Online review sites now give customers the power to write a public review of your business at any time, making many business owners feel completely defenseless against the potential onslaught.

Reviews can pop up when you least expect them, and they can have a lasting effect on how potential and regular customers perceive your business.

In short, online reviews can be a pain—especially if you're below the three-star average range.

Managing online reputation is absolutely essential to building a strong customer base and maintaining steady revenue, especially for small businesses. Most people will make their buying decisions through online research, and reviews are often a facilitating factor—especially when ratings are usually the first thing that a potential customer will see when searching for your business on Google.

Improving a poor online reputation is no walk in the park, but following through with each of the following five tactics could effectively bring those scores up and promote an overall positive image of your company.

1. Immediately respond to every review on every site

What you'll accomplish...

  • You'll show potential and current customers that you care.
  • You'll locate and solve potential problems.

The major review sites for the general market are mainly Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google+. However, you need to be aware of the various review sites that pertain to your particular business and industry.

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image of Ajay Prasad

Ajay Prasad owns GMR Web Team, a digital marketing agency dedicated to helping businesses maximize revenue online. He also operates a Web-based business, GMR Transcription, which he built from scratch and grew by using strategies that he now uses for his digital marketing clients.

LinkedIn: Ajay Prasad