It may sound like something Victorian mothers used to advise their daughters about, but these days managing your reputation – or at least your online reputation – applies to us all.
Reputation management these days refers to the practice of monitoring the internet reputation or online presence of a person, brand or business, in order to either suppress negative mentions entirely, or push them lower on search engine results pages to decrease their visibility.
It’s big business now too, for corporations seeking to protect and defend their expensive brands online.
Your own online reputation though, is your responsibility. If you’re a freelancer or a small business (especially one trading under your own name), it’s extremely likely that potential clients will search your name online.
Do you want them to find your business website, or those photographs of you on that Estonian stag do?
In recent years it’s become incredibly easy to publish information about yourself on the internet. You may think that you manage your privacy sufficiently by limiting who can see this information on social networking sites etc, but your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you, whether this be a mention in a blog post, a tagged picture or a reply to a publicly visible status update. When someone searches for your name on a search engine like Google, the results that appear are a combination of information you’ve posted and information published by others.
Google have this week released a new tool called ‘Me on the Web’ to help make it easier to monitor your identity on the web and to provide easy access to resources describing ways to control what information is on the web. This tool appears as a section of the Google dashboard and makes it easy to set up Google Alerts to notify you if somebody mentions your name or email addresses in websites and news stories. It can even automatically suggest some search terms you may want to monitor.
Writing on the Google Public Policy Blog Product Manager Andreas Tuerk, said:
‘This is just one of our first steps in continuing to explore ways to help make managing your identity online simpler.’
If you want to keep track of your online reputation, we’d recommend setting up Google Alerts, so you can see whenever you are mentioned!