Personal Branding – Is your past affecting your Personal SEO

In working on my own personal branding, I have discovered things from the past. It is coming from an unlikely source, Facebook. If you Google yourself you can see what comes up under your name. I kept noticing some things kept getting into my search engine results page. They all seemed odd.

Upon further investigation it was comments I made on Facebook pages from five and six years ago. Some were harmless and others seem odd now. Back in those times we didn’t think on how commenting on a page would later show up in our own SEO. The good thing about these types of results is you have control over them. Since you posted it you can delete them from the web.

You then should go a step farther and submit it to Google to remove the link. If you use the Google “Remove Outdated Content” tool. Note, this is not the “Right to be Forgotten” that the some European countries have currently. This is for only data that has been removed. If you have content that is posted by a third party, who will not remove it, that is handled another way by Google. The Remove Outdated content” tool will take a few days for Google to rule on what will happen. If you deleted the content and verify that it “can’t be found” or get a 404 error page. It will be removed in a few days with no issues.

A few times a year you should search yourself to see what is coming up in results. Its best to sign out of Google and see what shows up. This will show what the general public will see. If you are signed in the knowledge graph from Google could rank things higher because it pertains more to you and your searches. The two searches for me show different results.

One important thing to know going forward. If you’re going to post on a public page, don’t post things you don’t want the world to see. It will come back and possibly affect you later. The good thing is you can go through the activity log on Facebook to see everything you have posted publicly. The activity log is located under your profile. After going through the posts you can then take action to delete them or let them remain public.

You have to take a proactive approach to your own personal SEO. This is the best case example. I have yet to deal with the other and hope I don’t have too anytime soon. Remember what you do online isn’t always private!

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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