SEO and Online Reputation: What’s the Difference?

With so much information floating around online, how can a business stay atop of the competition? One way is through search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management (ORM). While SEO focuses on getting your content to show up in the right place in a search engine’s results, ORM takes care of making sure your name, brand, and website are always presented in a positive light, regardless of what’s going on online.

SEO: The Basics

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a form of marketing, public relations, and communication that helps businesses attract potential customers to their websites via search engines like Google and Bing. In general, SEO entails using various methods to make content more discoverable through search engines. Depending on your goals, you can tailor your SEO plan to fit perfectly.

ORM: The Basics

ORM, or online reputation management, is the practice of creating, maintaining, and improving your online reputation by responding to negative reviews and content that’s harmful or unpleasant with positive reviews and other online actions. Basically, you are shaping your online identity and controlling how others perceive you via your social platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

While SEO focuses on getting your content to show up in the right place in a search engine’s results, ORM takes care of making sure your name, brand, and website are always presented in a positive light, regardless of what’s going on online.

The Differences Between SEO and ORM

One of the primary differences between SEO and ORM is the fact that SEO is largely concerned with existing outside of the internet (i.e., offline) while ORM is largely concerned with existing within it. Put differently, SEO is about positioning your content to be found, while ORM is about defining who you are and what you stand for in the digital sphere.

Because of this difference, SEO and ORM are usually worked together. However, it’s not always the case, and you can have one without the other. For example, if you are starting a business and do not yet have a website, you can’t really do much SEO, but you can certainly engage in ORM activities, like posting to social media.

Where Do I Start?

If you’re wondering where you should start your SEO journey, the answer is pretty much everywhere. You can start small, with simply a blog article or website page, and grow from there. Alternatively, you can dive right in and tackle the whole website, from the ground up, to get the most from your efforts.

When Do I Start?

While it’s not always easy to tell, in general, you should start your SEO campaign as soon as possible after launching your business. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will see results (i.e., more people discovering your content via search engine). However, keep in mind that this field is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s not like one size fits all. You will always want to keep learning and looking for new ways to improve your campaign.

Which Areas Should I Focus On?

Just like with any other form of marketing or public relations, you want to focus on areas that are good for your business. If you are targeting local customers, focus on the local directories and social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

On the other hand, if your business is international and you want to attract customers from outside the country, you will want to focus on internationally-oriented search engines like Google and Bing. In some cases, you may also want to consider doing some keyword research in other languages, like Japanese, to attract foreign customers who are seeking your product or service in a language they can understand.

How Do I Measure Success?

Just like with any other form of marketing or public relations, you want to measure the results of your campaign. One of the best things about SEO is that you can measure the results of your efforts with simple metrics like clicks (i.e., how many people came to your site via a search engine), traffic (i.e., how many people came to your site), and conversions (i.e., how many people reached the point where they actually made a purchase or signed up for a service after visiting your site).

Keep in mind that these are only the starting points for your measurement efforts. You can and should track the results of your campaign continuously, adjusting and improving your efforts as needed.

The bottom line is that SEO and ORM are not one-dimensional, and they don’t always work in the same way. However, you can and should use both to get the best results for your business.