As Don Draper says, “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.”
In a perfect world we’d be able to remove all of the unfair, outdated, and negative content about ourselves. In reality, most content stays online forever, except for in special circumstances. If you manage to remove something, that’s great, but sometimes the best you can do is just suppress negative search results by creating positive content. This way, you can control your image and improve your search results.
Note that if you’re looking to disappear from the web, this is not the solution for you. Instead, you’ll be creating more content about you, allowing you to tip the scale from negative to positive.
Step 1: Create and manage public profiles for yourself
Certain sites consistently appear at the top of Google search results. By just creating a profile with your name and a bit of identifying information, you can push down negative results. Make sure your privacy settings are set to be publicly viewed, and only post content that you’re absolutely sure you won’t regret in the future. Here is a list of sites to use:
- Twitter http://twitter.com/
- LinkedIn http://linkedin.com/
- Facebook http://facebook.com/
- Google http://plus.google.com/
- Blogger http://blogger.com/
- Tumblr http://tumblr.com/
- Photobucket http://www.photobucket.com/
- Quora http://profiles.google.com/
- Reddit http://www.reddit.com/
- MySpace http://www.myspace.com/
- Formspring https://formspring.livejournal.com/
- Foursquare http://foursquare.com/
- About.Me http://about.me/
- Digg http://www.digg.com/
- Yahoo Pulse http://pulse.yahoo.com/
- Flickr http://www.flickr.com/
Step 2: Comment publicly in news articles, forums and social media
Another option is to use your real name to register on news sites and comment on articles. These types of posts don’t usually rank as highly as the kinds of sites posted above. If you’re ready to do a bit of self-censorship, posting under your real name can be a good way to ‘sell’ yourself. Keep in mind that anything you say online can show up when someone Googles you, so use your postings to your advantage: post intelligent, well-reasoned content that is spell-checked and grammatically correct. Express yourself in the field in which you want to be established.
Step 3: Link amongst your different sites
One of the ways that Google decides a site’s rank in search results is by seeing how many times other sites link to it. You can get your content to rise by linking to itself, e.g. create a Twitter account, connect that to your Facebook page, connect both to your Photobucket, and link to them all in your Blogger page. Of course, the more you use your accounts and interact with other people, the more likely they are to link to your content, which will drive your results even higher.
Step 4: Take back negative keywords
If a generic search for your name is generally positive, but including a particular keyword brings up negative or unwanted results, you can create content to reclaim that term. For example, if a search for “Sarah Downey” is positive, but a search for “Sarah Downey State College” brings up negative results, creating content including the phrase “Sarah Downey State College” can help push down those negative results.
We hope this information was helpful to you, and we wish you luck in pushing down that content!
Abine, Inc. is The Online Privacy Company. Founded in 2009 by MIT engineers and financial experts, Abine’s mission is to provide easy-to-use online privacy tools and services to everybody who wants them. Abine’s tools are built for consumers to help them control the personal information companies, third parties, and other people see about them online.
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