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C-Suite Agenda

You Are Your Online Self. Here’s How to Take Control

Business people in office

In a world where the lines between real life and the web are blurred, the importance of managing your own online reputation has become paramount. Even if you’re Facebook-free and adverse to apps, that doesn’t mean you’re absent from the Internet as a whole. No matter who you are, you’ve got an online presence. Maybe it’s on your employer’s website, or on one of the many online information brokerages that scrapes publicly available information, but there’s a story out there being told about you and if you refuse to engage with it, you’re leaving control of that narrative up to others.

It might feel strange to know that people may be searching for your name online, but there’s no better time than now to take control of what’s on that results page. This is the reason I founded MyLife, with the express purpose of helping individuals protect their online presence. Millions of people look to online platforms like mine and others to help manage their online reputation, but there are still plenty of easy ways that anyone can get started crafting a substantial presence on their own. Here are just a few methods you can use today to take charge.

Search yourself

There’s a reason major online reputation management firms promise better Google results — the search engine is head and shoulders above the rest, so it’s the first place people go to learn more about you. This is mostly thanks to Google’s incredible (and impenetrable) search algorithm: the lines of code that determine which links pop up in your search results and which ones are banished to page 10 and beyond.

Taking a look at the search results will give you an idea of what’s out there, and can help you decide on the next steps to take. If you don’t like what you see, know that there are several ways to get your online reputation in line with the one you have in mind for yourself.

Stay on Alert

Of the countless useful services they offer, Google also can keep you apprised of every time your name is mentioned. If you’re hoping to keep tabs on any new mentions of your name, Google Alerts is a must.

The service even has a convenient “Me on the Web” tab that makes it simple to track mentions of your email address, social media properties, and more. You’ll be able to customize how often you receive these alerts so you’re not inundated with emails. Now, no further mentions of your name will get past you, the better to manage your reputation plan.

Get social media-savvy

Even if you’re not looking to start a trending topic, having a profile on multiple social networks makes for a simple entry-level way to present yourself online. Share interesting stories, connect with friends, and even find business opportunities with LinkedIn. No matter what your lifestyle or line of work, there’s a place for you in the social sphere.

Privacy is certainly a valid concern when dealing with social media, but know that all of the major providers now have robust protections in place for your personal info. Comprehensive privacy settings can give you pinpoint control over what is and isn’t shared with the public at large. For those looking to avoid mixing their personal life with their professional one, knowing how to use these tools is a must.

Consider a blog

You might be thinking you have nothing to say, but that’s almost certainly not true! A personal blog can express whatever’s on your mind, from your thoughts on current events to the your niche hobbies and interests. Featuring your name prominently means the site you create will rank well, and regular updates will keep the site near the top of your results.

Creating regular content on such a blog is key to a high ranking. Search engines prioritize sites that are updated frequently, so adding at least one new post per month will keep your site prominent. These posts don’t have to be high art, and they don’t have to go viral. They just have to be yours.

Build a biography

Online reputation is all about storytelling, and there are few better ways to take control than to write your story on your own. Whether on your social media or personal blog, a well-written personal narrative accomplishes several goals at once: it gets across what you’re all about to those searching you, is an authoritative source of information about you, and it will rank highly when your name is searched.

If you’re worried about your writing skills-don’t be! This is all about sharing who you are with the world at large. Anyone searching for you will most likely read it, so honesty and forthrightness are more important than writing the great American novel. A bio written in the third person containing multiple mentions of your full name (first and last) will also rank very well in Google-accomplishing two of your goals at once.

Just as you want to make a good impression when meeting new people, you’ll want to put your best foot forward on the Internet as well. It’s not about crafting an online-only version of yourself, it’s about presenting the best real-world you for the internet to see. You can share as much or as little about your personal self as possible, but if you’re shying away from even these simple steps you leave the floor open for others to tell your story. In a world that’s growing more Internet-saturated by the day, taking control of your online rep ensures that your first impression is exactly how you intend it to be.

Written by Jeffrey Tinsley. Have you read?
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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - C-Suite Agenda - You Are Your Online Self. Here’s How to Take Control
Jeffrey Tinsley
Jeffrey Tinsley is the founder and CEO of MyLife, designed to help individuals control their online personal information and provide them with a level of safety and comfort across the web. He is responsible for the company’s overall direction and strategies. Jeffrey Tinsley is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.