It seems almost inevitable these days: You run a search on your company's name or product and a negative review, remark or blog post appears in the top listings. What do you do? "Don't  ... lose your cool and try to retaliate," says Internet Marketing Consultant Jeremy Martin in a recent Search Engine Journal article. "It often does more damage than good." He suggests you instead take the following steps:

Do your best to resolve the issue with the dissatisfied person—publicly. "It shows that you are persistent and take your customers' satisfaction seriously," says Martin.

Take action to push the negative reports down in search-results pages. Submit a press release to PR distribution sites, or start a new blog about your company's products or services. "Make sure you share the good information about your business, such as favorable stats or testimonials," Martin advises. All that good news will likely be listed in search results before the bad stuff.

Use social networking to build—and spread—positive buzz. People will refer your site if it has appeal for their peers. So provide pertinent and buzz-worthy info.

The Po!nt: Hold your head up high. With proper planning and a few positive strategies, you can mitigate any damage done to your rep by a few bad comments—and you may boost your goodwill in the process.

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