If you are building an online business, you probably have to deal with more circus scarves than what you should at a particular instance. But if there is an aspect you should always remember as a business owner, it is your online footprint. The truth is that we currently live in a search-happy globe. Before a customer decides to engage you in business, they must first look you up on the internet. And whatever information they discover about you can have an enormous impact on your business, either for the better or for worse. Recent research reveals that business risks losing more than 20% of business when prospective customers come across a negative article on the first page of their search results.

Do not wait until your business’s online reputation is a complete mess before you can take the necessary action. In this article, there is all you should know about managing a local business.

1. Start With Cleaning Up Your Current Reputation

Your number one step in online reputation management should be established whether you have a problem or not, and if it exists, determine its magnitude. Start by looking yourself up on the internet through your Google account. You can perform the search by using the name that your potential customers will use to search for your business. Once you have the search results, you should quickly determine the category in which your online reputation falls under. The negative category is the worst to be in because it implies that you have several negative searches representing you. Unlike the common notion that this category is reserved for bad people, the modern-day anonymous sharing and social networking can easily have your reputation tarnished. It only requires a single tagged photo, status update or false accusation and your online reputation is dented. You can also be in a positive category, and this means that all your search results all filled with positive and well-branded content about your business.

2. Build the Foundation For Your Online Presence

Once you have diagnosed and performed a cleanup of your current reputation, you need to focus on building a foundation of your online presence. Start by buying your domain name, and since domains are not equal, some domain-types rank higher than others in search results. For instance, .gov and .edu are considered to be the most credible domains because you will need to be a legit government or educational institution to get one of those. Avoid domain types such as .tv and .me because they never rank well. Once you’ve acquired a domain name, it’s time to build your website. This will act as a personal hub where you display most of your details, from private interests to your work history and will serve as a powerful tool for conducting effective online reputation management.

3. Work On Your Social Media Profile

The major search engines usually rank social media profiles such as Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook high, and there is a good reason behind it. They need some authentication to create, so the search engines usually view them and being more credible. Besides, they are always updating them and increasing their relevance because of the timely content posted on them. One important aspect about social media profiles is that they should either be kept clean or private. Never forget that anything you post on your social media profile is public, so you need to keep it at its cleanest. Even if your social media profile is private, refrain from making wild posts because you never know when the information will leak to the outside world and tarnish a reputation you struggled so hard to build.