Many people ask us about their online footprint, what it is and if it is good or bad so the SEO Creative team have looked into it to offer you some practical advice.
What is an online footprint?
Your online footprint is the trail of information you can find about yourself online, this can be anything from a news or blog article, a review of your services or business, or a photo of you on Facebook. Some people are very wary about having any of there personal information online, whereas other people will post anything and everything from what they are eating to pictures of them all over social networking sites (I am in the latter).
An online footprint is a similar metaphor to a carbon footprint, being the larger your footprint the more effect you are having on the internet (or environment for carbon footprint). Having a lot of informtion online can be good, especially for a business; but it can also be bad.
For better or worse the internet can hold a lot of information, so much so that it is easy for people to get a good psychological profile of us. From our Tweets, Facebook profile, Myspace pages, school websites and council websites you can find out information from where we live, who our friends are and what our favourite food or colour is.
This is quite scary especially since they are increasing the information the government can control from this data with the Digital economy bill being passed.
How can your online footprint be damaging?
Your online footprint can be damaging as an employer or potential customer may find something they do not like- even if this has been misinterpreted.
I spoke to our Account Director, Sadie Sherran, about her online footprint, she explained that although she is quite vocal in online communities, and has a large online footprint, she is also very careful about what she posts:
When you have a company you have to be careful what you put out there, for example the upcoming election; many people have different views and I wouldn’t want a client to be put off using SEO Creative because I was ranting about a particular party – it could be something they strongly support- and has no reflection on our capabilities to do the job.
Mrs Sherran had a point with this, as a company we cannot alienate anyone because of an opinion, I know when we take on new staff, or freelancers we aften Google them. This is something many companies do and if you post comments on Facebook about how you hate working etc, this may not bode well for your chances of employment.
How can your online footprint help your business
Having a good online footprint can help you get a job, if you are a blogger and blog about your work and findings this shows an interest and your aptitude at work and could mean employers may seek you out to join them.
For a company you can gain exposure and show people you are an authority in your industry, if someone were to Google your company neame or a figurehead in your company they could find lots of articles, guests posts, reviews etc. All of these could encourage a potential client to use you rather than a competitor.
In conclusion, it is good to give your self and your company some good exposure and increase your online presencem but be careful as to what you put out into the public domain.