Online Reputation Management vs SEO: What’s the Difference

Brook Zimmatore | July 26, 2017

online reputation management and seo

So many terms get thrown around in any field, but also when it comes to promoting your business and managing your brand. Even the word “brand” was virtually unknown to most everyone as little as a decade ago, the way that it is currently used and universally understood.

So here are two terms: online reputation management (ORM) and search engine optimization (SEO). How do they work and what’s the difference? We’ll show you.

Search Engine Reputation Management

Search engines use algorithms to decide which pages might be relevant to their users. If mathematical terms make your eyes glaze over, here’s all you need to know about “algorithms”: they are a set of rules or a process to be followed, especially by a computer, to do things like make calculations or solve operations. So the search engine is “solving the problem” of which pages you want to see.

Everyone uses algorithms: Yahoo, Bing, Google, YouTube, etc. Anywhere you can search, that search engine is using their algorithm to push “related content,” (more useful data for the reader) to the top. Google’s search algorithm is called PageRank. Other companies have mostly followed their lead, since they are the search engine kings of the internet, at this point. Search engines like Google utilize key words, the frequency with which you post, and other data to decide what is relevant, and push those things to the top of the list.

Making your company’s website and desirable data come up near the top of related searches is called “search engine optimization” or SEO. You also want to manage that SEO, so that people looking for related goods or services see your company, but see it in the light that you want it seen. For example, if you make shoes like Nike does, you wouldn’t want to come up when people search for “worst shoes for distance running,” but you would want to come up near the top when people look for, “best shoes to run a marathon.”

The nuances of that process are your search engine reputation.

Online Reputation Management Techniques

SEO, then, is one component of online reputation management. It isn’t online reputation management in its entirety.

ORM also includes:

  • Social media posts and reputation in that regard.
  • Review sites (like Yelp) and what people say about you when posting product reviews anywhere that such is an option.
  • Media coverage and “expert” opinion on your goods or services.
  • Discussion forums and anywhere where opinions are shared that might affect your business.

Taken together, all of these factors add up to how your brand is viewed. Managing these resources to develop the online reputation you want, would be the details of the techniques involved in creating ORM.

Reputation Management Strategy

As you can see, reputation has many variables and relevancies. For some businesses, social media engagement may be very important. For others, not at all. For some businesses, review sites play an important part in successful product sales. Others, not so much. No matter what your business, a negative online reputation can cost you sales and sometimes, ultimately also your business. Yet, where those hits come from is also incredibly variable.

That’s where strategy comes in. A PR company with online reputation management services should understand your business, within the context of your industry, and also the unique challenges you face. Utilizing a strategy for growth and improvement, they can analyze the existing internet data available and reputation, then work to eradicate negative or inflammatory data, generate ample digital presence, and grow your online reputation.

That online reputation, utilizing SEO so you consistently appear “near the top” of searches, in turn, drives business.

CEO / Co-Founder
Brook Zimmatore is the Co-Founder & CEO at Massive.