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Your Online Reputation and An Ounce of Prevention

By Herb Tabin | Submitted on March 8th, 2011 0 Comments

We’ve all heard the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This phrase is true in many aspects of life, including your online reputation. The best way for anyone to keep from getting a bad reputation, especially a bad one created by someone that isn’t you, is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Estimates are showing that more than 70% of employers will search for a prospective employee’s name on the Web as part of their hiring and screening process. At least half of those employers have skipped over an applicant based purely on what they found online.

Countless graduates have gone out into the world to find a job only to learn (usually after a lot of rejections) that the one photo of them on Facebook at a drunken party has denied them countless opportunities. Worse yet, what about those who find out that a negative comment from an old flame or rival on a couple of blogs are at the forefront of their Google results?

Both of these, especially the inadvertent (maybe your friend posted that Facebook photo) or malicious (as in the blogs), negatives can be thwarted just by having already established your online reputation beforehand. For instance, the Facebook photo would have been sidestepped had you known to untag yourself from things like that to preserve your presence online. The vicious blogs? Those would never have made the first page of Google results for your name had you already been well-established online with a website, Facebook page, etc. built in your favor.

You have to do two things to keep a good online reputation: build it yourself and stay on top of it. Use your name as a “key word” on every honest, positive-spin blog post or website about yourself that you make. This might sound like narcissistic marketing, but what you’re doing is building yourself as an online brand much in the same way you build and protect your credit record.

For instance, when I post a blog on my site, when I built my Facebook page, or when I write something to be published on another person’s website, I make sure that “Herbert Tabin” is included in it specifically. At least once beyond the article byline. Every time I do this, it’s adding my name to search results with a new piece of content that will cast me in a positive light.

If you were to search for my co-author Craig Agranoff’s name or for our book “Online Reputation Management,” you’ll see the same thing. We have built our online reputations from the ground up in order to prevent others from ruining them with a single blog post or a couple of comments.

You should do the same.

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