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July 11, 2019

What You Should Know Before Searching Your Name Online: 10 Privacy Tips

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It’s a good idea to search for your name online every once in a while. This allows you to stay on top of any privacy breaches or bad press that could end up negatively impacting your future. But before searching away, there are a few things to keep in mind to get the most out of your research. Here’s what you should know before searching your name online:

  • It isn’t vain to search for yourself
  • Search your name once a month
  • Go through the first five pages
  • Use different descriptors
  • Don’t click negative content more than once
  • Use a private search engine
  • Set up alerts for your name
  • Check more than just “All”
  • Actually click the links
  • Search with more than Google

It Isn’t Vain to Search For Yourself

There’s a negative stereotype that searching your name online is a sign of vanity and self-obsession. However, that’s far from the case. In fact, searching for yourself is incredibly wise and prudent. In the age of technology, it can be very easy for information about us to end up in places we don’t want it. In many cases, we aren’t even aware that the information has been shared in the first place. By getting over the stigma that searching for your name is vain, you’ll be able to stay ahead of privacy breaches and keep yourself protected.

Search Your Name Once a Month

After getting used to the idea of searching for your name, do a search once a month. A thorough perusal of the web should take around 30 minutes or less, if you don’t have an extensive online presence. If your presence is large (which may be common for those famous in some way, or working for a company that requires them to be in the media often), consider searching once a week, or even once a day to stay on top of things. If the task gets out of hand, hiring someone to monitor your online presence is also a possibility.

Go Through the First Five Pages

While the majority of results will show up on the first page, some may extend to further pages, especially for those who have a large online presence. To do a thorough search, go through the first five pages or so to catch anything amiss.

What You Should Know Before Searching Your Name Online: Use Different Descriptors

If your name is a common one, you want to make sure to search for yourself and not a stranger. To help narrow down the search results, use a few descriptors such as your city, place of work, or anything else that will be more unique to your life. Often, those with unusual names can skip this step.

Don’t Click Negative Content More Than Once

If you stick mostly to yourself and don’t take part in many online activities, there may not be a need to worry about negative content. But the more time spent actively online, the more bad press there may to be (so to speak). This could be in the form of comments on social media, articles written about you or your place of work, and more. Don’t click anything you don’t like to see more than once. The more often it’s clicked, the more likely it is to rise in search rankings which is less likely to be wanted.

Use a Private Search Engine

When using a search engine that has your user profile attached to it (for example, Google), the results might be biased. While this can be helpful to find the most results, it might not be the results other people see if they Google you (such as potential employers). Using a private search engine like HotBot.com, or even private/incognito mode, will help show the results everyone else sees.

Set Up Alerts For Your Name

After you do an initial search, it’s a good idea set up alerts for it. The alerts will help to keep an eye on your online presence by sending a notification every time you pop up in search engine results. You should still do a monthly search, but alerts can make the task easier.

Check More Than Just “All”

What you should know before searching your name online is that many search engines divide their results into tabs so you can look at specific types of media, such as images, videos, and news. Although the “all” tab shows you all varieties of results, you typically only see a small sample of what’s available. By checking all tabs, you’re more likely to see the majority of relevant results.

Actually Click the Links

When you search anything online, most search engines show you a link and a short excerpt from the result. In some cases, that’s enough to get a sense of the content but not always. Make sure you click the links with mentions of you to get the full picture of what they’re hiding.

Search With More Than Google

While Google is the most popular search engine, it isn’t the only one. Use Bing, use Yahoo. The more search engines you use, the more thoroughly you’ll know the state of your online presence.


Searching for your name online is a great way to protect your privacy and your reputation. Further secure your search by using HotBot VPN.
Take what you should know before searching your name online and run with it. It doesn’t take long and it’s always worth the effort.

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