During this technologically-advanced time, businesses and corporations have often learned the hard way that both what is and what is not said about them online can have a marked impact on their reputation. It can be quite disheartening to spend large amounts of time, money and effort on building up one’s reputation, only to have it shattered in a moment because of a single poor review or false story that spreads like wildfire. Unfortunately, what can happen to businesses and corporations can also happen to individuals. On the flip side, where businesses and corporations can manage and improve their online reputations, so too can individuals. In fact, one of the most basic tools of online reputation management can help an individual to advance their career.
Personal Reputation Management and SEO
While online reputation management services that include SEO are clearly vital for businesses, one may overlook the fact that these services are also important to individuals. SEO is the technique wherein one makes a desired web page for a business or corporation appear near or at the top of a search engine’s results for the relevant words or phrases. Personal SEO is, therefore, the technique wherein one makes their name appear near or at the top of a search engine’s results for relevant words or phrases, such as those related to job titles or professional skills. Considering that many employers today will often run an internet search on prospective employees as part of the decision-making process, it is easy to understand why positive content associated to one’s name should be highly visible in the results. More specifically, personal SEO can advance your career because:
- Searches are run to find potential new business partners, customers or employers and also to reconnect with individuals. Any new line of communication has the potential to open doors for the individual who is seeking to advance their career.
- Searches are run by recruiters in order to find qualified candidates for any job openings. This means that even while the individual himself may be searching for the perfect job, someone else out there may be searching for him.
- Searches are run to determine whether prospective employees are truly qualified and appropriate for a business or corporation. Some employers are even more wary of individuals who have no online reputation than individuals who have a poor online reputation as they are worried about what is being hidden. Either way, they have a vested interest in determining whether an individual they are considering hiring will help to spread positive promotion of the business.
Improving Personal SEO
Now that you understand the importance of personal SEO, it’s time to get to work improving it. As is the case with businesses and corporations, one of the most important parts of personal SEO is using keywords. In this case, the keyword you most want to use is your name, as this is what most employers will search for when trying to qualify a job candidate. However, it is vitally important that the name you are using remains consistent and unchanging. It can actually affect your online visibility if your name appears as “Laurie Smith” in one location, “Laurie Amanda Smith” in another location, and “Mandy Smith” in still another location. Employers may not bother taking the time to verify whether these variations are actually connected and associated with the same person, which means that one can lose out on some visible and positive online content that would otherwise benefit them.
It is both your right and your responsibility to protect your personal online reputation from false and harmful information that could harm it. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through defensive Googling, wherein you occasionally search for your name (and any variations) through various search engines. This can help you to quickly detect and resolve issues like mistaken online identity–where individuals with the same name may have done something that will not look good if seen by potential employers, unprofessional photos, language, ideas or comments you have shared that are publicly available online, and highly active doppelgangers who cause the individual to either look like a joker or entirely invisible online.
We currently live in a time when failing to establish and maintain a good online reputation tends to reflect poorly upon one’s character. The bottom line is that your own personal SEO and online reputation can work wonders for your career if you use them wisely as the precise tools they are.