Is Reputation Management the New SEO?

Reputation management has been all of the talk lately. While at Affiliate Summit, Pubcon and AdTech I’ve noticed that more advertisers and exhibit booths are adding “Reputation Management” to their arsenal of services. While it’s always good to throw in some new services, it’s tough to know if half of these companies really know what they are doing when it comes to ORM.

Many people look at ORM as being the same as SEO. There are plenty of reasons why they seem similar, but this simply isn’t the case. Online reputation management is more than getting web sites and content to rank in the search engines for different keywords around your business.

SEO is SEO… and that means it’s search engine optimization… keywords being SEARCH ENGINE.

If your whole business was entirely based on the search results, then this scenario might work for you. The truth is that if you are working on building a trustworthy brand and reputation for yourself or your brand you are going to need a lot more.

Here are several other components that need to be considered when focusing on ORM.

  • Reputation Management and SEONegative reviews – It’s not just about suppressing negative content in the search engines, it’s also about finding out who posted the content, why, and how you can fix the problem.
  • Social presence – With over a billion users on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, how many of them are talking about your business. Better yet… are you talking back?
  • Content ownership – SEO focuses on Google and where your sites rank in the search results. With ORM you need to focus on various sites, such as Yelp and RipOffReport to see what people are saying and how you can address the issues.
  • Crisis management – If something bad happens to your business or brand and you are in the middle of a viral crisis, do you have a plan in place to take control of the situation? Search engine rankings aren’t going to help you on this one.

I’ve mentioned four key components of ORM, and these are just the tip of the iceberg.

One of the biggest reasons why reputation management shouldn’t be looked at as the new SEO, is that it all comes back to your company and how you run your business. SEO is something that can be outsourced and you either get good search rankings or you don’t. With reputation management, your brand and customer loyalty is up for grabs. This is something many businesses don’t want to hear as it requires more work.

During a recent interview with branding expert Brian Newmark, he pointed this out as one of the more frustrating sides of dealing with clients and ORM.

I hope all of my clients read this.  There is a reason you have poor Yelp reviews and two RipoffReports. I can fix what it says on the web to suppress the negatives to page three, but if you don’t change your business practices, new negatives will be posted and you will be in the same situation next year. Most consumers don’t want a problem with the companies they choose to do business with; they file complaints in total frustration. Fix you customer service!

The next time an agency tries to offer you reputation management services along with their “SEO” package, make sure they are including the features I mentioned above. If they aren’t, they are probably just taking you for a ride on their up-sell roller coaster of disaster!

About Zac Johnson

Zac Johnson is a online marketer with over 15 years of experience. You can view my personal blog at along with and

6 Responses to Is Reputation Management the New SEO?

  1. Steven W. Giovinco says:

    Thanks for the informative article, Zac. As ORM becomes more popular, its important to know that its quite different from SEO and is not “SEO in reverse” as I’ve heard some people describe it as.

    • Zac Johnson says:

      Hey Steve, thanks for the comment. This is definitely true. Web sites and brands need to understand the difference, or they can just be offered “SEO” and told it’s “ORM”… big difference in the long run.

  2. Brian Newmark says:

    Agreed, so often people call me and ask about fixing their issues on the internet, then they say “I’ll have my SEO guy work on it.” I try to explain that the SEO guy is much better at driving organic search traffic to your SERP, but he can’t make it look good when they get there. That is my role. I have yet to find one company that does SEO, Reputation Management, and Social Media and does it all well. Clients need to understand that when they need heart surgery, they go to the best cardiothoracic surgeon they can find, not their general practitioner. Dealing with the web is as critical to their business as the heart is to their life.

  3. Awesome points, Zac! I always try to tell people that SEO is what gets you found. ORM is what your clients actually find. And what they find may not be what you want them to see like a negative review, a faulty and libelous claim, etc. That’s why ORM is more than SEO. It’s all about the content your company or brand is related with.

  4. Spook SEO says:

    I have to say that you
    really nailed the issue with your infographic! Heightened quality of services
    will always mean better reputation. You just have to figure out how to lure
    lots of people into your account. After this, you are already all set.
    Constantly improving is always needed, though.