There are two distinct services which are often grouped together but have some very different purposes. In general, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used to increase the search engine ranking of your content. Online Reputation Management (ORM) is a bit broader of a term, and is used to specifically manage the online reputation of a person, place, thing, site, brand, etc. They both sound pretty similar to the name so it is a great way to have a better understanding of what each are. That understanding is the key to making a wise decision especially when determining the needs of your company. Lets start with SEO since it is often integral to ORM, but ORM is not a part of SEO. Sounds confusing for the moment, but hopefully all will soon be clear.

The Basics of SEO

Understanding the basics of  Search Engine Optimization cannot be done in one article. It cannot be done in ten articles. In fact if you Google “Search Engine Optimization” you will come across a somewhat large number of results, 27.9 million to be exact.

So what is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is merely making a website, review, blog etc., as much as possible, meet the specific criteria that a search engine uses to determine ranking. Sounds simple and the basis for it is simple, but as the 27.9 million its in Google can attest, it is anything but simple. Here are small number of the most important things good SEO will incorporate (keyword refers to both “keyword” and “keyword phrase”):

Search Engine Optimization incorporates these  plus hundreds more. In this sense search engine optimization is truly optimizing your site/content for the highest search engine ranking possible. If all that is SEO then what is ORM and why should a company not just pursue SEO?

Online Reputation Management Explained

ORM is important and SEO is a key part of most ORM campaigns. Online Reputation Management is even more basic in its definition, but broader in scope of what it entails. Online Reputation Management is exactly what the phrase suggests, managing your online reputation. Looking closer at some of what could have an online reputation is where this becomes difficult. Basically anyone, anything, or any company has an online reputation. The obvious ones are: people, companies, and brands.

URL length top level domain keyword density in body text keyword proximity
keyword in domain name individual keyword density file size
hyphens in URL applied semantics freshness of pages
less than 100 links out keyword font size amount of content change
keywords in header all internal links valid freshness of links
keyword in in title tag page theming Keyword in URL frequency of updates
keyword in description meta tag site size keyword stemming, LSI

ORM includes not just using SEO but in addition, social networking, blogs, review sites, etc. Managing your entire online presence is a very lengthy process. When you include all the above information then in becomes ORM. The goal of ORM is slightly different. Online Reputation Management is intended to move the content you choose into the order you want in a search engine, the bad down in Google search rankings the good up. With lower requirements, SEO is attempting to get a single page in the top.

ORM or SEO: Which type of online marketing is your company in need of?

The best and easiest way to help decide what it is that your company needs more, is to

  • Check Google, look for your company.
  • Where does it appear?
  • Does your company’s web presence appear early?
  • Is there negative information anywhere you can see?
  • Check the employees names for the same things.

If you see something negative, it is time to become a social media/SEO/Google Analytics expert or it is time to call a company which specializes in Online Reputation Management The longer you wait, the more click through’s the negatives will receive. When someone google’s your company, they will come across the negative. People are leery of trusting anything from the internet. People are much more likely to trust negatives over positives. Negative reviews get more credibility than positive reviews. If you see those negatives you need to be ready to act fast.

If you do not see anything negative about any of them, GREAT! You are ahead of the game. You have a couple of options from here and pursuing both of those options may be a smart move.

  • You can work hard improving the SEO of your web presence. Your web presence includes your website, social media, and outreach efforts like guest blogging and reviewing items and services related to your business.
  • Your other option is to be proactive and contact an experienced online reputation management company and allow them to begin tracking to make sure no negatives come alive online. This would allow you to have the piece of mind that if something happens, one of the top companies in the world at ORM and SEO is on top of it from the beginning.
  • Your third option is to do both. This is probably the best option. In addition to working on your company’s SEO and assisting with the development of a positive web presence, a good online reputation management company will monitor your web presence. This can give you the peace of mind you need to focus on the business that you know best.