Online reputation management and SEO are both critical to your business’s online success. A brand with a positive online presence can outperform competitors and see an increase in sales, revenue and customer loyalty. Companies need to have a strong focus on both their online reputation management and SEO in order to properly leverage their success online. Most companies consider SEO and online reputation management, or ORM, as two separate strategies, but they are more intertwined than you might first think.
When consumers shop online, they rely solely on online research for their buying decisions. In order to be highly visible to consumers, your brand needs to be high ranking, have high converting content and showcase good customer reviews. As a strategy, SEO can be very effective for driving customers and improving online visibility, but it can also work as part of your online reputation strategy. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about the relation between online reputation management and SEO, and how to improve ORM through SEO.
What is ORM?
ORM stands for ‘online reputation management’ and is an essential part of any business’s online presence. ORM is used to actively monitor mentions of your brand online, usually across social media and other websites. It gives your company the opportunity to address negative feedback or incorrect statements and focus on improving your brand image online. Many people believe that ORM only includes online reviews and social media, but in actual fact, it refers to all areas of your online presence.
ORM is sometimes confused with PR, and both aim to portray your business in the best possible light. The most significant difference between the two is that PR is proactive, whereas online reputation management is reactive. With PR, you are proactively trying to strengthen your business presence through advertising and promotions. However, ORM is about reacting to other content online and responding to it appropriately. Digital PR can be used for online reputation management as a tool for responding to negativity, but ultimately, they are two different things. Whether it is a single negative comment on social media or a low star rating left on a review site, ORM addresses each of these minor negatives to help counteract the damage they can do. Online reputation management is crucial for maintaining transparency in your business and can help to build brand loyalty among your customers.
Online reputation management spans across your entire online presence and covers many different channels. The most common types of ORM include:
- Online reviews
- Social media
- Digital PR
- Influencer marketing
What is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ and is a strategy used to drive traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It is about encouraging customers to find and click on your organic results on Google or other search engine results pages (SERPs). Organic traffic refers to any website traffic that you do not pay for. With SEO, you can set your website up for success on the SERPs, as well as target the right customers for your business.
SEO works by crawling the content of a website and then ranking that website based on how closely it aligns to what a customer is searching for. You can target specific keywords and phrases using SEO by writing content that is relevant to your niche and includes these key phrases. Search engines use a lot of different ranking factors when ranking a website, including content, links, keywords, traffic, usage, social media and more. SEO is all about optimising these factors for the best possible performances on the SERPs. This can include writing relevant and high-quality SEO content, such as a blog, or optimising meta descriptions and title tags (the title and description of a webpage that you see in a SERP).
How are online reputation management and SEO related?
Online reputation management and SEO are closely related but often considered two separate strategies. If you understand how they can work together, you can dramatically improve your online presence and reputation. ORM is all about monitoring and managing your reputation online, which is something that SEO can undoubtedly assist with. Both online reputation management and SEO share the same goal: strengthening your business’s credibility and authority online.
ORM is influenced by all media and messages across various channels online that relate to the brand. These messages come in different forms, and some are easy for a company to control, while others are not. Website content and digital PR are both examples of online reputation that can be controlled by a brand; whereas, reviews and social media mentions cannot be controlled. There might be various publications and content online about the business that you have no control over, but you can control how you react and respond to it. This is where SEO comes into it, as there are many techniques and strategies you can use to improve brand perception through search engines.
How to use SEO to improve ORM?
Handling your SEO strategy and ORM strategy as two separate entities can mean you are leaving business on the table. By using your SEO to improve your online reputation, you can streamline your messaging and create a consistent and positive brand image for your customers. Here are some of the most effective ways to use SEO to improve your online reputation management:
Digital PR is an integral part of search engine optimisation and is a tool your company can control. Years ago, PR was predominantly an offline strategy, focusing on newspapers, magazines and more. Today, it has moved to the online world and is essential for a solid online presence and reputation. Digital PR is often incorporated into a business’s SEO strategy because it involves guest posts, social media influencers and more. All these channels are great for boosting organic traffic and improving rankings on SERPS, but they are also very beneficial for ORM.
Digital PR can be defined as the process of using online channels to grow and manage the awareness and reputation of a brand. It involves building relationships with bloggers, influencers and journalists within your industry in order to secure media exposure. Digital PR can help you to set up highly targeted campaigns across various channels, including blogs, podcasts, news sites and business networks.
