Have You Googled Yourself Lately?


Googling ourselves might seem like a fun thing to do on a rainy day, but it’s actually a smart thing to do if you’re building a brand or running a business. What will people find if someone does a Google search on your name? Will it help or hurt you?


As writers, we are told we need to get a head start on our platform before we can be seriously considered by literary agents or publishers. This means we need to get going on blogs, websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and a partridge in a pear tree.

To further develop our brand, we are expected to build relationships on sites that belong to other people. We leave comments, post images, ask questions, or seek advice across a score of sites and forums.

That’s a heckuva lot of places where your name—and information associated with your name—will pop up. While those of us who are trying to build a brand want our names to shine in all their glory, especially on page one of a Google search, it also means there are just as many chances for inaccurate or unwanted information to be posted.



Again, if we’re wanting to build a platform, we must be professional and self-respecting and post material that won’t hinder our careers or reputations. Posting about your college spring break excursions might dredge up some fun memories but won’t score points with people looking to forge work relationships with you.

We search for our names to make sure we’re representing ourselves cleanly, professionally, and respectfully. We also need to make sure that other people aren’t misusing our names, products, or services. Some sites and forums are private, but you have little control over what someone else might do with the spring break photo you shared.

This is an ongoing search, as information changes every day. Googling yourself on a regular basis can help bring you peace of mind and put you in more control of your online reputation.

Have you Googled yourself lately? This is an important habit for anyone who has a reputation to protect online. Read this post by Kate Johnston | Author & Story Coach for reasons why Googling yourself will actually help you build your business.


Search for your name in quotes, such as “Viggo Mortensen.”

You may need to troll through several pages to find mentions if you have a common name. (Doubtful that Viggo has this problem.)

TIP: you can use your name plus descriptors like where you live, the names of your school(s), or the name of the company you work for.

Locate pictures of yourself through Google’s Image Search at images.google.com.

Run a search for your past and current email addresses and phone numbers—many online forums use these to identify people.

Search for your social media account usernames.

Set up a free Google Alert. This service sends you an email when your name, business, email address, or other information you choose, pops up online. Of course, if you have a common name, unlike Viggo, you will get alerts that have nothing to do with you. Otherwise, this practice will help you keep tabs on your name, and ultimately your reputation.

Remove info you don’t want online.

If the information is from a site you control, such as LinkedIn, then change the privacy settings on your account or just delete the post.

If the unwanted information is on a site you don’t control, you’ll need to contact them about removing the information. If the information is copyrighted, you can reference the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

To get even more in-depth information on how to Google yourself, check out this article by Online Reputation Management

Monitoring how you’re perceived online is pretty easy to do, and something you should do on a regular basis to make sure the information associated with your name is accurate. As society becomes increasingly dependent on finding information through constantly evolving technology, everyone is at a higher risk of misrepresentation. It is up to you to take control of how information about you is managed online for the sake of your career, well-being, and reputation.


Have you Googled yourself lately? Any surprising information pop up?

Have a writerly day!!


30 thoughts on “Have You Googled Yourself Lately?”

  1. Oddly enough, for the first time in years, I googled myself last week. What I found surprised me, not in a bad way but in a “well what do you know” this is interesting way! I didn’t go as deeply into searching myself as you’ve suggested above and now that I know what to do, I’ll do it. Thanks for the info.

    • That’s great, Kathi. That’s exactly what you want to find, references that show the best of your work and life, because you can be sure that’s what literary agents and publishers are going to find too.

  2. I google myself from time to time. As you say, it’s important to know what’s out there. Plus, I’ve stumbled upon reviews for my books on blogs I would have never known about otherwise. Gives me a chance to thank the blogger or share the review.

    Great article, Kate!

  3. I’ve done it a few times – my blog comes up on the second page but there are quite a few Andrea Stephensons out there! I’m too private to post anything embarassing, I hope. These are great tips though, I’m going to bookmark this post and follow your advice.

    • Same here–Kate Johnston is a very popular name–so I get Google alerts about dozens of Kate Johnstons, lol. So far, they’re all very well-behaved and reputable, so if there should be any confusion, it could work in my favor. 🙂

  4. Thanks for this reminder – I’ve done it but probably not often enough. There are a lot of people with my name out there so if something crazy comes up I can blame them. 🙂

    How’s your writing going? I hope you’re getting closer to that 30K mark. I’m not of course, but I hope you are – you can do it!

    • Hey Sheila! I was just commenting to Andrea (above) that my name is popular too, and I hear a lot about other Kate Johnstons. Sounds like you and I have the same outlook if any confusion should occur!

      My writing is going really well, actually. I get more writing done in the winter months because I have fewer household obligations (namely gardening, which takes up A LOT of time). If the house was a mess before I started this challenge, I shudder to think what it looks like now–and I don’t know because I’m not paying it any mind! 🙂

      I bet you can hit your 30K mark too. Don’t overthink the writing now, just put down the words as they come. Thinking is for editing!! 🙂

      • Thanks Kate! I’ll have to catch up this weekend somehow. No more house cleaning or anything else (not that I’ve been doing all that much cleaning anyway)! 🙂

  5. Did this post come about after image searches for Viggo Mortensen? 😉

    I envy someone like you, Kate, who can duck if they want to in regard to online searches. My name doesn’t allow for that. That being said, I do searches for my name fairly regularly, because my job and professional associations are very public-facing, and I need to make sure we’re presenting ourselves in the best manner possible. Unfortunately for my writing, the first several pages of any search for my name brings up items related to my job: articles, production videos, podcast recordings. My stories/blogs show up pretty far down the list. Though, considering I write homoerotic space opera, maybe that’s a good thing. 🙂

    • Viggo … ah … he makes for a nice reason to write anything! 😉 My foray into image searches for him took up a lot more time than I had anticipated, cuz you know, I had to find the *perfect* one. Sometimes, a writer’s life can be so hard!

      I’m not one of the first Kate Johnstons to show up on Google, unfortunately. There are quite a few of them out there, and some are in the field of writing who have done a lot more than I have. So in that scenario, it’s not helpful that I have a common name. 🙁

  6. Great tips, hon. I try to Google myself a few times a year to see what’s out there. Nothing exciting in a while, but I also have Google alerts set up to make sure I catch new things easier. 😉

  7. Dear Kate Johnston,

    Would you be willing to share an inspiring article with our increasing audience?


    It can be on anything as long as it helps young aspiring students out!


    StudentNess Blog (Students in Business)

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