The Web can sometimes be a discouraging place for making fresh starts because Google keeps bring up the old stuff. Out in Des Moines, Iowa, Claire Celsi, "the Public Relations Princess," advises that the way to overcome Google's persistent memory is not to fall for "quick fix" software, but to update your Web presence, or a client's, via sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
This approach enables you, not to erase the old stuff (that's not really possible — "The Web is not some giant white board with a magic eraser," Claire notes), but to push it down in Google's search results. The fresh stuff should drive down the older material. As Claire told a disheartened client: "I asked him if he participated in social media. Not surprisingly, the answer was no. The first thing he needed to do was create some social media accounts. The same Google that was publicly humiliating him was the same Google that could save him. How? By creating social media content in places like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, he could make those negative links appear less prominent by pushing them down to page 2 or 3 of Google results."
Then, Claire adds, use a free web tool like Google Alerts to monitor your reputation. This approach may take some time, but it's likely to help.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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