Yesterday’s Toronto Star ran a story about the perils of being “Googled” before a romantic date. If there is any embarrassing information about you online and your real name is attached to it, chances are it can be found fairly easily in Google. As most people don’t realize, information your put on the Internet or that is put on the Internet about you can stick around for years after it is posted. You will have likely forgotten about it, but it is still there waiting for someone to find it… The same phenomena can effect job interviews, media relationships and your child’s perception of you as a responsible role-model. We at StepForth synopsize with people in this position as our names all all over the Internet and each of us get “Googled” fairly frequently in our interactions with potential clients and contacts.

Here is a quick tip on how to handle this potential time-bomb. Hire an SEO firm. Yeah, I know how self-serving the suggestion is but, in the long-run, it is the only way to have a chance on gaining control of your public-accessed image. A good personal SEO firm will create sites all about you, optimize them for optimal information, and make sure the information is updated enough times to fairly quickly displace the embarrassing information that might already be present on search engines. Unlike glancing at every mirror you pass, Googling oneself is not as narcissistic as it may appear. On the Internet, you are your image and you don’t have the benefit of body language to augment the first impression.