What if You Have the Same Name as Someone with a Bad Reputation?
Solutions to Online Reputation Management Name Doppelgangers
What happens if you share a name with someone famous (or infamous), such as a celebrity, actor, politician or businessperson, and they gain some level notoriety due to a negative news event?
Your online reputation is damaged too.
Or, what if a distant relative of yours has the same name as you, and he was involved with shady business ventures, but people think its you—just as you’re looking to change careers. This happened recently to a client.
Its hard enough having the same name as someone famous but it can be extremely harmful if their reputation goes south because of a scandal. This can bring you and your business down as well, through no fault of your own.
If your name shows up on the first page of Google search results and is attached to something damaging, there are a few options that can help.
Change Your Name to a Nickname
Sometimes it’s possible to change your name to an abbreviation or nickname. Often, this change could be enough to differentiate you from the other person. Or try adding an initial or middle name to your online profiles.
Claim a New Domain
Purchase a new domain and add content. It usually works best if there is an exact match with your name and the domain. For example, get www.stevenwgiovinco.com if your name is Steven W. Giovinco. If that name is already taken, make it unique by adding an attribute or location at the end, such as “dr” if you are a doctor or “ny” if you live in New York, for example.
Optimize Your Site for Your Name
If you already have a web site, make sure it’s optimized for your name. Be sure the Title metatags reflect this and is updated to ensure getting found by search engines. Also make sure your contact information is included clearly on the site.
Spread your name around by blogging as much as possible. Write weekly, or more frequently if possible, with a focus on topics that truly interest you or you are an expert in. The better the blog post, the more likely you’ll be treated as an expert in your field, and this helps generate more site traffic, and in turn, pushes your name up in the search rankings.
Create New Accounts
Be sure to sign up for new accounts that are either popular or are in your industry to help generate site traffic. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and others can be extremely helpful, but also look for social media platforms, bloggers or online forums that are related to your industry.
Add Previous News or Articles
Have you won awards?
Track down all old content and make sure to post them online. Search for previous news about you—the good kind, of course—and promote them to the first page of Google search results.
Having the same name as someone who has a poor reputation can be extremely damaging to your online reputation, but there are ways to overcome it by changing your name, getting a new domain, blogging and adding new, positive content about you.
Steven W Giovinco