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5 tips for repairing your online reputation

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(Hero Images/Getty Images)

(Hero Images/Getty Images)

We all experience embarrassing moments in life. When they happen on social media, those moments can take a life of their own and threaten your career. There are companies that can clean up your negative search results and keep your employer from finding them, learning to fix your reputation yourself can save you money. Here are five tips to hiding humiliating moments online.

Monitor your name
You can monitor what is being said about you by creating a Google Alert. Visit google.com/alerts and create an alert for yourself. If your name is common, add keywords, such as the city or the area code of where you live. The alerts will show up in your e-mail and you can then decide if you want to take an action.

Also, put your name through a search on all of the popular search engines. Each search website classifies information differently and therefore presents different results.

Contact the owner of the negative content
Whether it’s an image on a blog, a video on Facebook, or a letter you wrote to your boyfriend that mysteriously ended up on a website, contact the poster. You may not always get a favorable response or a response at all. Still, it’s the best first step to take. If the poster takes down the harmful content, it will probably take a few days or even weeks for it to disappear completely from a web search. If contacting someone via Facebook, take a screenshot of the message for your records.

Attempt to have the content pulled off the web
On Facebook, you can un-tag yourself from the problematic post, but it doesn’t keep others from seeing it. It’s really tough to get in touch with a Facebook staff member and the best solution is to post to their help discussions. In many cases, other Facebook users on the help forum can give you tips for having images or videos pulled off completely. It is also recommended to file an official complaint via the Facebook automated method.

You may contact search engine directly. Google and Bing have ways to contact them to remove content from their searches, and both companies are fairly responsive. However, after having pages pulled off the search engine’s directory, it is tough to have them added back. That can create problems for website’s owner.

Camouflage the embarrassing content
You can make the harmful content harder to find by creating more noise around it. Creating profiles on popular social media websites like YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, and Blogger will help push the bad content down. Make sure that you add content to your profiles regularly and that you are tagging your name on positive images.

Strengthen your brand
Registering your name as a domain website and creating a name plate page will help with branding. It will also help push negative content down in a search result. Add links to your domain page that link to your social media profiles to help your page rank higher. The more links to items associated with your name, the better your name plate page will rank on the search engines.

Belo Cipriani is an award-winning author, former staffing professional, a spokesperson for Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University. Learn more at BeloCipriani.com.

Belo Cipriani

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