March 7th, 2022 by GSC Customer Care

Google Yourself

People are Googling you, so it’s important to know what they see

What information will a potential employer, new friend or coworker, or first date find when they Google you? Are the search results showing you in a positive light? Is the content true and relevant?

Google could be displaying personal data about you that’s inaccurate or that you’d
rather wasn’t public, whether gathered by the search engine itself or by people-search websites. That’s why it’s smart to Google yourself regularly. After all, what others see about you online can impact your professional and personal life.

Before we share tips on how to Google yourself, let’s get one thing out of the way.
Googling yourself isn’t an act of vanity, and it doesn’t mean you’re a self-obsessed person. In today’s world, it’s just common sense to be aware of what people might
encounter when they search Google to learn about you.

Enter More Than Your Name
Conduct your Google search in Private/Incognito mode. This enables you to see
what a random person would see when they type your name into the search
bar, without the cookies and personal information saved in your browser that
modify the results.

Search for your full name in quotation marks. This tells Google you want to look up the words you typed exactly as you typed them and not search for one word while ignoring others. To narrow the search further, use your name plus modifiers like the city or state you live in, the names of your school(s), the name of the company you work for, or other details. Make note of any content that concerns you, and either write down or bookmark the web addresses.

Initial Pages Matter Most
The first page of your Google search is the most critical one for you to review,
since the majority of web traffic will click on those top listings and not look any further. So pay extra attention to the first impression that people will have when they Google you. However, don’t stop there. Also go through pages 2-5 of your search results to get a fuller picture.

Be sure to click through the top links that are returned to see where they actually take you. Some sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, may appear in the Google results, but clicking through will take you to a page that’s restricted by privacy settings. To make sure searchers — such as potential employers — can contact you, you may want to change your privacy settings.

Email Addresses and Usernames
The next phase of Googling yourself is to search for your past and current email addresses and phone numbers. This helps you see which sites have access to this personal data and will also show you what others can find if they Google you.

Have you ever signed up for a discussion board or forum with your personal email address? If so, your post history could easily show up if someone Googles you. The same can be said for social media pages and blogs. Find and make note of any posts or content that you’d prefer to make private.

Next, run a search for your social media account usernames, which in some cases will be different than your actual name. Try searching for your name (as an exact
phrase in quotation marks) plus the social network you want to look up. This might reveal accounts you forgot about or that are less private than you think.

Don’t Forget Other Search Engines
While Google is by far the dominant search engine, it’s not the only one out there. Occasionally Bing and Yahoo! yourself to monitor what’s being said about you on those less-used but still significant platforms.

Set up a Google Alert for Your Name

There’s an easy way to stay on top of information that pops up about you on social media or elsewhere online—set up a free Google Alert for your name.

If you don’t already have a Google account, you’ll need to create one before starting these steps:

  1. Visit Google.com/alerts and type what you want Google to alert
    you about in the search bar.
  2. Below the keyword box is a small link that says “Show options.” Click on it. Here you can choose:
    • How often you want to be notified.
    • What specific sources you want Google to track. (Choose “automatic” if you’re not sure.)
    • Your preferred language.
    • The specific region you want to monitor.
    • How many alerts you want. (Werecommend choosing “Only thebest results.”)
    • The email address to which you’d like your alerts sent.
  3. Click Create Alert to start receiving alerts on yourself or other search topics you’re interested in.

This is a great way to be alerted when news about you appears, whether you want to share it on your social channels or respond to it rapidly. But Google Alerts can’t replace a full Google search, so you’ll want to continue doing that periodically as well.