It is wise to do a browser search on yourself and your office periodically (see a previous posting, “Mental Health Professionals, Know Thy Internet Self- And Be Prepared for Potential Shocks!” for my surprising findings). What do you do, however, if you find that something troubling is included in the search results? Re/code.net, a helpful tech news site, posted an interesting online article on July 1, 2015, “Cleaning Up ‘Your Personal Brand’ Isn’t as Easy as You Think.”
The author describes some typical online search problems and reviews some potential resources for removing, or at least reducing, the damage. The option that she recommends for most individuals, as opposed to organizations with deeper pockets than the average mental health professional, is BrandYourself.com, which has a free service and a paid Concierge service, with the latter probably being out of reach for most of us at $399 per month. The free version re quires some work, and there are, as I found out when I tried it, limits to what you can do about nuisance search hits, but it does provide some helpful advice that seems worth a try.
The author also touches on the power of Google in regard to search results: “If your online profile is squeaky clean, congratulations: You won’t have to worry about what will happen when a future boss Googles your name. But if you find search results you don’t like, only Google can control whether or not those results appear.”
My take: It is important to be aware of your “brand” and other aspects of your online presence, to check on it periodically, and at least try to do something about nuisance or otherwise problematic results. Sites like BrandYourself.com can be of some assistance. If you are really in trouble, expect to spend a lot more using a site like Reputation.com.