SEO is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to your online presence. Online reputation plays a larger role in how your business is perceived overall.
Many people believe that if their SEO practices are in check, and their site is ranked highly on Google, their online reputation is great. While it is true that having a highly ranked website does wonders for your reputation, it doesn’t do everything. In fact, some businesses with top ranked sites can struggle with getting clients in the door, and they often wonder why that’s the case. A top ranking site must mean instant success, right? However, a quick search outside of their site reveals the actual problem – their online reputation is terrible. A bad online reputation can and does happen to good people and businesses. Some people have the misfortune of sharing a name with a person who may have committed a crime, which in turn makes the innocent party look less trustworthy. For example, would you trust a lawyer who shares his or her name with a famous serial killer? Furthermore, a business may have had a rowdy customer who decided to write a negative review after having a bad experience. If a negative article was written about your business, it could show up near the top of search engine results right next to your website. The important thing to realize is that reputation can be the difference between expanding your company, and shuttering your doors because no one wants to do business with you. Here are a few differences between SEO and online reputation management.
- While most SEO endeavors focus on getting your site ranked well on Google, online reputation management focuses on how you’re rated on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, or Google Pages. Your site can be high on the list, but if no one has anything positive to say about your business, what good is it doing you?
- Online reputation management focuses on bringing in lots of good stories and experiences to balance off the bad remarks you may have gotten in the past. While SEO encourages talking about your company, most search engines don’t care about the ratio of good to bad stories. Sure your company may turn up a lot of hits on Google, but if they are all about a recent scandal, what good are they doing for your image? Sure, you show up on Google all the time now, but all the links are about how bad your business is.
- Online reputation management helps bury all the bad press you may have been getting. Some reputation management companies do this by creating websites that link to your website in hopes of driving bad press off of the first page of Google.
- With a few exceptions, SEO practices would never suggest removing a page or a post – especially if it got a lot of attention. After all, your business is more likely to show up in search results which helps your online presence, right? However, online reputation management may suggest removing a Google+ page if it is really being trashed by former customers.
The bottom line is that online reputation management is the balancing out of the bad things that people people say about your business with positive articles and reviews. Or, at the very least, online reputation management can also be considered handling scandals in a professional manner and potentially avoiding PR problems. Like the name suggests, it manages your online reputation for you so you don’t have to. Regardless of whether or not you think you need online reputation management, monitoring what other people are saying about your business is a smart move. So the next time you check where your site is ranked, make sure that the other sites listed paint your business in a positive light as well.