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.

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