Are you Google Proof?

create.eviemcrae, GoogleI often joke about using my gifts for good not evil. As a result, I get involved in projects simply for the love of the subject or the person. If you are passionate and believe in the work you’re doing, then that passion will inevitably rub off on me and I’ll become your biggest fan girl gushing in evangelical voice about the merits of your project. That said, I am only one voice and nothing promotes your work more than you yourself – particularly when it comes to your online presence.

Those who are just starting out in a new venture – let’s say – the launch of a new book – may not be aware of just how much they can bring to the party in terms of self-promotion with very little effort at all.

If you’ve set up your first exciting meeting with your agent or publisher you should be very aware of at least one fact. Your name will have been Googled. If you’ve applied for a new job and the company’s HR are in touch with you, you’ve probably been Googled. Nowadays people only have to hear a name and they Google it. If you are speaking to someone on the phone for the first time, they are Googling you as you speak. Tell a group of people you’ve written a book and they’ll say ‘what’s your name so I can look out for it in the future?’ Yup, they’re Googling you.

Once they have Googled you they will find a trail of social media breadcrumbs. Maybe your Facebook Page, maybe your LinkedIn profile, or perhaps that video where you got really drunk and your friends thought it would be funny to post the video to YouTube.

Once people know your name and find you online, they can begin to make all sorts of judgements and decisions that you are not even aware of. In a split second your carefully crafted persona as a stay at home mum and cuddly children’s author has been tarnished by the pole dancing pics from way back in 2011 (and no I’m not talking from personal experience sadly).

On the basis of a Google search, people you don’t even really know will decide whether they like you or whether they trust you. If you’ve left your Facebook Profile open to the Public they will be passing judgement on the fact you came out in support of Fracking, or you’re a Conservative Voter, or you keep posting those dreadful, “Like this picture if you have a daughter you love.” The idiotic inference being if you don’t like the picture then you obviously don’t love your daughter! You get my point?

Suffice to say, in this day and age Google is the new background check and Facebook is freely available to those with stalker tendencies (HR and the police aside). So take care with what you ‘put out there’ about yourself. Make sure everything online represents who you truly are – or at least aspire to be.

As with most things in life, there is a flip side. It’s worth pointing out – if it doesn’t exist online – then it doesn’t exist. If I need to find special tyres for my cool sports car (haha) then the first place I’m going to look is online. Even if the best garage in the world is around the corner, if I don’t see them listed online, I have no clue they even exist. So make sure you show up online.

If you’re interest in how the world views you, switch to Incognito’ mode on your computer. For those who use Google Chrome the menu on the right hand side should open a new incognito window. The reason for doing this is to ensure the results of your search are not tailored to you at all. You will be viewing your search results as a member of the public.

Illuminating? Scary? Hopefully not, but still a worthwhile exercise to do.

If you would like more information on your Google search results, maybe you want to boost your ratings or perhaps even change how you are perceived online, do send me an email and I’ll be pleased to point you in the right direction. Here ends my public service announcement. All part of using my gifts for good not evil.

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