After sharing this infographic with you all last week on building a strong online reputation, I had someone send me the following question on Linkedin:
What about something similar about our personal online profile dos and don’ts?
And he’s right. Our brand’s reputation is not the only reputation to build upon and protect. Whether you work for a company, are a student or work for yourself, your personal brand’s online reputation is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious important!
That said, the following are some strategic tips to help you build your personal brand’s online reputation, and keep it strong and positive.
How to build and protect your personal online reputation
The goal: To build a personal brand with a positive and strong online reputation. This means that, when someone Google’s your name, you want to have as many of the search results as possible be about you and be positive, with the messages you wish to communicate about yourself (rather than negative and/or about someone else with the same name).
Step 1: Choose your name
First thing’s first, choose your name and stick with it. Do you want to use your middle initial? Your shortened nickname? Whatever name you choose as your personal brand will become your main targeted keyword. This means that you will have to use it everywhere, i.e.: job applications, business cards, social accounts, etc.
Step 2: Build your personal profiles and stay active
There are social platforms out there that already have high-standing rankings within the search engines. Use them to your advantage. This can include building an optimized profile on third party sites such as:
- Facebook (even when you keep it private it will still take up a search result in the SERP*)
- Yahoo Answers
- Other industry-specific platforms that apply to your personal brand
These are all platforms that have high search engine rankings and simply having an optimized profile on them should get you ranked within the search engines fairly well. For the platforms such as Twitter, Linkedin, Quora and Yahoo Answers, the more active you are on them, the better for your online reputation.
Step 3: Purchase the URL of your name
Purchase the URL of your name and develop a small website on it. Whether you want to use the website as a professional tool, as a hobby or simply as another version of your online CV is entirely up to you. The important thing is that you purchase the URL of your name (www.yourname.com) and put some kind of appropriate content on it.
Option: Start a blog
But only if you’re actually going to blog on it. If blogging is something you like to do, or think you may enjoy, than start one. This can even be where your name URL leads to. Google loves blogs because they’re active with relevant content. Think of how you can get creative with a blog or a mini-website, purchase the URL and get started!
Remember: You’re a three-dimensional individual, let your online reputation showcase that!
Don’t worry about being strictly professional all the time. You have hobbies and likes and things that you enjoy outside of your professional or academic career. Don’t be afraid to show the world who you are. However, this does not mean to post or publish things that you will later regret. Always act responsibly online.
Step 4: Monitor
Last but not least is of course to monitor. Google yourself regularly – and don’t forget to log out of your Google account when you do so. Always keep yourself up-to-date on what is being said about you online, who others are with the same name as yours and what’s being said about them online, as well as how well their online reputation is ranked next to yours.
The stronger your personal online reputation, the harder it is for others to hurt you
Every time your name is published online, it reflects upon your personal online reputation. The more you have a presence, the more you will build your online reputation to be whatever you want it to be. The more of a positive and strong presence you have, the harder you will make it for trolls and others to hurt your reputation online.
* SERP = search engine result pages