4 Factors to Measure Your Online Reputation

Recruiters and hiring managers use four dimensions to evaluate the people they Google.

There’s no debating it, your online reputation will impact your ability to get a job. The facts:

  • 83 percent of hiring managers and recruiters research candidates online. [ Execunet, 2007 ]
  • 70 percent of recruiters have eliminated candidates based on information they found online. [ Microsoft 2009 — US, UK, France, Germany]

Not long ago, when someone Googled you, they were making a decision about you based on two factors: volume and relevance. Volume speaks to how much content there is on the Web about you — the more there is, the more people believe you have something to say. Relevance speaks to how consistent the content is with who you say you are. It answers the question, is this person relevant and compelling?

When we designed the Online ID Calculator, we built an algorithm that measures these two important factors of online reputation. Nearly 60,000 people have used the calculator to measure their volume and relevance of results and see where they show up in a four-box model.

Recently, however, thanks to changes in how Google displays results, the huge rush of people to get their brands online and the way we search for people on the Web, we identified two additional factors that searchers use to evaluate the people they Google. Those factors are purity and diversity.

Purity: Now that almost everyone has jumped on the Web, there is a lot of noise. There was a time when you Googled me — “William Arruda” — and the only results were about me. I am fortunate to have a fairly unique name. (Thanks, Dad!) But now, a Google search reveals that there is a bodybuilder, a cop and a teacher who share my unique name. You have likely seen the same when you Google yourself. This creates confusion for those who want to learn about you — making it hard for them to discern what content they should associate with you.

Diversity: The diversity measure acknowledges the evolution from text-only searches to blended search. You have likely noticed when you perform a Google search that the results include the standard written content (links to blogs and Web sites and articles, for instance) along with images, video and real-time content. No longer is it enough to comment on a few blog posts, build your LinkedIn profile and publish an article to a relevant Web portal. Today, you need to ensure that that your Web content is diverse — that it includes multimedia items and your recent Twitter posts.

The next time you Google yourself, look holistically at these four measures — volume, relevance, purity and diversity — and ask yourself, “What perceptions would searchers form from reading my Google results?”

Once you are clear about your personal brand, here are three steps to enhance your online reputation:

Step 1. Understand your digital brand. You can use tools like Google, Truveo and Addictomatic, and online ID Calculator, to understand how you measure up in the four dimensions of online branding.

Step 2. Determine which of the four measures — volume, relevance, diversity or purity — needs the greatest attention (you may have a couple that could use some work).

Step 3. Depending on which areas need the most attention, apply the tips below:

  • Volume enhancers: If you need more results that are about you, set up social networking profiles on many sites by editing your current branded bio and establishing accounts at naymz, ziki, ziggs and other sites.
  • Relevance enhancers: To enhance relevance, where possible, remove content that is unflattering or inconsistent with how you want to be known, write an article about your area of expertise and post it to an appropriate online portal. Find blogs related to your area of thought-leadership, subscribe and comment when you have something valuable to contribute. Review books related to your area of expertise at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Publish relevant white papers to SCRIBD.com. To learn how to turn one real-world communications activity into a year’s worth of online content, check out this video: http://bit.ly/realvirtual.
  • Purity enhancers: Sign up for an account at Vizibility. The service allows you to identify the Google results that are about you and create a “Search Me” button that you can include in your e-mail signature, your LinkedIn profile, on your blog, etc.
  • Diversity enhancers: Sign up for a Flickr account and post relevant images. If you don’t already have one, set up your Google profile.

Soon, you should be on your way to the volume, relevance, purity and diversity that will improve your ability to get a job.