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On this page: Miriam Salpeter describes the some of the ways job seekers can monitor and influence their online visibility.

Monitor and Influence Your Online Presence

One of the most important reasons for job seekers to use social media is to make it easier for people to find you online. If you optimize the various social networks and opportunities to interact (including LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs, for example), you have a great opportunity to influence how major search engines, such as Google, will index your name.

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You may be surprised to learn that there are actually two Internets – the visible one, accessible via any basic search engine, and a hidden Internet (more about that next month). Today, some suggestions to help monitor and influence results on the visible Web.

Monitoring

  • Google your own name to learn what others will find when trying to learn more about you. Set up a Google alert at http://www.google.com/alerts for your name to receive email alerts whenever Google indexes something about you or someone who shares your name. (More on Using Google Alerts.)

  • Track mentions on Twitter using TweetBeep.com. Similar to Google alerts, it will send you e-mail updates when it comes across your name.

  • SocialMention.com calls itself the equivalent of Google alerts, but for social media. Use this service to try to track information across social media sites.

Influencing Results

Sometimes, job seekers are surprised to learn that they have a dubious "doppelganger" (someone who shares their name). For example, I knew someone who shared a name with someone convicted of murder. Of course, it is also possible that you share a name with a famous ball player or other well-known personality. This is usually a lot easier to manage, as no one is likely to confuse you with that person.

Having a celebrity with your name does present challenges if you are trying to have top-level results for your name in Google. You don’t want people to have to scroll through pages and pages of information to find the real you!

For example, Willie Jackson is a technology consultant who provides marketing, branding, strategy, and web design services to individuals, small businesses and non-profit organizations. He is proud to note that his website (www.williejackson.com) is the first result when you Google his name, outranking Willie Jackson, the NFL player.

Willie attributes his successful online indexing to:

  1. Owning a domain name relevant to the phrase he's looking to rank for (in this case, his name) and

  2. Using a content publishing platform that has a demonstrated history of performing well in search engines.

Willie advises all professionals to own their domain name, even if they need to use a middle initial, for example, www.JohnMSmith.com. He suggests job seekers use http://flavors.me to create an attractive site that ties together all of their social networks in one, easily accessible online site. He notes, "Having an effective personal website no longer requires deep pockets or technical experience—one need only have the desire to find the right tool and the motivation to see the site created."

Bottom Line:

Both monitoring and doing what you can to influence your results – otherwise known as your digital footprint, or how you look online, is an important part of any job seeker’s arsenal. Take advantage of the social web to create content and provide information that you want people to associate with you and you will have a strong imprint and will be a step ahead of the crowd.


About the author...

Miriam Salpeter is a Career Action Coach and Owner of Keppie Careers. With a master’s degree from Columbia University and over 12 years of experience, her mission is to encourage, enlighten and empower job seekers and entrepreneurs for success. She teaches best practices to land great career opportunities and offers clients clarity, confidence, and social media know-how. You may follow her on Twitter @Keppie_Careers and on Google Plus.