Take Control of your Online Identity

Chances are, that someone out there is Googling your name. Maybe they are a potential employer (casting director, agent, director, Artistic director, etc). Maybe its somone who saw you in a recent production and is curious about your past work.

What do they find? What comes up at Google when your name is searched?

If you’re not sure, go now and try it.

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What did you find? Did you get the results that you would like to see when someone searches for your name? Are you happy with the information that appears?

If you are like most actors, there are a couple of news articles that come up that mention your name, or your name appears on the web site of a theatre company that you worked with.

Take a look at the first item that appears in your google search results. Does that result represent how you want to be portrayed?

For about 99% of people online, it doesn’t.

Let’s see what you can do about that, shall we? Here are some steps on how to take control of your online identity:

1. Get your domain name. This isn’t expensive. In fact, its pretty cheap. You can get a domain name for as low as $9.95/year from www.netfirms.ca. There are other registrars that will sell you a domain for a similarly
low price. Truthfully, there is no better investment in creating your online identity than yourname.com, or even .net, .ca or…whatever is available. If the .com is available, grab that. I covered more about this in this article.

2. Be selective about what goes on your site. Carefully decide what information to put on the site. Do not put your phone number, your address, or social insurance info. Since you are a performer, make sure you do
put your acting credits, upcoming events, biography and photos online. Obviously (presumably this is obvious, anyway), you don’t want to put anything embarrassing online. You want to be in control, so before you put that picture of that one time you did that nude scene, ask yourself: Would I want my mother to see this?

3. Link to your site, using your name. Having the domain name with your name (eg: yourname.com) helps a lot, but that’s not all you need to do. Make sure that those linking to your site link with your name. For example, the author is at philrickaby.com, however, the more effective way to link would be to link with the author’s name: Phil Rickaby. This helps a search engine like Google associate your name with your address. If other actors link to your web site, ask them to link your name rather than your address. If you work with a theatre company, ask them to link your name to your address. This will help to increase the likelyhood that a search for your name will return your web site.

If the first site that appears in a Google Search is your site, the site that displays the content that you want
it to display, then you are in control of your online identity. After all, remember that the majority of people who perform a search online don’t look past the first page, let alone the first returned item.

By following the steps above, you have a better chance of controlling what the first impression of you is (speaking from an online point of view, that is).

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