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In years gone by it was something people did at work if they were bored to find out if they shared their name with anyone famous. I even remember an episode of The Simpsons where Homer and friends had a quiet afternoon at the Power Station and got on Google to pass the time. We now live in an ever increasingly online world and I see Googling your own name as an essential part of managing your own online brand and reputation. In this post I will highlight some reasons why you should do this, how to improve your rankings & online presence then look at Google Alerts to keep track of what others are saying about you.

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Firstly, you should be Googling your name because other people are. From potential employers, customers and suppliers to industry colleagues and your current employer most people who you interact with on a professional basis will want to know more about you. The first thing our company do with any job applicants is put their name in Google, sometimes it can tell you a whole lot more than a CV / Resume!

With that said, it is important to bear this in mind from a career point of view. Most of us will change jobs or contract roles at some time or at least be looking for internal promotion and having a strong online presence can help you stand out from the competition. If the decision is between you and another equal candidate but you have some relevant, well written online content there is a fair chance you will be selected. The same can be said for pitching to potential customers, if it is evident that the representatives from your organisation have a passion for their subject and take the time to produce online material it will be to your advantage.

In terms of managing your content, here are a few tips: Have a full Linked In account with job roles and detailed descriptions, make sure you have a relevant Bio on Twitter with reference to your skill set, be an active contributor on SAP Community Network and also, set up you own personal blogging site. Some examples of these are blogs by myself Tim Guest and John Appleby where a good mix of work related and non work related content is posted. (Note the use of Anchor Text on our names to help with SEO! 🙂 )

Once you have some good online material, keep searching on Google to see where you are in the rankings. Clear the page history so Google isn’t biased to your previous searches. If you have a very common name or you share a name with someone like Brad Pitt, try searching Your Name and SAP or NetWeaver or whatever your niche specialism is. I share my name with an author but I’m slowly climbing the rankings to overtake him as he sadly passed away.

To view information on SEO techniques for blogs please see my recent post here: Post

You can control your own content but what if someone else is writing about you? A good way to keep track of this is to set up a Google Alert – This will search the web as often as you like and email you with any new content containing the words you select. You have no control over what other people write but “Forewarned is forearmed” and this will enable you to respond to any potentially negative comments promptly. On a lighter note, if you receive online praise it is good to capitalise on this, add a comment or Tweet the article.

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It is important to remember, this is an art not a science and it needs constant attention. To see some other great content on this subject I would recommend looking at some of Jason Lax’s posts. As always, if I can be of assistance please let me know.

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2 Comments

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  1. Jason Lax

    First, thanks for the mention: I did get an alert for this but was out sick and didn’t have a chance to read your blog until now 🙁

    This is great advice and “Googling” prospective employees or partners (work or otherwise) is the now the norm so it’s important to treat your online presence as an extension of your resume.  Sites like Internet Archive / Wayback Machine make it especially hard to remove older traces of your online activity so always be careful (Just look at this archived version of SCN’s first homepage).

    I’d like to add that you can configure Google Alerts with search operators so that only exact strings are returned and other terms are excluded. For example, use quotation marks to search for exact strings, such as “Tim Guest” OR “Guest, Tim” (notice the OR) and you can use a minus in front of terms to exclude them from results. Here’s a handy reference doc: Google Guide Quick Reference: Google Advanced Operators (Cheat Sheet)

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