Online reputations are just as important as you felt your personal rep was in high school. You can keep the trolls, flamers, and baiters at bay by following these eight tips for online reputation management.

1. Google yourself

It might feel vain, but simply Googling yourself can bring up a lot of information. Do you have needlessly bad reviews or does someone have a bone to pick with your business? Find out!

2. Respond professionally

If you don’t have something nice to say … well, you know the rest. Some review sites let businesses reply — either publicly or to the reviewer. If the person seems receptive, a professional response can work wonders.

3. Tackle SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is in your hands. You can “bury” sites that mention your business in a negative manner beneath more positive content.

4. Complain to the site

If someone tosses slanders or libel at your firm, the host site might be willing to step in. Email the site owner and see what can be done.

5. Ignore the trolls

Just like in school, trolls are like bullies. They’re after attention (and maybe need some love). If you ignore an abusive person, he or she may go away.

Also keep in mind that if they’re really “out there,” nobody else will pay much attention to them either.

6. Hire a reputation management company

There are plenty of reputation management companies who can take care of these bumps for you. For some businesses, especially larger ones or those who seem to attract flamers, this might be the best option to get back on the right track.

7. Stay committed to good content

Social media platforms, blogs, guest blogs on other sites and pretty much any other way to get positive content out there will help to keep the trolls at bay.

However, this shouldn’t necessarily be a DIY activity for many people. A good content writer can make a world of difference on your behalf.

8. Ask for positive reviews

Encourage happy customers to post a positive review, but don’t be pushy. A simple request when completing a transaction is often all it takes. Make it easy for customers to find you online and comment or post reviews.