What’s online about you--good or bad, true or false, stale or fresh--is all part of your digital DNA. Right or wrong, it is the crayon box people use to color in the lines about you. 

And research shows they’re searching for you and drawing significant conclusions based on what they find. 

Just consider: 

  • 93 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates--with Facebook and Twitter as other trusted resources. (Will they be impressed by what they find?)
  • Seven in 10 adults who use the Internet have looked for information about other people, says a Pew study. (Do you think they’ll overlook you?)
  • More than 30 percent of adults say they couldn’t run for political office based on their online results. (Really?)
  • 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (People could bypass your business entirely!) 

A frequent refrain in my business is, “Well, my search results don’t come up with much about me so I must be okay, right?” Wrong. In today’s world, an absence of information can raise eyebrows--like, why can’t I find information about you? More importantly, it creates a strong vacuum effect where anything that’s online about you automatically gets sucked right up to the top of your search results. Ask yourself if you’d rather see current, smart, and accurate content up there--or if you’d rather leave a first impression to the vagaries of Google’s algorithm. 

It’s not too complicated to start taking control of your online reputation.  

Odds are, you’ve already done some of the initial legwork by establishing yourself on key social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Are you posting frequently? These don’t need to be War and Peace in length and intellectual complexity. Just keep them professional, pithy, and polished. Consider getting a Tumblr. It's an easy way to share photos of employees in action, announce a new produce, talk about a sale, etc. Buy your own domain name (www.yournamehere.com) and update it with factual details. 

These small steps can add up to big initial returns for your online reputation.