What is the difference between SEO and ORM? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. ORM stands for Online Reputation Management. SEO is generally concerned with getting a website to rank better for product or service-related search terms. ORM uses SEO, and a variety of other techniques, to improve the overall image of a brand. Both are subsets of online marketing.
For two decades, companies and individuals have been utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve their search engine page rankings. In the late 90’s, it became clear that the optimal place for your site to appear was on the first page, officially waging the never-ending battle for page rankings. The war continues today, affecting online and offline businesses alike.
SEO is so prominent, in fact, that most online marketing campaigns are heavily focused on improving page ranks for certain targeted keywords. This is an important piece in the digital marketing puzzle, but it's not enough on its own. In order to make lasting changes to the way you, or your company, looks online, it is critical to employ strong SEO and ORM techniques.
So What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management improves how brands look online. It improves rankings, ratings, search profiles, social media, and websites by getting a company (or person) more online press and mentions.
ORM = Many websites. Fewer branded search terms.
ORM companies employ many techniques to get the job done. One of those techniques is SEO (search engine optimization). They engage in SEO along with other disciplines such as web analytics, web development, content development, and online public relations.
The benefits of ORM extend beyond search results to include:
- Higher trust. People trust a brand or person with a good reputation more.
- Increased profits. Companies with high star-ratings and reviews get more business.
- Better talent. Brands with a positive reputation earn better employees.
- Less risk. People move with crowds. Call it the "broken window theory" of reputation management.
- Gentler treatment. Companies that share the same core values as their clientele are likely to overcome a reputation scandal easier than one without. Think Apple Computer vs. Monsanto.
What Does SEO Do?
There are a lot of different factors that go into it, but search engine optimization increases a page’s visibility by increasing its rank, thereby placing the page at the top of search results and onto the holy grail of the first page.
SEO = One website. Many search terms.
Not only is SEO a technique good reputation firms use in their toolbox, it is also the name of an entire discipline that is primarily engaged in getting a website to move up in search results, most often for commercial purposes.
Ever-Changing SEO Techniques
The methods of SEO are always changing, like a frantic game of keep away between internet users and search engine companies. Internet marketers and ORM companies are the monkeys in the middle, working diligently to keep an eye on both sides, catching whatever hints they can. Over time patterns emerge.
The game becomes even more interesting considering the fact that Google changes its algorithms between 500 and 600 times a year, with major changes interspersed through the years. Still, SEO experts manage to figure out key aspects of these algorithms and apply them to website creation and upkeep.
Here are just a few of the main tactics these experts employ.
One of starting places for SEO is in the HTML of the page itself. You don’t have to be a web developer to make changes to the markup language behind the browser. Without delving into the actual details of editing an HTML page for the sake of space and scope, know that beefing up your meta description and title tag, adding more header tags of varying levels, and utilizing internal links will all help your page rise in rank.
Content Is (Still) Queen
Put simply, the more high-quality content that is relevant to your niche you have, the better your chances of getting a page into the top search results; especially for long-tail search terms. Combine that with the fact that more content means more opportunity to keep people browsing your site, and you’ve got all the more reason to keep a steady stock of good content online.
Link-Building, or Offsite Optimization
Link-building means getting other reputable sites to link to your page. Doing this organically is the best way. A link that was obtained organically, by volition of the person who linked it, is not only ethical, but is also considered of a higher caliber and value to the search engines. The idea is simple: if other trusted sites find something of value on your site, Google thinks, “Hey! There must be something good here.”
Online Reputation Management SEO Practices
A good online reputation management company makes good use of SEO and other tactics to create or maintain a positive image of a brand, company, or individual.
A reputation campaign, and much of the work involved in ORM, relies on positive content creation. These companies may create a mass of awesome content and host it on a company’s blog, website, social media, and other sites relevant to that entity. Then, using the arsenal of tactics under the SEO umbrella, the reputation company pushes positive content to the top of search results.
If a company is haunted by past events or PR problems, they’ll often approach an ORM company to reinvigorate the brand and the online image of the company. An online reputation management company can engage in a campaign to bring to light all of the good things about the company and the brand by way of SEO.
The Big Thing to Watch Out For
Most ORM companies don't do SEO (at least not in our studies over the past ten years). This is because it's expensive and the customer normally cannot tell it isn't being done. But not doing SEO as part of an ORM campaign causes problems. SEO cements the search results, giving them longevity as well as better performance. If an ORM agency does not back up their work with real honest to goodness SEO, look elsewhere.