Before you read any further, try this little experiment: Google your name, in quotes, and see what comes up.

Look at the results. Is there anything that makes you feel uncomfortable? Do you feel okay with what people will see at the top of the list? Scroll down… do you like what content shows up further down the page?

Now, do the same thing with your business, again putting the name in quotes. What do the first results show? Try searching using keywords like “awful,” “sucks,” “bad service,” or other negative terms.

Hopefully, you didn’t find anything negative there. But what if you did? What if there was personal information in either set of results that you don’t want the world to know? How would this affect your life or the health of your business?

This experiment illustrates the reality of the Internet age that we deal with every day. Nowadays, so much information about us is available online for the world to see, and we have little control over it.

The same goes for businesses. But there is something you can do about it. You’ve just taken your first steps into something called “online reputation management.” Individuals and organizations now live their lives online. Actively monitoring and controlling your reputation online is essential to the health and success of your business.

What Is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management, also called ORM, refers to building, improving, or restoring your brand’s name on the Internet. It means taking control of your reputation online by employing various strategies that are both proactive and reactive (for any damage control needed.)

Examples of strategies include removing or responding to negative comments or publishing positive content to bury the negative. ORM is more than just social media monitoring, but it isn’t a full-on PR campaign. It involves simple tools and techniques that any small business owner or entrepreneur can employ.

Whether tackling negative Google search results, removing risky personal information on social media, or eliminating troubling images that shouldn’t be online, ORM is essential to any brand’s image.