When you do a Google search on your company or brand name, what comes up on the first results page? Is there anything on there that you'd rather not have your potential customers read? If there is, it can be a problem. The majority of today's consumers use the internet to inform their purchases. Before they buy, they look online at customer reviews and consumer blogs to see which company to purchase from, which is why your business's online reputation is incredibly important to your business's real success. Here are a few things you can do to successfully manage your online reputation.

Social Media Profiles
Setting up profiles on popular social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter is an essential part of good Online Reputation Management (ORM). The first reason for this is that social media profiles allow you to present to the world your business as you want it to be perceived. The second reason is that popular social media sites like Facebook carry a lot of weight online. If enough people link to your original website from one of these major networking sites, it gives your website a boost in search engine rankings. Include information on these profiles that you want to your customers to have. Company history, bios, mission statements, and any industry-relevant info that search engine bots can pick up on.

Participate in the online community
Just putting up a social media profile (or several of them, even) is not enough. In order to increase your sphere of online influence, you have to be an active participant in your online community. Encourage customer comments and respond to comments that are made both on your official website and on your social media profile sites. This will make you aware about what your customers and industry peers are saying about you and it will earn you a few backlinks in the process.

Blogging regularly on topics related to your business, like a San Diego, CA web design firm, and posting articles on sites like ezinearticles.com and articlealley.com is a great way to get your business image out there. Blogs and articles with good readership show up on Google search results more.

Encourage consumer reviews
Consumer reviews and testimonials are the best kind of endorsement. Encourage your clients and customers to leave testimonials and reviews on your site for others to look at. If you can get enough raves and positive reviews, it can greatly improve your online status.