October 31, 2014

Self-EO: Optimization for Your Personal Reputation

By Justin H.

We have all Googled ourselves at some point out of curiosity. Tek Shouts sheds plenty of light on how SEO can help your business, but we have yet to explore how SEO can be applied to people for their own personal benefits. Not everyone is a business owner, but how you show up in Google rankings still matters. For reference sake, we are going to call this method “Self-EO.”
SEO is a valuable tool for bloggers and job seekers who are simply trying to develop their own brands. Googling your own name is much more than a periodical checkup to see how famous you are. Online search engines have made us all a little bit famous, and with the prominence of social media, how and where you rank online is as important as ever.

The Huffington Post measured that 80% of employers Google prospective employees prior to potentially bringing them in for an interview. Suddenly, those pictures from that one night in college don’t seem so amusing anymore. Another Huffington Post article noted how 70% of recruiters have also rejected an applicant due to what they have found online about them. Luckily, this is a correctable problem that can be mitigated by using proper Self-EO techniques.

All internet users have to assume that anything they post online will be there forever. Knowing that employers will not hire a candidate due to online findings, it is important to develop a track record of appropriate internet behavior. You are at an advantage if you have a common name, such as John Johnson. However, if you are like me and are the only person with your first and last name in the entire country, then the odds of something unfortunate you posted online resurfacing are greater.

The best way to cover up your “digital dirt” with a lovely patch of flowers is to spruce up the way you appear in search engines. Social media profiles are some of the first things that appear on the first page of Google when you search your name, so cleaning those up is imperative. A valuable lesson I was taught in college from one of my professors was to, “tweet as if your mother is watching.” Those words stuck with me, because certain things simply do not need to be shared with the world. 

Knowing that recruiters might come across your tweets about how much you hate your coworkers, or your “not safe for work” Facebook photos and comments should be incentive enough to clean up your online presence. You can also push down negative search results by creating more content.
Expanding your brand and heightening your reputation online will help you build a following that will put you in good standing with both Google and your prospective employer. Recruiters are not searching web pages with bad intent. They are not banking on failure, but simply looking for some positive results that validate you as both a person and a prospective employee.

This concept might make you fearful of your online past, but Monster.com suggests that since this new age of social media and online search engines is so young, this trend will start to head the other way in a few years. Embarrassing photos and details will become more irrelevant, and will be seen as a waste of time for recruiters to sift through.

You shouldn’t feel like an egomaniac for Googling your own name. This is 2014! Practicing online reputation management and defensive Googling is a key aspect of upholding a positive relationship with the working world. You will be glad you did it once you land that fancy new gig.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing’s more valuable than your good name – online. I’m so glad you’re creating some much needed discussion about effective online reputation management. Thanks for this detailed, well-researched post!