Protecting your online identity seems to get harder every day. These five steps should help you protect yourself so that you can keep up a positive reputation online.
1. Google Yourself Regularly
Image via Flickr by Elvert Barnes
Google your name at least once a week to see what people have posted online about you. That’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to spot inaccurate or misleading information. If you don’t know that a problem exist, then you can’t take steps to control your identity.
If you have a very common name, add your middle name or other ties to your online persona. Don’t just put in “John Smith.” Instead, try something like “John Smith surfer California.”
2. Purchase Domain Names for Yourself
Professionals and business owners often purchase multiple websites to protect their reputations. Let’s say you’re a doctor named Rachel Stevens. It makes sense to purchase domain names such as :
By owning these sites, you can control the information on them. If someone else buys the domain name before you, he could post negative comments that will cripple your reputation.
Imagine a potential client who visits a website that looks like yours but contains inaccurate information. The site’s name gives credibility to the comments, so you could have just lost a patient.
3. Boost Your Site’s Google Rankings
The first page of Google search results are the most important for your online reputation. Over 36 percent of Google users click the first result. Just over 12 percent click the second. By the time you get to the bottom of the page, only 2.2 percent ever bother clicking the link.
That means you should focus on dominating the first page of Google search results. Reputation.com videos can show you important strategies that will improve your ranking. Some of the most effective strategies include:
- Getting more inbound links pointing to your site
- Using keywords and keyword phrases that will attract search engines
- Creating social media profiles that link to your websites
4. Think Before You Act
Some people get attacked for things they didn’t do. Others get attacked for mistakes that they make. You can reduce the risk of negative comments and posts by thinking before you act. Don’t post your opinions online until you’ve read it carefully. If you can find any way to twist the words into a negative meaning, then revise your statement before posting. Assume that someone will see everything you do online. If there is even the potential for criticism, don’t do it.
5. Address Negative Comments on Social Media Sites
Don’t let negative comments sit on your social media profiles. It’s best to address them. Try to take a respectful tone that doesn’t judge or accuse the person who posted the comment. Remember, some people just don’t have full control over their emotions. If you’ve made a mistake, apologize and try to make up for it.
If someone accuses you falsely, explain your side of the story respectfully. If that person keeps posting unwarranted comments, then you can block them from your page.
What other strategies do you use to protect your online identity? Have you found that some work better than others?
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