While reputation management and search engine optimization (SEO) have long been categorized as different activities, the management of both practices is almost identical with two exceptions, scope and instances where a reaction is required to counter negative content that has been published prior to the initiation of a proactive reputation management program. Regarding the difference between the two practices in terms of scope, traditional SEO campaigns are narrower with the objective of optimizing single pages to rank at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for strategically selected keyphrases. A proactive reputation management campaign, on the other hand, with be initiated for the purpose of populating the front pages of SERPs with multiple page listings.
The second difference, where reputation management strategies are executed in reaction to negative publications, focuses the energy and resources of the campaign on developing content to counter the specific keyphrases contained in the targeted content. For example, if the published negative content specifically mentions “ABC Product”, the campaign would focus on optimizing content based on the keyphrase “ABC Product” as well as the company’s name and any other search terms that might pull up the negative content. Under these circumstances, the campaign would be focused on defending specific search terms as defined by outside events, rather than focusing on keyphrases that provide the greatest opportunities, traffic, conversions, etc.
For businesses that have yet to initiate reputation management and SEO campaigns or for those running them as separate entities, the similarities in execution provide an opportunity to consolidate resources and efforts to realize a sum that is greater than the two parts. In effect, running an SEO campaign like a reputation management initiative or vice-versa can serve the marketing objectives of SEO while also building a protective wall around the business’ reputation. In addition to these benefits, the combined campaigns can play an integral role in building the brand of the company through the strategic and comprehensive development of content that provides valuable and relevant information to the target market.
The provision of company intelligence then serves to build trust and credibility (building the brand), supplement the marketing purposes of SEO and, as an increasing number of listings ascend the SERPs, increase visibility. In addition to hindering the ascension of negative content, the self-reinforcing cycle also delivers another key benefit; more listings at the top of the SERPs for the sponsoring company means less visible listings for competitors. This outcome adds another aspect to the positive cycle as ownership of the front pages of the SERPs fortifies both marketing and brand building efforts as potential and existing customers see an expanding presence in the results for their search queries.