How to control what appears when someone Googles you (Even if you have nothing to hide)

This guide is based on Mixergy’s course with Patrick Ambron.

Patrick Ambron realized his friend couldn’t get a job because employers were Googling him and mistaking him for a drug dealer, so he got Google to change the top results people saw when they searched for his friend’s name. It was all done using search engine optimization tactics, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.

Patrick is the CEO and cofounder of BrandYourself, a do-it-yourself SEO platform that makes it easy for anyone to take control of their Google search results.

Here are the actionable highlights from the course.

1. Google yourself so you know what other people see when they search for your name

A top student discovered that he was getting turned down for internships because he shared a name and Google results with a drug dealer, so Patrick used SEO to help him fix his online reputation.

Take Action:
Use your name as the search query and take note of any results that are negative, irrelevant, or not you.

2. Buy related domain names so someone else can’t hijack your search results

Patrick had a client whose reputation was ruined because someone else bought domains with his name in them, filled the pages with damaging content, and charged him $20,000 to take them down.

Take Action:
Prioritize getting “.com” domains that include your full name, and buy the ones ending in domain name suffixes like “.me”, “.net”, and “.tv”.

3. Build a top-ranking hub so you can make a good first impression

BrandYourself’s chief culture officer Trevor Elwell built a top-ranking hub containing his bio and social media links, which other people immediately see when they do a search on him.

Take Action:
Create your hub using platforms like WordPress, Tumblr, or Weebly, and post a bio, relevant links, and media like photos or videos of you and your business.

4. Create social media profiles to increase visibility and connect with others

Patrick connected with branding expert Dan Schawbel using Twitter and got a weekly blogging spot on Dan’s platform.

Take Action:
Create a profile on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ and choose a display name that includes your full name.

5. List yourself in online directories to direct more people to your hub

Patrick added his bio to various online directories and included links to his BrandYourself site, Twitter page, and LinkedIn profile, increasing his visibility.

Take Action:
Submit an entry containing your bio, relevant links, and social media profiles to online directories such as LookupPage, Workface, and Bigsight.

6. Distribute a press release to bury damaging content in search results

Patrick suggests distributing a press release about your personal sites to bump off unwanted links in your search results.

Take Action:
Draft a press release about you or your company and then distribute it using newswires like PR Newswire.

7. Post comments on established sites to replace links to negative content

Patrick recommends posting comments on prominent sites like The New York Times because when someone Googles you, results from well-known, established domains will show up higher than links to controversial articles.

Take Action:
Create user accounts on organization pages with domain name suffixes like “.gov” and “.edu” and post comments on prominent sites like CNN and The Huffington Post using your real name.

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Written by Hazel Chua, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz

  • Henning

    Fixing your Google Results seems like a huge effort to me… 

    You laid out all the right steps/actions to be taken, but what does it say about your future employer (whom you have handed some references/papers on your past work) when they get scared off by finding a drug dealer with the same name? Lazy & incompetent – at least IMHO. Serious guys dig deeper. And a quick photo comparison could solves stuff like that.

    Or maybe he in fact was the one dealing drugs? :D

  • Andrew Warner

    People don’t often see us before they make a decision.

    I just Googled someone to see if we should work with him. I made my decision exclusively based on what I saw online.

  • Empire Steals

    Great course Patrick! I can see how I can use this to boost my search results for my business big time.  I love the emergency tactics at the end.

    Thank you for overdelivering!

  • Andrew Warner


  • Patrick Ambron

    This came out great Andrew. You did a good job making me look good :)

  • Collin Ferry

    I’ve casually taken over almost the full first page of search results for my own name. High visibility sites like Quora and LinkedIn help. It wasn’t my intention, I did it by accident. It probably helps that I have a semi-unique name.

  • Andrew Warner


    We’re emailing to the Mixergy audience right now.

  • Andrew Warner

    Doesn’t it feel great to own your own name online?!

  • Surfspc

    Dam, now I have to pay to watch a video clip about some guy talking about SEO?  I am sure this will definitely hurt your traffic

  • Andrew Warner

    You don’t have to buy it.

    I paid a writer $150 to create this for you so you can get some results without having to pay me anything.

  • Damon W.

    I’m sure a lot of people see this and think “wow, that’s so much effort!” And it may be, done all at once. But these are all great strategies that even the average user can implement over time, gradually taking control of their brand.
    People who see this is too much work should also realize that steps like #2 aren’t necessary for absolutely everyone.  Not everyone has an enormous reputation at stake, and if you do – chances are you won’t hesitate to implement the necessary strategies.

  • Andrew Warner

    Great point.