Years ago, finding out about someone you just met was a difficult and long-winded process. Nowadays, though, we have the power of Google and Facebook.

Your online reputation is incredibly important these days. Whether it’s potential employers or potential girlfriends, if anyone searching your name found out about past indiscretions, then it could impact both your professional and personal life (and not in a good way). So how do you keep your online reputation intact?  Luckily, there are quite a few ways…

1. Keep Up-to-Date Social Profiles

7 Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation

Image via Flickr by bigmick

The first thing someone is going to see when they search for you will probably be a social profile. It’s pretty much a given that you’ll have more than one these days, so as well as posting all the latest information, you need to keep them consistent.  Conflicting information will just create the wrong impression and make you look shady.

2. Watch Your Spelling and Grammar

It may seem nitpicky, but good spelling and grammar can really be the difference between getting a job or not.  Even something as simple as a stray comma or misplaced apostrophe could cost you.

3. Search for Yourself

7 Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation

Image via Flickr by redplasticmonkey

The only way to truly clean up your online image is to know what people see when they search for you. Regularly Google your name to make sure you know exactly how you appear in search results.

You want to show a completely positive image attached to your name, which means pushing positivity to the top.

4. Share Useful, Fun and Interesting Content

7 Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation

Image via Flickr by birgerking

Everyone loves a good laugh, a good read or a piece of information that makes them think. So, give it to them.

Providing your social networks with great content is a sure-fire way to build your online presence. Soon enough, these people will associate you with this positive content.

5. Think Before You Click

7 Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation

Image via Flickr by SamahR

To make sure the content really is positive, though, you need to think before you click (or post). What does that status update say about you? Do you really want a future employer to see that offensive joke?

Self-moderation is the first step on managing the reputation you’re building online.  A good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t want your grandma to read it, don’t post it online.

6. Promote Positive Content

In order to get those positive comments to the top of the pile, you need to drop the negative ones back down the ladder.

7. Ask for Negative Content to Be Removed

7 Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation

Image via Flickr by Daniel Voyager

Of course, some content you just want rid of. If something negative has been said about you, the first step in this is just asking the website owner to remove the offending item. Most of the time, they’ll be more than happy to oblige you if you provide a reason why the information is inaccurate.

More than anything, keeping your online reputation positive is about building your personal brand. The first step is to just post positive comments, great stories and make sure your profile is always up to date and useful.