A follow up post was published March 28 2012: Google is watching you
I recently received a request to delete someone’s comment on one of my blog posts. Apparently, googling her/his name was bringing my blog in the top three search results exposing that specific comment rather than other important content about her/him.
In this digital age, it is essential to keep track of what Google says about you. If it does not say anything, it can be a double-edged sword. You are either too careful to leave any digital footprints; “what are you trying to hide?”; or completely disconnected from the digital world; “what age do you live in?”
Many have googled you already, so don’t be the last.
Applying to a new job? Expect to be googled.
Moving to a new neighbourhood? Expect to be googled.
Dating a new person? You have already been googled, under Images, YouTube and News and with multiple different search terms.
With the power Google has to speak on your behalf, you need to learn to speak their language. It is important to weed out negative search results and promote make-me-look-good ones.
Google prides itself with a mysterious algorithm that ranks results. Money and political power do not appear to be able to crack that algorithm down. The Google Problem of USA 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum is one example. The best practice to optimize your name, business or organization’s search result is yet to be figured out. For now, here are few of the tricks I learned:
Create a blog and post frequently. A blog will give you initial control over what comes up first when someone googles your name or chosen keywords. Google likes fresh so blog regularly. Search terms leading to your blog will increase with every post. Try to link to your blog from other webistes. Linking from a .edu site appears to have a great impact. Tag articles and photos you want to promote with your full name. Share content that others might want to link to, content that will be relevant today and in 5 years. Share the link to you blog on all your social media accounts. Consider guest-posting on other blogs if you are not ready for a personal blog yet. Use your full name to tag those posts. Consider including your photo and tag it with your full name.
Update your bio on all your social media accounts and company profiles. Make sure to include links to your blog. Always use the same spelling of your name.
Use free third-party reputation-enhancers or internet content monitors like Yasni.
Optimize security options. Edit your security options on social platforms – like Facebook,, Google+, Twitter – to suite your desire. Nevertheless, assume that most of content you post anywhere online is likely to get public and searchable, so choose carefully what you share even in closed groups, chat channels, and private forums. A single tweet you made years ago can come back and haunt you. Comments you make on public Facebook pages are also exposed by search engines.