you have one but have not bothered updating it, please do it. LinkedIn entries usually show up high if not top on a search, often above people’s own websites.
- Take time to add photos of your work on your Linkedin profile (you can now). Add videos. Upload PDFs. Write a well-written keyworded summary, in the first person. Read tips to update your LinkedIn profile here.
- If you have a Facebook business Page, use it. Share stuff that is relevant. Add photos to themed albums and share them on your timelines. Consider using the occasional hashtag. These seem to be searchable by Google. People do look at Facebook pages before meetings.
Grow your online presence
- Google likes Google. Set up your own Google+ profile and try to use it to share tips, images or content, especially if they link to content elsewhere. It may feel a bit pointless since few people use it, but Google likes it. It also gives you access to Google tools such as “Me on the web”.
- Consider setting up a “Blogger” account (owned by Google). Write something. If you have a mental block, just make a note of the next question you get asked that calls upon your knowledge and experience, and turn your answer into a blog post.
- Slideshare is well optimised, and easy to use. You can upload Powerpoint presentations, perhaps explaining a “how to”, or perhaps a business profile. These soon show up high in the search rankings. The more you do, the better.
- Google other people in your industry and find out where they show up. There are often some associations that have nailed their SEO, so by joining such associations you can ride on the back of this and your membership, or activities in the association will show up on a search.
- Contribute to top-ranking online publications for your industry. Hong Kong Business is a good one.
- Do stuff. Speak at events, win competitions.
Improving your online reputation is a work in progress but by putting the effort in to building and managing your online presence, you will probably find that the activities help focus and develop your offline business development too. It really is a worthwhile project to take on.
Our service: We help businesses and executives build and manage their online presence. Please email us if you would like to know more.
“The Right to Be Forgotten”
You may have heard of this recent European ruling that allows certain users to request search engines like Google to remove results for queries that include the person’s name. To qualify, the results shown would need to be “inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive”. (I believe this only applies to Europe too). This comes up against the public’s right to know in cases such as a fraudulent politician and so on, and Google is having to make these judgment calls so, as you can imagine, there is already a huge backlog.
Your best solution is, in fact, to start doing good and get these actions recorded online so that undesirable listings get pushed down the rankings. This must be some kind of karma!
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