If you lock your doors at night or have security protection on your business property, doesn’t it make sense to secure your online presence too?

Just like burglars who may rob your store, an online predator can sabotage your business without ever entering your building. From snarky reviews on your Google+ page to blatant manipulation of directory data, your business could lose a lot of money if you your online presence is not secure. lockWhether you manage your website and social media yourself or manage the people who do, do you know who is monitoring your online presence...your search engine locations like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and directories like Yellow Pages and EZ Local?

Securing your online presence is an important part of the internet marketing process. Even if you don’t have a website, you do have an online presence. Haven’t ventured into Facebook yet? Chances are good that a page for your business already exists. Your company is surely listed in a few of the many online directories. Unfortunately, much of the information that is published online is incorrect. Imagine what happens if the wrong telephone number or address is listed. Or, worse yet, somewhere your business is listed as closed. Yes, it has really happened. Check out this story from the New York Times.

If you care about the reputation of your company and sales are important to you, then securing your online presence requires some thought and planning as well.

First, you can set up a Google Alert, a free service from Google. Register your business name on Google Alert to receive notifications if someone has published something about your name or business. You might also use it to monitor your competition, your industry or any other information that might be relevant to you.

Next, set-up and claim all of your free directory listings and search engines with your correct business name, address and telephone number. You can make it a long-term project for yourself or you can work with a company that can set it up for you in a matter of a few days. Either way, securing your online presence requires time, effort and consideration, but it’s wholly worth it.

If you have not done an assessment of your online presence, we offer a free service that will show you where and how your business is listed online. It will uncover errors, duplications, and missing listings?errors that could be costing you and your company thousands of dollars.

Your customers are looking for you online. Are they finding you, or your competition?