A growing need for companies as they continue to build their online presence is managing their reputation on the web. For this, a number of companies are turning to search engine optimization (SEO), especially when it comes to directories.

Michael Gray, a reputation management expert writing for Marketing Pilgrim says that a negative listing can kill a business but trying to remove that listing can be difficult or maybe even more harmful in the long run. Instead, Gray suggests using search engine optimization (SEO).

"Many companies or websites have listings in directories like Yahoo or Business.com, the problem is your listing is mixed-in on a page with other websites. Secondly the title of that page, which is one of your strongest on page SEO elements, is usually the category or sub-category name, making it practically useless," writes Gray. "What you really need is your own page on that directory, with a title that you have some influence on."

Once a company can do that, Gray says it’s just a matter of giving it some time along with some links from other pages before a more favorable listing replaces the negative one.

Gray says the same rings true for a person as well as a company, but a person is more likely to use a service like LinkedIn.

A recent survey from practical ecommerce found that although most companies use search engine optimization (SEO) a large percentage do not understand the concept.