In a perfect world, we’d be able to remove all the unfair, outdated, and negative search results about ourselves. In reality, most content is here to stay except in special circumstances. Remove what you can, but creating your own positive content to suppress the negatives is a great way to control your image and improve your search results.
Note that if you’re looking to disappear from the web, this isn’t the solution for you. You’ll be creating more content about you, but you’ll be tipping the balance from negative to positive.
Step 1: Create and manage public profiles for yourself
Certain sites consistently appear high in the search results. By simply creating a profile on them with your name and a bit of identifying information, you can suppress negative results. Make sure that you set your privacy settings to be publicly viewed, and only post content that you’re absolutely sure you won’t regret later. Here’s a list of sites to use:
- Yahoo Pulse
Step 2: Comment publicly in news articles, forums, and social media
You can also use your real name to register on news websites and comment on articles, although these types of posts don’t tend to rank as highly as those on the sites listed above. If you’re prepared for a little self-censorship, posting under your real name can be a smart strategy for selling yourself. Knowing that anything you say online may show up when someone Googles you, use your postings to your advantage: post intelligent, grammatically-correct, spell-checked, well-reasoned content. Express yourself in the field in which you want to become established.
Step 3: Link Amongst your Various Sites
One of the ways that Google determines a site’s rank in search results is by analyzing how many times other sites link to it. You can get your content to rise by linking it to itself. For example, create a twitter account, connect that to your formspring account, connect both of those to your Facebook page, and link to all of them on your Blogger page. Of course, the more you use your accounts and interact with other people, the more likely they are to link to your content, which drives your results even higher.
Step 4: Take back negative keywords
If a search for your name is generally positive, but including a particular keyword brings up negative or unwanted results, try to reclaim that term. Let’s say that a search for “John Doe” is positive, but “John Doe”+ “State College” brings up negative results. John Doe should start including the phrase “State College” in his positive content creation in order to associate it with his good reputation.
Is there something online that haunts you or someone you know? What do you think about search engines and the internet preventing us from wiping our slates clean? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.