A new survey has revealed the extent to which businesses in the UK are being damaged by negative web content. In the study commissioned by online reputation specialist Igniyte, three quarters of the 500 companies involved across Britain said this issue was currently their biggest worry.

Whatever trade you are in, whether this is retail, catering, construction or professional services, there is always a chance of being publically criticised online – sometimes unjustly.

According to this reputation report, bad reviews, critical social media posts, negative media coverage and damaging content from competitors and disgruntled former employees were the main concerns.

Out of the business leaders questioned, one in five were unhappy with the way their company was portrayed on the first page of Google and two thirds of bosses admitted to not having the necessary skills to keep the company’s online reputation up to scratch.

Although 88% believed having a credible online presence is important to the people who use their services, one in ten did not know how to keep on top of this vital element of business reputation and another one in ten chose to outsource the company’s digital profile.

Businesses losing money due to online reputation

With a reported average loss of earnings per business of £50K, as a direct result of damaging online content, it is clear that managing reputation in the digital world needs to be taken seriously.

Amazingly, 45% of companies said they had failed to remove negative posts, while 12% had wanted to take action but did not know where to begin. In a bid to appease damaging threads, more than a third (36%) had attempted to engage with the critics.

Looking at the data gathered regionally, businesses in the East Midlands were the most dissatisfied with their online presence and those in the South East were the most satisfied.