Before you start reading this article, I want you to go to Google, type in your name, and hit Search. Take a look at the first page of results, and the following:
If every listing on the first page of search results for your name is about you, has no negative information, and has your contact information so people can get ahold of you immediately after looking at that webpage, then you're in top shape as far as your online branding goes. If not, here are some ways you can ensure that anyone who searches you finds only the most relevant and positive information about you and you alone.
The first step towards controlling your online reputation is creating strong online properties for your personal brand. These should include any (and all) of the following.
Make your username on each yournameif possible and include your name in the blog title to ensure they will rank well.
There are a lot of networks and directories that will automatically create profiles for you based on public information. A great example is the way Google Places creates profiles for a business that business owners have to claim in order to edit and add information. If you see profiles or directory listings about you in the first page of search results for your name, find out what it will take to claim them (sometimes they are free, other times there is a fee involved), and if you feel it is worth it, do so and update the information. Be sure to try to get in your phone number, email address, or website on the listing to make it worth it!
Last but not least, be sure that every time you upload a photo or video of yourself, your name is in both the filename and (if possible) the title of the media. This will help you if search results for your name include image or video results so that searchers will see that you are dominating every aspect of your online presence.
Contributing writer Kristi Hines is an online marketing consultant, freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast.