How to manage your online identity with Google Alerts

How to manage your online identity with Google Alerts
Thursday 30 July 2009

Google alerts

When you are looking for work and/or interviewing for a job, the last thing you want is a recruiter finding that risque picture of you dancing naked in the Cayman Islands. (That sort of thing is frowned upon by some employers.) Well, you could do a search on Google now to see what comes up, but what if something new hits the web that you are unaware of until its too late? No worries mate! I have the cure that ails you and its called Google Alerts.

From their website:

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

What I suggest you do is type in your name in quotes and any derivative of your name as well. For example, say your name is John Doe, in the search terms slot I would add:

“john doe” OR “johnathan doe” OR “johnny doe”

Like so…

I would leave the “Type” slot as Comprehensive, so Google will search for any mention of your name in other places beyond websites (Videos for example).

I would leave the “How Often” slot at “Once a day,” but that’s a judgement call. You have the option of making it “As it happens” or Weekly; its up to you.

After that, simply add in your email address and wait. Google will send you updates about how your name appears on the web (and other places) and you can keep up with your reputation.

Now, one thing that you might be very well aware of is that you might not be the only person with your name. In that case, I would advise creating alerts that include the city you live in, the school you attended, party places you have frequented and such.

Here are a few examples to consider when using Google Alerts:

  • “John Doe” Atlanta “Ga tech”
  • “Johnny Doe” NY “Club Infinity”
  • “John Doe” “Cayman Islands” (party OR event)

Hope this helps!