Online Reputation

We all know the familiar mantra: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Unfortunately, the same is also true on the Internet. What happens on the Web stays on the Web – and in the public eye – potentially forever. What this means is that a single negative review or defamatory comment about your company can have dire consequences — consequences that last for months or even years.

This is no exaggeration: In a world that finds consumers researching each and every purchasing decision via Google and Bing, your company’s online image is make-or-break. The threats that can sink your brand integrity are many. Thankfully, there are also numerous strategies that you can implement to protect your company from defamation. Consider the five easy tactics listed below.

Make Monitoring a Priority

Reputation management begins with reputation monitoring — if you do not know what people are saying about your brand, there is no way you can move forward with an effective brand enhancement strategy. Make it a priority to know what the buzz is concerning your brand. The best tools available are Google and Bing Alerts, as well as the Reputation Changer Command Center — all three of which offer free reputation monitoring services.

Buy Your Domain Names

It is tough to imagine anything more embarrassing than your company’s online identity being usurped by a rival company or a disgruntled employee, then turned into a savage parody. To put it another way, if your company is called Philly Joe Donuts, you want to make sure that you are the one with the keys to that site. If somebody else gets that domain, who knows what they will do with it? Buy up all of your branded domains, including .net and .org variants, as well as the domains corresponding with your chief executives. Each domain will likely cost $20 or less on

Get Active on Social Media

Building a strong, authoritative online presence is vital for enhancing your brand and for suppressing any online attacks or bad reviews. Social media plays a big part in that. It is crucial to maintain daily activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and perhaps even Google+ and Pinterest — and to make sure you get social media handles or vanity URLs that correspond to your company name. Also, set up a profile at, which will allow you to broadcast all of the achievements and milestones reached by your business.

Start a Company Blog

Another way to boost your company’s online image, and to keep undesirable Google search listings at bay is to start a blog, with a domain name that matches your company name. Don’t use it for sheer promotion; use it to post engaging and informative content about your industry or niche. Publish posts that your customers and potential customers might find useful, and watch as your brand gains authority and esteem.

Leave Unreasonable Reviews Alone

Finally, get out of the habit of responding to negative Yelp reviews in anger or in haste. In fact, it might be prudent to abstain from responding to them at all; doing so only calls more attention to them, and can even lend them further search engine traction. As such, the best option might be to instead focus on cultivating positive feedback from your best clients — even asking them directly to help you out by leaving good reviews.

Controlling your company’s online reputation will take some time investments, and results will not happen overnight — but the long-term benefits of a clean online image are more than worth it!

About Mike Zammuto

Mike is a dynamic, multi-award winning online and technology executive with a history that spans multiple successful startups, large technology firms, a top 40 web site and a leadership role with Microsoft. Mike's strength is building organizations that scale and execute. As President & Chief Operating Officer he has responsibility for all company operations.


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