Online Reputation Management Vs SEO: How different are they?
Updated: Feb 3, 2019
There is a confusion among the crowds that puts Online Reputation Management (ORM) and Search Engine Optimization(SEO) in one category. While both are intertwined, ORM is not SEO and SEO is not ORM.
Let's simplify matters and clear the confusion by defining each term separately:
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM) ?
If you search for your company's or personal name on the search engines, you will be represented with search results that talk about you or your brand. The impression you get by browsing the search engine results pages (SERPs) is what we define as your online reputation. If the results about your name or your company are mostly positive, then you have a good online reputation, if they are negative then your reputation is on the line.
It is estimated that 70% of searchers do not go pass the first page of search engine results, while less than 1% go beyond the second page. This means that 99% of people will paint an image about you or your business based on the first two pages of SERPs. In a nutshell, owning the top 20 search engine results and controlling what searchers find about you is what Online Reputation Management is all about.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ?
Search Engine Optimization is a marketing strategy that focuses on ranking your brand high on the search engines for the keywords that bring you the most targeted organic visitors and therefore leads and sales. Organic search results are defined as those search engine results that are natural, and free. When you search for a product or service on Google, it is those search results that appear immediately after the paid advertisements that are deemed organic.
SEO goal is to take few such keyword phrases that you consider to be winning lures for your business and attempting to rank your website at #1 when people search for them. The collection of tactics and techniques to research your targeted keywords, creating content and authority, and optimizing your website online and offline to rank higher on the search engines is what SEO is all about.
What differentiates Online Reputation Management from Search Engine Optimization?
There are many similarities shared between online reputation management and SEO, but the differences are profound. Search engine optimization is focused on ranking your website at the top of search engines. Reputation management is focused on ranking a collection of positive content about your company's or personal name on the top 1-3 pages of search results.
Essentially SEO is about ranking one web property on the top, versus reputation management which is about creating and ranking 10-40 positive web properties for a particular brand or name. SEO tries to go viral, while reputation management is trying not to. Reputation management tries to enforce the ranking of positive content and bury the negative and misleading content deep in the search results.
SEO attempts to rank one website for many related keywords, on the other hand, reputation management attempts to dominate the search engines results for a specific brand or personal name. You need to think of online reputation management as targeted SEO on steroids.
One more important difference between SEO and Online Reputation Management, is negative online content removal. While it is impossible to remove negative content at the source without the host agreeing to it, forcing search engines to deindex such defamatory and negative content can be done with a legal process.
Recently an unprecedented action by the European Union courts forced Google to deindex content about individuals per their request. The EU, UK and soon USA and Canada are recognizing The Right To Be Forgotten Act as a basic human right. This right basically works like your credit history, it remains for 7 years then you are given a second chance. It is so ironic that a court can burden a criminal after few years but the Internet does not.
Finally another important difference between online reputation management Vs SEO; Online Reputation Management and Profile defending companies are great at SEO, but SEO companies can't necessarily help you repair your online reputation.
Does my brand need Online Reputation Management as well as SEO?
A solid digital marketing strategy must include online reputation management as well as SEO. Many companies ignore reputation management until they are faced with a situation where their name is being tainted with negative online reviews, comments, blog posts and other misleading or false content. This places the business in a vicious cycle of rumors and defamation.
While it is never too late to fix a brand's or a person's online reputation, ignoring protecting your online presence is costly and not advised. Meanwhile, had your digital marketing strategy attributed some resources to your online reputation over time, negative and false accusations online would've had hard time to creep up on you.
There is a saying which goes "Better safe than sorry", which couldn't be more true when it comes to your online reputation. When you take care of your online reputation even when you are not subjected to any online defamation or negative content, you place your name in a virtuous cycle where you can enjoy the benefits of great positive online material and become as pure as the driven snow!
Think of the search engine results pages (SERPS) as the front page of a newspaper. Now imagine that there is an advertisement or a column that talks bad about you or your business. The only difference is a newspaper changes daily, but search engine results are forever unless you take action to remove the bad content.
According to recent studies, one single bad review can make a company loose up to 22% of its customers if nothing is done to clean the bad reputation.
So to wrap up this comparison between Search Engine Optimization SEO and Online Reputation Management (ORM): they share some similar traits, but are profoundly different. Successful businesses use SEO to generate targeted traffic, qualified leads and sales revenue. They also use ORM to convince customers, investors and other stakeholders that their company is trustworthy, dependable and creditable.
Contact us today to clean your online reputation and to rank higher on the search engines.