Online reputation management is the practice of monitoring the reputation of a person, brand, or company on the Internet. Everybody is online these days, looking for information about products and services. Therefore, managing your reputation online is extremely important in the business world. It’s often mistaken that online reputation management is something that happens after something negative has been written about your business in the online space. This isn’t true.

There are two different kinds of online reputation management: proactive and reactive. A proactive campaign is for businesses that are just beginning to grow or for those companies that want to maintain a good reputation. A reactive campaign is implemented when a company has encountered a problem and wants it “cleaned up”. A proactive reputation management strategy is just as important, if not more important, than a reactive one. A reputation management campaign should begin as soon as your business creates a presence online. It provides an opportunity to build a good reputation from the get-go and maintain that good reputation through the years.

Proactive reputation management is an image building campaign, which is essentially a search engine optimization link building campaign. Think about it. Not only is the content that you are putting out there via press releases, articles, blog posts and comments, and social networking helping to build quality links pointing back to your site, it’s also building your brand and creating awareness. It’s establishing your reputation online as a legitimate company that knows what they are talking about. It creates trust amongst your target audience.

As they say, “the best offense is a good defense”. Start building your good reputation online as soon as possible. Therefore, if something negative is said, it might not even be noticed since there is so much positive content already out there. Don’t wait until you start losing money to improve your reputation in the search engines. Without positive content, a bad image can form quickly. A negative reputation online loses money, customers, and slows or even stops the growth of a company. Don’t let it happen to you- start building your positive image today!