Keeping one’s life private on the internet is becoming harder everyday, although there are several tricks within online reputation management which will make it more difficult in finding content about your private life.
I recently was asked how to hide personal information which comes up on Google search and I figure this would be a great topic for Hero SEO to discuss. Whither it’s a bad book review, personal legal information, or bad press – the insights below will inform why this is happening and how to combat such results.
The top results within search engines, such as Google, are often considered to be most relevant towards the particular keyword phrase queried. This could be a persons name, product, brand, ect. Although, with that said, sometimes there are pages which search engines find that might be relevant which possibly paints a negative view on what you would like promoted for the keyword phrase.
Online Reputation Management
Lets first describe online reputation management.
Online reputation management, often shortened to ORM, is a practice within search engine optimization which method is to position specific pages higher within search engines which you selectively want to show people and drown out the pages which you want to hide.
Well, how do I go about doing this?
Publish content online! I’ve mentioned this thoughout this blog, but I’ll say it again; serve the most relevant content. Depending on how competitive the specific keyword you are trying to target will dictate how much content you will need to produce.
In an example for a product or brand, the best direction would be to build a website and create pages for the targeted keyword phrase. The content on these pages should have some depth and are considered to be authoritative by search engines. If you find yourself in this position, hiring a proper SEO is recommended and will help out significantly.
If it is a persons name you are optimizing for, long and descriptive content is not particularly what you want to shoot for. In this situation it would be beneficial to first use large social networks to your advantage. These domains often hold great authority within search engines and usually rank well.
Specifically, you should target these websites which allow for you to define a specific url: https://www.domain.com/FirstName-LastName.
LinkedIn Is Great For ORM
LinkedIn is a great tool for finding people and has reflected well within reputation management services. Here are a couple of tips when optimizing LinkedIn profiles for ORM.
- Have a public profile
- Create a custom URL
- Create links pointing to your profile
LinkedIn Public Profiles
LinkedIn provides the privacy option to allow for your profile not to be found by search engines. For the argument of this article – we don’t want that!
To ensure that these settings are correct, login to LinkedIn and go to Privacy & Settings. Click on the privacy tab and under the Profile Privacy. Then, click on the link Edit your Public Profile.
There are some settings on the right side of the page I would like to direct attention to. Make sure that “Make my public profile visible to everyone” is selected. If you would like to further define what specific parts of your profile to make public, LinkedIn provides the options to do so below.
On this same page, LinkedIn also provides the option to customize the specific URL to your public profile. By default, it should already contain the first and last name of the person who created the account. Although they also add a specific number behind this name to ensure that there is no mix-up with other profiles with the same name. Go ahead and remove this number within the custom URL. If there is already a profile with the same name, customize a unique URL which contains the name of the person.
This might take several weeks for this page to show up in search engines, although with some time, there is no doubt that it will.
Use Facebook & Twitter
If there not already created, go ahead and create both Facebook and Twitter accounts. As you might have guessed, both of these social profiles should include the persons name within the account for this to properly rank within search engines.
Don’t leave your Twitter account completely empty! Put a description on your profile page and send out a couple of tweets every now and then.
Here is a side note one Facebook; related to this article. Facebook offers a handful of privacy settings for one to control if a profile can be found, as well as, which type of information is displayed to the public. For the sake of this article, you are going to want to ensure that the persons profile is searchable from search engines. To do this, go to the privacy settings within Facebook and select “Who can look me up?”.
Create A Personal Website
Websites are easy to come by and can provide extra pages to rank within search engines. What I would recommend is to use Google Blogger, for a free and quick resource for having content on the web. Plus it’s owned by Google, so they might suggest these type of pages within search engines more quickly.
You don’t need to put much effort in creating content for the site; just make sure that there is enough information on the page which depicts the specific persons name you are optimizing for in a beneficial fashion. Four to six-hundred words should be sufficient per page.
Continuing, I would also recommend that a page, one differing from the homepage, to be created. On this page, discuss what you would like to inform other people about regarding this specific person. Also, title the page with the name of the person and ensure this name is included within the URL.
Wordpress Offers Free Blogging Too
You can also create a free website at WordPress.com too. I find that it would be beneficial to create both Google Blogger & WordPress sites; for the more pages you have relevant towards the specific keyword phrase, the more pages which you can use to hide unwanted results within search engines.
So now we have something like this:
You can purchase a domain which includes the persons name if you want. Domains are cheap these days – why not. Although I will not cover how to associate a newly purchased domain name with either Google Blogger or WordPress, there are a ton of tutorials online which describes how to do so.
If I were to choose one or the other, I would point a domain like this at a separate Google Blogger site. One which differs from the Google Blogger site mentioned above. Because, why not!
Other Blogging Sites which help in ORM
There are a handful of other useful sites to help with online reputation management as well! Go ahead and repeat the instructions above for the appropriate domains below (which are all free).
Ok, now you have created all of these different webpages which identify a name of a specific person – what’s next?
Backlinks, in regard to search engine optimization, is simply a link which points from one domain to another. Collecting links from high authoritative websites have been a popular method for raising pages within search engine results for a long time.
One way of doing this is commenting on blogs. They shouldn’t be any old blog, they should be specific blogs relevant to the content at hand. In this example of ORM, the relevant content would be blogs which discuss topics which the individual has an interest in and overall passion towards.
To find such blogs, search in Google “dofollow blogs” + topic of interest.
Leaving blog comments to get links is not the best way of getting great backlinks to a specific domain, although for this instance, I find that it’s not too spammy.
Here are some tips on blog commenting:
- Only comment where you can leave a name & website
- Use a persons name, rather than a inanimate keyword (i.e. “Best iPhone 7 Charger”)
- Your comment should be relevant to the article
Placing links on other domains which point to the websites you have created will allow for search engines to find your content quicker and will adjust how relevant the specific keyword phrase stands in regard to ranking individual pages within search engine rankings. Go ahead and paint the town red with this advice!