I first noticed the importance of Google Alerts when I wrote a post about an author’s book, a seemingly really popular author with an Amazon best seller, and he was the first to comment on my post, a short quick comment and thank you.

I knew that author didn’t follow my blog, or know me, but in that post I mentioned the authors name a few times, pieces of his book and the book title, which obviously triggered something for him.

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I thought, man, how did he do that, and how cool is it he commented?! Shortly after, it clicked, it was obvious he has Google Alerts setup for his name, and likely his book as well.

I didn’t think too much about this, I’m not an author, I don’t have a book (unless a digital one about backing up your computer counts), but over the last year I’ve read countless articles about how your employers or potential employers, Google you, send interns out into the world to dig up dirt on you, ask for access to your Facebook accounts, read your blogs, etc.

It’s not just techy nonsense to Google yourself anymore.

Short Story

I set up a Google Alert a while back and saw my name was listed on a website called “bad bosses” or something similar. No one had submitted any commentary on me as an entrepreneur who has hired and fired some staff, but the fact that some website indexed me, labeled me as a boss, and now opened up a community based site for people to openly attack me didn’t sit well with me.

I thought the site’s concept wasn’t very appealing in general, so I contacted them, and they quickly took my name down at my request.

I’ve also found, my age, and my previous living locations published on sites I wasn’t aware of.

The only reason I noticed this was because I had a Google Alert set up for myself.

Not convinced? I get it, it sounds silly, maybe one of the situations below matter to you when it comes to your name being thrown around.

  • What your employer sees because he is the one most likely to Google you
  • Your clients are
  • Your friends do
  • You’re getting published and will show up with related content
  • You’re getting slandered and don’t know it
  • You’re getting mentioned and have no idea
  • You’re getting cataloged/indexed with other people
  • You want to shape your reputation online
  • You want to be part of the conversation that’s going on about you, or at least be aware of it.

I’ve given up trying to remove my name from the web, it’s a losing battle, but being aware of it, and shaping it, is increasingly easy if you take an ounce of effort.

 

How To

It’s insanely easy. [Google account required]

Go to this link: https://www.google.com/alerts  … and fill out the simple form. (show below)

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You can receive weekly, daily, or on-demand e-mails to be in-the-know.

Bonus: As a business owner, when my name gets dropped around blogs, I can quickly get in on the conversation, meet interested and potential users, and partner with those who found my content worth writing about, if you do anything online, you might benefit from being alerted when your name or business name shows up.

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