Searching someone’s name online has become a popular event, if not the norm, in today’s day and age. Google and other search engines alike, put so much information within grasp about someone that it's hard not to be curious what’s out there. Unfortunately, the results aren’t always what you want everyone to know about you. While you may want your website, LinkedIn, and profile picture to show, instead it may be your address, phone number or full employment history.
Where People Are Searching
Where are people searching? By a wide margin, the Internet’s number one search engine is Google. Most of the time if someone is looking you up it will be here. Focusing on what shows up for Google will work for most people, but in certain situations also looking into Bing and Yahoo will become important.
Why People Are Searching
Why are people searching? Searching for information about someone happens for a variety of reasons; anything from wanting to know more about coworkers, to getting a read on potential dates to just being plain curious about someone. What people find is usually more than you might want! Information like addresses both previous and current are easily attained for most people as well as voting records and phone numbers, etc.
A very common instance of online research into a person is a hiring manager looking at a potential candidate’s information. Searches pertaining to job interviews are usually thorough and interested less in personal information than in social media and criminal records. A company wants to get a feel for who they might be bringing into their workplace. Regrettable posts on your social media may be the difference between getting hired and being passed over.
What Can You Do To Change Online Search
Changing what Google shows can often be tricky but with some time and careful thought, it is possible.
1. Start with a search of yourself, and make a note of any negative results you see within the first page.
*This is an important step to start off with and something you should repeat throughout the process of changing your search results. It gives you an idea of where you are and helps you understand where you need to be in regards to online reputation.
2. Once you know what links you don’t want to see, go through them and see what you can directly change.
- Let’s say your social media channels appear but you wouldn’t want them to be searchable. Change your privacy settings on these platforms to change what people can find!
- Any online sites you control, go within your accounts and set your privacy settings to whichever level you’re comfortable with.
3. For links you can’t directly control, don’t give up hope, it may be easier than you expect to change them.
- For example, for top sites that display personal information, we have a guide to get yourself off of the most popular ones here.
- Criminal record displaying sites are often trickier but reach out to them to get an idea of what you can do. Each site is different and each state has different laws about this, so contacting them directly is often the best option.
When Do You Need Professional Help?
Sometimes life hands you too much to do to have time to sit down and handle your own online reputation. Don’t worry! Professional help is available to get you squeaky clean online. Internet Reputation™ has available services for businesses and individuals alike including the platform, Infosweep, which monitors and removes negative links associated with your name.
If you need to speak with a professional, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to give you recommendations based on your situation and personal needs.
Protect your reputation online.