Many businesses choose to enlist the help of experts at a digital PR agency, but it is also something you can choose to handle yourself internally. Digital PR involves monitoring the industry, pitching stories to online media outlets and producing high-quality content that is valuable to the audience. This can help build backlinks to your website from authority sites and improve your brand’s ranking on SERPs.
Digital PR can be used as a tool for online reputation management by directing the conversation in your favour. You can use these strategies to improve your rankings and build awareness in your sector. Not only that, but digital PR can provide insightful reports about your industry and how your business sits within it. This can be used to establish your brand as a thought leader in the market. If your business is suffering from a negative online reputation, or there has been some recent bad press about your company, digital PR can be a powerful tool in controlling the conversation and rebuilding a positive reputation.
Content management and creation
SEO content creation is the process of creating content specifically to rank well in search engines. This kind of content can be controlled by your company and used to improve your online reputation. Typically, SEO content is focused on a specific keyword or phrase, with the view that that page will rank highly when users search it. Regular, unique and high-quality content is critical for SEO. In fact, websites with regularly published blog posts experience 350% more traffic than those that do not. SEO content creation is when you create content specifically for the purpose of improving your search engine rankings.
Knowing how to create compelling content is not just crucial for SEO but also for your online reputation management. Good SEO content can help control the conversation around your brand online. You can use it to answer questions that your audience frequently ask and portray your business in the best possible light. If you know there are some negative articles online or that some search terms bring up poor results for your business, you can focus on creating content to counteract this. Ultimately, you want your content to be at the top of the SERPs for all relevant searches so you can control exactly how your brand is perceived.
A great place to start after you have decided to use content management to enhance your online reputation is to search some key phrases about your business and products. Look carefully at all the results that show up, including the featured snippets and People Also Asked (PAA) search prompts. If there are any negative results or incorrect information, you can focus your content creation on these specific areas.
Online reviews work to help both your online reputation management and SEO. When it comes to ORM, your reviews are likely to be the first place you will start. Although the reviews that customers leave your business online can’t be controlled directly, you can control how you respond and handle these. Online reviews make up part of your SEO strategy, and search engines use these to gather vital information to display to users when they search your business. Focusing on driving positive customer reviews and having a good strategy in place to respond to negative feedback is imperative to your online reputation management.
When using online reviews for your SEO, features such as review sentiments and widgets are very effective. You can use product reviews on your relevant website pages to act as additional content. This will not only serve as SEO content but also improve your online reputation, as long as the sentiment is positive. If your business has some negative reviews, it can feel like a huge problem. In actual fact, negative reviews are not too much of an issue as long as they are correctly handled.
When you focus on fixing a bad online reputation, you can turn the conversation in your favour.
Advantages of combining online reputation management and SEO
There are so many reasons why your business should be using SEO to improve online reputation management. It is an integral part of any marketing strategy and offers so many benefits to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Using SEO to improve ORM can bring many new opportunities. Some of the key benefits of improving online reputation management through SEO include:
- Conveying your brand story: When you have a solid ORM strategy in place, you can take complete control of your brand story. By monitoring your brand mentions across all channels, you can swing the conversation to be in a positive narrative. ORM can highlight your positive reviews, while SEO can make sure your content counteracts any negative search results.
- Improving communication: Every channel your business uses is an important touchpoint for your customers. Your website, social media and review platforms all add value for your customers and improve your communication with them. When you maintain an active online presence, you will be able to maximise your potential online. Providing immediate responses to reviews can improve your communication with customers and help manage your reputation online.
- Creating strong brand recognition: New information is going to be uploaded online about your business all the time, and not all of it is going to be positive. When you are using online reputation management and SEO, you can make sure that only the positive content is associated with your brand. It isn’t just about focusing on ranking highly for your keywords but also about taking action to protect your brand image.
Ultimately, online reputation management can be greatly improved by using SEO alongside other tactics. You need to create a solid strategy for both ORM and SEO in order to portray your business in the best possible way online. Customers will always have a few negative comments about a company, no matter how outstanding your service and products are, but it is how you handle these negative communications alongside your overall online presence that will make a real impact on your business.