Go Ahead, Google Yourself

If you haven’t typed your name into a search engine to see what pops up, you’re one of the rare few. But your online identity doesn’t have to be a mystery. With the right resources, you can manage and increase your Web presence to draw traffic to your business.

Know your online identity. Snitch.name offers an extensive list of sites you can search to find out what information about you exists online. If you find information that’s incorrect or unfavorable, contact the webmaster at the site where you found it, or use Google’s URL removal tool at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/. (Be aware that certain public information, such as arrest and court records, can only be expunged by judge’s order.)

Make it easy for people to find you. If you register your name with google.com/profiles, or peekyou.com, you can include information about your business, add URLs, upload a photo and be found easily with a search engine. Social networking sites also can increase your exposure, so be sure you are using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Start a website or blog. WordPress.com and tumblr.com are two of the leading blog sites to create your web presence. Or, create a digital business card of yourself on about.me. To get more website hits, sign up for stumbleupon.com and ask friends to recommend your site so it’s shared and discovered by more people. Favorable quality ratings will increase Web views. Link your site to other established websites in your area of expertise to enhance your online network.

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Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for SUCCESS.com. Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.

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