With so much consumer-generated media such as blogs, review sites, video platforms, and social networking sites, the consumer has more power in today’s marketplace than ever before. As a result, more and more businesses are using online reputation management strategies to protect their brand from damaging online content.

With regular monitoring, you can minimize any negative content that appears in search engine results pages. Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques go hand in hand with online reputation management, so make sure your company website is well-structured for SEO purposes. Identify the words people will be typing into search engines to find your business, and customize your site to emphasize these words with relevant, interesting, and fresh content.

One of the most important parts of online reputation management is responding appropriately to positive and negative content. To locate the content, use software such as Google alerts to inform you when anything new is published online about your business. You can then create links to any positive content from your primary website or from other channels.

When encountering negative material, respond quickly, politely, concisely, and in a composed manner. Remember to prioritize the content that needs addressing. It’s not always necessary (or possible) to respond to everything. If it’s a blog, a polite email to the author addressing the issue can result in the offending material being removed, or the author might post a more positive piece next time.

Regardless of how good your products or services are, poorly written online content will only damage your brand. If you want people to stay on your site, make sure the content is something that people will actually want to read. Hiring quality content writers or writing good content in the first place will ensure visitors’ expectations of your company are not harmed by poorly written material.

If you don’t already have a social media presence, creating a business profile on these platforms can improve your online reputation. You don’t have to have a fully operational Facebook business page. Simply creating a profile page for your business can boost your SEO power and online presence. If you have the time, an interactive Facebook page to engage with prospects and customers can be one of the most effective ways to manage your online reputation.

A business blog can also help to portray your company in a good light. A more personal blog from a company director, or a general blog reporting company news is a valuable tool that many businesses use as part of their online reputation management strategy. A good business blog can help to push down any negative content in search engine results pages, and even outrank rival websites.

Also consider using YouTube or iTunes to broadcast company news or address any issues arising from negative publicity. Having prominent members of staff answer questions via these channels can strengthen the message you want to get across to the general public in a non-confrontational manner, simultaneously promoting the positive aspects of your business and diversifying your online presence.

Creating a subdomain of your website can also help your company feature higher in search engine results pages. Always aim to push down any unwelcome content that may appear when people search your company name. Creating a separate company review site, for example, could rank higher in the results pages than content that may damage your brand. As well as providing valuable customer feedback, this type of platform can reinforce your reputation as a more trustworthy company.

If you don’t have the time for social networking sites or blogs, providing press releases to third-party websites can be an effective part of online reputation management. They can drive more traffic to your website and feature more prominently in search engine results pages. Just make sure the content is newsworthy.

There are many ways to manage your online reputation. By using some or all of these techniques, you can help more people find positive content about your business in search engine results pages and online. If you’re unsure, you can always hire a professional firm with experience in online reputation management. Ultimately, you should aim to engage regularly with customers, promote positive content, and show the human side of your business. With continual transparency, you can even turn negative online content into positive brand awareness.