"Search engine reputation" is the sum feeling a user takes away after querying a search engine for a company's name, product, or representative, regardless of whether the user actually clicks on any results.

By now, the rationale for controlling or at least being aware of your search engine reputation should be apparent, so let's skip right to monitoring techniques.

While my definition revolves around the SERP, it's important to realize any marring of your company likely began much earlier than the day it showed up on the SERP. By the time it hits the SERP, the post, article, or comment has likely been around a few days (or weeks) and has some algorithmic momentum of its own. The techniques outlined here are intended to alert you to reputation threats within minutes or hours of their creation.

Plenty of companies will monitor your search engine reputation for you. Some are inexpensive, some not. While the majority of these firms are pretty effective, companies and individuals can use free tools to monitor the process on their own. Actually mitigating the issues may require refined SEO (define) skills and is often best placed in the hands of an experienced SEO/SEM vendor.

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