Building a favorable online reputation is a beneficial way of showing your true colors and offering a more flattering angle of your online persona. A positive online reputation is also a good defense against a negative online reputation, as the good factors may outweigh the bad. The more positive search results you have associated with your name, the better.

Even if your online reputation is not an issue, you can take certain measures to ensure that it will never become an issue.

Don’t wait — do it now:

Fixing major structural issues is a lot more complicated than laying a solid basis in the first place. It doesn’t have to be a rushed affair, but take the time to build a positive online reputation. That way, you will have a head start on any potential negative reputation problems that may plague you in the future.

Invest in professional photos or logos:

Professional photos for your personal website, blog, online profiles, and news articles can positively impact your online brand. They will show your professional side, and if you use them enough, they may be able to outrank and existing (or soon-to-appear) embarrassing photos.

Claim all of your online properties:

While social media may not be your thing, it’s a good idea to claim an online property before someone else does. Even if you don’t intend on using Pinterest, Tumblr, or Foursquare, it’s a good idea to go ahead and register an account, and be sure to use your real name.

Additionally, registering your brand on various platforms can allow visitors to get an accurate representation of your brand. KnowEm is an excellent tool that allows you to identify social media accounts, domain names, and trademarks that you may be interested in claiming.

Once these accounts are registered, apply whatever privacy settings you deem necessary.

Claim Google+:

Google+ is a valuable tool that can help your website rank well both now and in the future. Posts, links, pictures, and other content that you share on Google’s social media service may rank well in the search results. You may also use Google My Business to manage your online reputation.

This is because Google My Business uses various elements of this platform to populate visible sections of the Google search results. This can include pictures, contact information, logos, business hours, and company reviews. Register your online domain: Snatch up domain names while you can.

It’s always good to obtain domains including yourname.com/.net/.org and others like yournamesucks.com, just to be safe. Try to register your name exactly as it appears on your license. It’s a lot easier to register yourname.net than having to change your name legally.

Since exact searches always rank better, do your best to register your name verbatim, even if that means that you must buy the domain from the current owner. Furthermore, register the domain for as long as possible since this makes it appear more credible to search engine and protects you from those who may want to purchase it whenever it comes up for renewal.

Actually use your accounts:

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube are five of the biggest social media websites.

As such, they all typically rank highly in search results. If you use any of these accounts, you can rest assured that it will appear in a search for your name.

Populate your profile with pictures and information about yourself that you actually want others to see. Ensure that the content you’ve shared will work on your behalf.

Each social media platform should shed light on your expertise, connect you with others, and support your brand.

You can use IFTTT to automate the process of posting the same information in all your social media accounts.

Start developing your own online content:

A personal website can help you share everything that you deem important online. Create a portfolio that spotlights your strengths and accomplishments and write guest posts.

Make a blog, Tumblr account, or Twitter and share your interests with the world. The ideal situation would be if you purchase the .com of your entire name, and use that domain to host content. Even if the content that you’re sharing is not super exciting or inspiring, having content associated with your name will assist you in influencing the results yielded by search engines; that matters for your online reputation. Just be sure that you use your legal name, and ensure that the content you’re sharing reflects you in a positive light. Link to your most positive online results: If a positive news article has been written about you or you have writing samples, pictures, or a portfolio that you’re particularly proud of, spotlight it with a link. Share the link on social media platforms to encourage engagement. This may also help you indirectly improve your search engine ranking.

Share your knowledge with others:

We are all experts on something. What is your area of expertise? Share your experience by submitting guest posts for blogs that could use your expertise. You can also seek out interview opportunities that would feature you as a professional. Help a Reporter Out lets you know when and where your expertise might be needed. The majority of guest-post opportunities and interview opportunities give you the ability to enhance your online reputation through a link in search results.

Have conversations online:

Participate in online discussions. Comment on articles that interest you. Connect with popular industry blogs, forums, and groups. Stay up-to-date on online discussions about your particular interests and hobbies. Ask questions, leave thought-provoking comments, and offer your assistance online. This not only helps develop a strong reputation, but it helps to build your network as well. If possible, use your real name.

Become an authority:

Authorities are more likely to command respect, yield positive online search results, and find reputation-boosting opportunities with the media. You can make yourself known as an online authority by posting on Q&A sites like Quora, creating an online group, and sharing your expertise via content like videos, blog posts, podcasts, e-books, and interviews. You can further promote your knowledge by speaking at conferences and industry events and subsequently post about doing so.

Share photos online:

If a Google search of your designation produces unpleasant results, you can bump down any questionable pictures by sharing various pictures of yourself online and from a number of locations. Aim for headshots, professional pictures, or images that will promote a positive online reputation. Post these pictures to your Google+, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, and more. Use your legal name in the caption and tags so that the images will appear in search results. Ultimate Online Reputation management Tools While creating and sustaining a positive online reputation isn’t always easy, certain exceptional tools do the majority of the work for you.

KnowEm:

KnowEm’s username search scans over 500 social networks, domain names, and trademarks. It allows you to see which ones you have claimed, which ones are available, and the ones that you need to hurry and snatch up before someone else does.

Google Alerts:

If any new content that is associated with your name, username, and common variations of the aforementioned appear, Google Alerts will let you know through an email.

Yahoo! Alerts:

Much like Google Alerts, Yahoo! Alerts will inform you via email whenever new results related to specific keywords become available.

Social Mentions:

If you want to know what’s being said about you online, Social Mention can help. This tool offers real-time social media search and analysis, allowing you to stay informed as to what people are saying about you.

HootSuite or Buffer:

HootSuite and Buffer can help you manage your entire social media presence from the convenience of one platform. With HootSuite, you can schedule posts, get analytics, and more. Help a Reporter Out: Responding to queries on Help a Reporter Out can help you, too. It will allow you to be interviewed and cited as an expert, both online and offline.

Complaint Website Search:

You can find out if you’re the subject of any complaint website rants with the Complaint Website Search tool.

Quora:

Quora allows you to both learn and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Through this site, you can find and answer serious questions.

Medium:

Medium is a content platform with millions of users that share their knowledge and interesting information.