The top Google searches this year have ranged from President Elect Donald Trump to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps -- but when’s the last time you searched your own name?
Why you should Google your own name
You really should type your name into that search bar because there’s a good chance that other people are already doing it. Here’s just a short list of folks who might be Googling you:
- Prospective employers
- Future landlord
- College admissions staff
- Love interests (Past and present)
- Estranged family and friends
According to Glassdoor.com, nearly 80% of employers will conduct a Google search to learn more about you – good and bad -- before an interview.
These are the four things they're looking for:
- Professional headshot
- Your online portfolio
- The size of your digital footprint
- Your character and behavior
In other words, think of this type of a search as a pre-interview.
While a search that turns up unflattering material would likely eliminate a job applicant from consideration, positive search results may give someone an edge.
How to get the best search results
By now, maybe you’ve already started Googling yourself to see what turns up.
But to see everything that’s out there, you’ll want to add other words to your search, such as the name of your company, school or where you live. Anything to narrow the results.
SEARCH TIP: Find more results by searching usernames, email addresses and phone numbers.
Don't forget Google Images
After you complete those steps, be sure to do a Google Images search to see what pictures of yourself show up.
Think someone is stealing your pictures? Then use the reverse image search tool.
From the Google Images page, click on the camera button to search by image. After you upload a photo and click search, you’ll see sites that are using your picture!
Remove unwanted search results
Now that you have gathered all of this information about yourself, what do you do if there’s something you want removed? Well, you have a few options.
- If the Google results link to social media content that you control, modify or delete the post directly from your account. This works for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram activity.
- Contact websites if they’ve published something about you that should be removed.
- You can request that Google remove “sensitive personal information” from search results, but it will remain on the Internet. Click here to find out more about this option.
Set up a Google Alert for your name
You can't predict when someone will publish a piece of content with your name attached to it, but Google Alerts will notify you whenever that happens.
From the setup page, add your name in quotes, set your options and create the alert. You can create multiple alerts, so consider making one for your nickname or maiden name as well.
Google Alerts are free and they're sent to your email address.