Online reputation management is often discussed in the context of the reputation of a company. But like companies, millions of individuals are also concerned about their online reputation.

In the employment sector myriad HR recruiters conduct simple Google searches to find out more about an applicant. If they find negative information, it hinders if not completely eliminates any chance of the applicant being hired.

First, set up a listening post to monitor your own name. You can start at a very simple level by using Google Alerts.

Then, if youre under attack, what can you do to fight back? (How to decide to react to negative online content)


Clearing your name on the internet does not necessarily require you to hire online reputation management professionals (unless the damage is  severe). The following tips below can help you take back control over your image:

  1. Be Careful " just because you get a lot of friend requests on Facebook everyday doesnt mean that you should approve them all. Limit the number of people who can see your personal profile because this can be taken against you. Set your profile in such a way that only friends and immediate network can view it.
  2. Create Profiles "displace negative web pages that include your name by creating profiles on social networking sites. Aside from the most popular ones, create profiles in other selected websites. For example, profiles on Digg, Flickr, LinkedIn, and other communities would often land on the first two pages of the search engine results page (SERP).
  3. Register a Domain Name " register it as your own name. This will rank at the top of the SERP. The individual or company behind the smear campaign might become your doppelganger, however, so be careful. The likelihood of this is low. Registering a site using your own name also improves the chances of others linking to it using your name as anchor text.
  4. Start Blogging " install WordPress. Then start blogging.  It doesn't take that long.
  5. Find Some Good Stuff About You " if theres positive content thats not ranking on the search engines about you, start building some links to that content. This is particularly helpful if that content has been there for months or years (as it contributes to legitimacy). Cross link your social media profiles with each other and with those web pages. Social bookmarking is also recommended. 

Whatever the situation is for you right now, the key is to act immediately.  Undesirable information will gain traction with time; counter that information, displace it from the search engines, and make every effort to get them removed. The steps outlined here will help you get started.