When talking about personal branding or even corporate branding you should always Google yourself to see what comes up. The rule of thumb is that the first 3 pages on Google, Bing or Yahoo! should be exactly what you want it to be: on you, relevant, and positive.
But the two questions that always come up are: “What if I have a common name?” and “If I do see something I don’t want to see, how do I get rid of it?” Let’s tackle those questions.
1. What if I have a common name?
If you have a common name, such as John Miller, consider starting to use your middle initial or middle name or a nickname. Or your first two initials, like J.K. Rowling. If you’re John Miller and your friends always call you Jack then use JJ Miller or Jack Miller. Once you decide on an online persona, you need to promote it. By promoting it you’ll start to bury all of the other undesirable things you see in the search engine results.
The best way to do this is to get articles published with your name/persona in them. An easy way to do this is by creating a blog. But remember that you need to optimize it for search engine optimization and you need to make sure people click on it.
2. How do I bury something that is unflattering or is not about me?
This is a bit harder. Depending on where the ugly information is, you can start a blog or start Tweeting and those links will soon start to bury your other less desirable links. You can also pick one desirable link and send it to all of your friends in email and ask them to click on it. But these two options can take 30-60 days to see results. Another option is contacting a company who does this like Reputation.com (individual or business). You pay them to squash the stuff you don’t want on the first few pages of search engines. The great thing about them is that they can hide you online or promote you online/fix Google results – your choice.