Though search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management (ORM) are often spoken of in tandem, it is important to realize that they refer to two distinct disciplines. SEO is something we blog about often; to put it most succinctly, SEO refers to the optimization of website content to ensure strong search engine visibility. ORM, meanwhile, refers to the array of functions and tools that a company or individual might use to preserve their image on the Web—to cast themselves in the best light possible. Some of the activities involved with ORM might include monitoring consumer reviews; addressing customer complaints; promoting positive press; exhibiting thought leadership; and enhancing consumer trust.
Both endeavors are important, and in fact they feed into one another: In a very real way, SEO is vital to the practice of ORM, while ORM can have its own implications for SEO.
How SEO Affects Online Reputation
Online reputation management hinges on one question: When search engine users conduct a Google or Bing search for your brand, what will they find? Will the top search engine listings reflect your brand in a positive and appealing way—or will they be negative or embarrassing?
Let’s think about it in concrete terms. Ideally, when a potential customer does a Google search for your company name, that customer will find your business website, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn page, and perhaps some positive reviews and/or laudatory news headlines, all at the very top of the search results page. Conversely, what you don’twant is for the top Google listing to be a BBB complaint, a scathing pan on Yelp.com, or the website for one of your competitors.
You do not have complete control over this, of course, but you can work to ensure that the assets at the top of an online search are the ones you want to be there. The way you do that, of course, is through SEO—optimizing your positive, branded content for maximum visibility. You may not be able to remove those negative listings, but you can certainly push them down the search rankings by making your content top priority.
How ORM Affects Search Engine Listings
It is also important to note the ways in which online reputation management can shape search engine listings. Begin by understanding that Google’s algorithms reward websites that show high levels of conversion. If you get a lot of click-throughs to your page, that feeds into Google’s assessment of your page as useful and relevant. Of course, negative reviews can cause your conversions to drop off, but online reputation management—with its focus on responding to bad reviews and gathering up more positive ones—can mitigate this damage.
The bottom line is that you really need both of these toolboxes at your disposal, as they sharpen and strengthen each other in a variety of ways. To learn more about the connection between enterprise SEO and reputation management, contact Sefati Consulting Group today.