Search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management (ORM) oftentimes go hand in hand. For example, ORM utilizes SEO principles to boost the online reputation of a business, as businesses commonly use SEO in an effort to control top search engine results so that potential customers will get a positive first impression.
However, there are differences between these two entities: SEO is all about optimizing a website for search engine results to build a better web presence, whereas the goal of ORM is to shape the initial impression a potential customer will get when searching your business’ name, thus creating a positive web presence. The result of SEO is where your business lands on a search page, ideally at or near the top, while the result of ORM is either a good or bad rep, which can be spread across multiple pages. If ORM efforts are successful, a business will have a long-lasting, positive online presence.
ORM is about building your brand and enhancing your image, whereas the sole focus of SEO is page ranking. The biggest difference between SEO and ORM, however, concerns customers and sales. Successful SEO can increase website traffic, making your business more visible to potential customers, but your online reputation influences whether or not they want to give you their business, keeping in mind that 83 percent of consumers read online reviews before making purchase decisions.
Let’s say a consumer is looking for custom-made wood furniture and is conducting online research before making a purchase. If your business specializes in custom-made wood furniture and your SEO efforts have taken root, your business might show up at or near the top of a search engine results page. But if your business has a bad reputation because, for example, your custom-made wood furniture has a tendency to collapse, you have terrible reviews and you’ve neglected your ORM, your search engine results might be negative, leaving a bad first impression and cost you sales.
Even if your business does have a bad rep, it is possible to create positive content that can shape consumer opinion and use SEO to ensure said content ranks higher than negative information on a results page. To get your SEO and ORM working in harmony, it is crucial to have a content marketing strategy in place, as SEO in 2016 will continue to shift to content marketing. The goal of content marketing is to provide information that builds trust, develops your brand and ensures you are viewed as an expert on whatever the subject matter you are presenting, which can also boost your online reputation.