Online Reputation is important to any business, with more and more consumers searching online for products and services.

Before making any purchases, many of these consumers are searching out about the business, looking for information and reviews. Because of this, you need to make sure that you have a positive online reputation. This means that, ideally, your page one of Google should be clear of any negative content.

So how do you manage this negative content, how do you monitor what is being said about your company and how can you prevent negative reviews cropping up in your page one search results? You need to begin managing your online reputation, so here are 5 quick tips on how exactly to go about that:

Set up Google Alerts – You may be wondering how it is possible to manage negative content when you don’t even know it has been written. That is, until it appears on page one of Google for your brand name. But there is a way to monitor content.

If you have a Google mail, or gmail, account, you can set up Google alerts for specific key terms. It would be a good idea to set up Google Alerts for your business or brand name. You can change the settings to allow the alerts to be send as-it-happens, meaning within minutes of content being written including the key terms specified, you will receive an email alerting you, meaning you can act quickly.

Don’t just ignore bad reviews – It may be tempting to just ignore any bad reviews, push them out of the way and hope that solves the matter, but it would reflect better on your company if you actually replied to any comments or reviews. A sincere apology will go a long way, and by replying to the issue it will show that you actually care about your customers and their experience with your company.

Try to resolve the matter, or offer compensation if not. Anyone reading the reviews will see that you, as a company, value your customers and this will build trust as well as showing quality customer service. If you then successfully resolve the matter, you could ask them to amend their review to reflect this.

Also, it would be a good idea to ask customers to review their experience with your company online. People are more likely to go out of their way to write a negative review than a positive review, but a simple reminder may be all it takes and as long as you are a reputable company with good customer service, you should start receiving more positive reviews.

Influence Google Autocomplete – As you begin typing into Google, it often begins to suggest phrases or key terms for you. For a company or brand, this is often what people commonly search, so “your-brand-name city”, “your-brand-name reviews”, etc. But what if it comes up with suggestions like “your-brand-name complaints”, or “your-brand-name scam”. If people see negative suggestions, then they may be more likely to search for those negative suggestions. You can’t remove suggestions as such, but you can try to influence them so that less people are searching for the negative terms.

Be proactive – Don’t just wait around for negative content to appear, be proactive in your approach to your online reputation. Build up social media profiles, and gather all your online assets. Try to have these ranking highly in Google to help combat any potential negative reviews that can crop up. Try to resolve issues as they happen, and always respect your customers. After all, it’s usually their reviews that affect your online reputation. Again, asking customers to review their experience, especially if it has been positive, will help build initial trust and improve your online reputation as a business.

Use an Online Reputation Management Company – Whereas this isn’t a vital tip for successful positive online reputation, having a reputation management professional on board can be handy for any business. Whether you don’t have the time or are just unsure where to get started, a professional can help set up a plan and continue to reactively monitor your reputation so that you can concentrate on your customers and the service you provide.