Clean Up Your Online Presence to Control What Shows Up In A Search

I’m almost positive you have. If you haven’t, go ahead and do it right now. I’ll wait.

Back?

Okay…so what did you find?

You might have realized there’s more out there about you than you might have assumed, and some of it might not be all that good.


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As that is almost certainly the case, let’s look at a few ways to clean up your online reputation.

Update Your Privacy Settings

Nothing on the internet is private. Whenever you post anything to the online, you should expect someone out there will see it.

That being said, you can comb through your various social media profiles and other internet-related accounts to ensure your information is as private as possible. Take note, however, each service’s terms are different, so it’s important to know how your information might be used when posting it anywhere.

As best you can, ensure the only people who can access your social media profiles are people you know or want seeing your info. While you’re at it, go through your contact lists and get rid of any “randoms” who you may have added at some point without thinking about it. Just as you would only share personal information with those you know and trust in the real world, do the same on social media and the internet.

Get Rid of Virtual Baggage

Once something is posted on the web, it’s pretty much there to stay.

But you can do your best to clean up your reputation by deleting and taking down any information you have control over. While this won’t completely remove this information from the internet, it will mean one less way it can be spread.

Comb through your social media history for any pictures, posts or messages – especially from your younger days – you no longer want to present to the outside world. If you no longer (or rarely ever) use a specific service, consider closing your account completely.

Read up on what happens to your information once you delete it or close an account. If need be, contact a representative of the company to get some clarity about whether your data is truly gone for good, or if it’s being stored in a database somewhere.

Moving Forward

Once you’ve cleaned up your cyber-presence as best you can, you’ll still have some work ahead of you.

Just as you tidy up the house once every week or two, consider doing some virtual housekeeping at least once a month. Comb through your social media accounts and delete any tagged pictures, comments from friends, etc., that you don’t want littering your newsfeed. If you’ve posted anything you regret, get rid of it as soon as possible.

Better yet, think before posting anything. Consider the platform you’re posting on, and whether what you’re about to post is appropriate for the setting. Even if it is appropriate for one site, if you wouldn’t post it elsewhere, don’t post it at all.

Now that you’ve cleaned up your online reputation, check out these tips on how to improve it.

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