6 smart moves to update and improve your business style

Protect your online reputation

Do you know what people are saying about you online? You should.

"Anyone can pull up your name on a search engine and see what's out there about you — from potential employers to companies that extend credit to people you meet socially," says Carole Moore, a former police detective and author.

Moore recommends searching your name regularly on the major search engines. Set up a Google Alert so that you can closely monitor any chatter.

If you find anything less than flattering about yourself, first analyze how it impacts or affects you or your career.

If you're simply insulted by a rumor or unflattering photo, try to increase positive content on sites you control (i.e., your blog or business website), so that the newest stories push the older and unflattering ones down in search engine results.

But if the worst happens and you find that people are saying untrue or damaging allegations about you or your business, it's time to take a stand.

Write to the author in a calm manner, requesting that the content be removed from the site. Make sure to copy the publisher/owner or editor to express your displeasure.

If the allegations are so damaging or libelous that removing the content isn't enough (or if the author won't remove the information), check with an attorney before taking action of any kind.