In the public’s eye, your Google results are who you are, outdated information, or not. When was the last time you Googled yourself? Nowadays, it’s not just friends and family looking at a student’s Google search results, but also employers and college admissions officers.
Do your teen’s Google search results say what they want them to? 7 experts weigh in on the power of Google search results and how to clean up your results to show what you want people to discover about you online.
1. If you can’t fix your Google search results, bury negatives with positives
Josh Ochs, Founder, SmartSocial.com
Your personal brand is what sets you apart from other job or intern candidates, other college applicants, and more. What you say and post online should reflect who you are and who you want colleges and employers to see. If you find old posts that don’t represent who you are, go back through your profiles and do a social media clean up before building your positive online brand.
Building a digital portfolio that ranks at the top of Google is one of the best ways to push old content down. At SmartSocial.com, we teach teens in our Student Branding Academy how to fix bad Google results so they can shine online for their dream college/internship/job.
Nowadays, a Google search will be one of the first things someone does to see if you’re even worth interviewing. Showcasing your talents and passions online is what we help students focus on as well as sharing about volunteering or even spending quality time with family offline. Never stop updating your digital portfolio as Google pushes older content down to replace it with new.
2. Your Google search results can result in lost college or job opportunities, lost revenue for a company, and signal poor culture fit
Kate Tudoreanu, Career Success Coach
Before doing college applications or a job search, here are two tips that can help students repair search results and keep on top of new ones:
1. Most people don’t check beyond the first 3 pages of Google search results. Use this to your advantage. To move less desirable results further back, do
a search every day and only click on links to sites which you wouldn’t mind someone finding. This strategy takes time but will help in the long-term. You can enlist trusted friends or family members to help.
2. Check your Google results regularly. I check every month or two. To reduce how often you need to Google yourself, set up Google alerts. You will receive an email each time Google finds a newly published page with your name on it.
3. Do not apply until you clean up your digital footprint, no matter the deadline
Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer, resume.io
One of the things we tell all applicants is to never send out a resume or college application before they clean up their digital footprint. Many organizations do Google and social media investigations as part of their standard due diligence now.
Below are some additional ways your Google search results can impact your life:
Large companies and colleges have a lot of goodwill and public images online of new hires in the social media era represent all kinds of potential PR disasters. Hiring someone who has posted or said potentially highly embarrassing things online could result in a major hit to that image and even lost revenue. It makes sense that your social media presence could be disqualifying.
A personal Google search could get an otherwise impressive job or college application turned down for fear of a scandal, or it might simply return information to those reviewing your application that offends one or more people. While it might not be a big deal outside of a career or academic context, it could signal to those evaluating you that you are an unserious person, that you lack tact and good judgment, or that you are a poor fit for an institution or organization’s culture.
4. Your Google results are how the public views you as a professional
Kylee Jacobs, Chief Marketing Officer, The Absolute Dater
I check on my digital footprint by searching for myself in Google every once in a while. It enables me to view things related to my name and clear out any outdated information or things that do not represent who I am.
Oftentimes, potential new clients use Google search results to know more about a person, if he or she is trustworthy, their background, and achievements. They may use this as a basis if they will do business with you or not. That is why an individual’s online Google search results can represent a company’s standards or damage business opportunities for everyone. Your Google results should always be checked because they help you know how the public views you as a professional.
5. Improve your Google search results with online projects
Kaelum Ross, Founder, What in Tech
I have been part of hiring for many projects, companies, and for my own business. Make no mistake, employers can and will Google your name to get a feel for what kind of information is out there. I was also told on one occasion by an employer that they looked me up before offering me one of the most significant jobs in my career.
After hearing about this I was worried about my own online presence. What I did to improve mine was creating some online projects based on some hobbies. I used my real name (for me this was a blog, a YouTube channel with some piano playing, and a few basic appearances in other blogs) so when you Google me now, results that are a little more interesting than just my Facebook account show up. If your name is uncommon, you don’t have to do anything too intense to rank for your own name on Google. If you happen to have a more common name, it may take a little work. It is a great bonus and indicator of status if you specifically rank high on Google.
6. Your Google results can either gain or lose you credibility
Samantha Moss, Editor & Content Ambassador, Romantific
Having a good online professional brand is crucial because it increases credibility among readers and followers. One thing I do to monitor my online professional brand is googling myself regularly.
Googling yourself isn’t just for fun nowadays. It is necessary to Google yourself regularly because it will help you ensure that there is nothing online that can negatively affect you, your profession, or your company. Googling yourself will help you tailor the online brand that you want to have.
7. Do a social media clean up
Stefan Smulders, Founder, Expandi
As you probably know, your online presence is incredibly important. Now, with so much information available instantly at our fingertips, future employers, clients, and business partners can find out an abundance of information with a few clicks.
If you quickly type your name, what type of things show up? Do old photos of you drinking at parties come up? How about semi-serious tweets that you wrote years ago? Is everything PC and professional?
This, unfortunately, can change people’s opinion of you. So it’s time to have a quick online cleanup. Delete anything old and outdated that doesn’t represent you today.
Google search results can impact your life without even knowing it. After reading this blog, spend some time cleaning up and improving your Google search results. Need help? SmartSocial.com’s Student Branding Academy helps students build a positive online digital footprint that ranks them at the top of Google so they can share the narrative they want others to discover. It’s never too late or too early to start creating a positive footprint for the world to see.