By Eric Mueller
Originally published on Advocate.com August 10 2011 4:00 AM ET
Keeping your reputation intact on the Internet can be tricky business. Even if your ex’s blog has just one human reader, Google, Bing, Yahoo! et al. will still scour it and dutifully index every character attack, making those remarks no more than a few keystrokes away from your family, employer, or even your next date. Google won’t help: While it will remove illegal and confidential personal info from its indexes, it’s hands-off with everything else.
The secret to getting rid of negative information on the Internet isn’t removing the material. Remember that few bother clicking past the first page of search results. If you generate a flurry of positive content that ranks higher in search engines than the negative material, you effectively push the rep-busting links far enough down that they won’t be seen.
There are three ways to quickly create material to help restore your reputation. The first is setting up your own website with your name as a custom URL; use About.Me to easily create a simple page with your name and a brief bio and photo.
Next, register for LinkedIn, Flickr, Ning, and Twitter. These sites let you set up a public profile page, and because they’re large, established sites, search engines rank their results highly. (Facebook also ranks highly, but you don’t want your page open to the world.) Third, start a blog with Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress; these sites are also ranked highly by search engines, so your blog posts will be as well.
Finally, sign up for Google Alerts, a free service that constantly monitors the Web for your name and emails it to you. Within just a few days, you’ll see your efforts paying off as your new content begins bubbling up to the top of search results.