Online reputation management vs. SEO – understanding the differences

Dhiraj Nallapaneni

4 min read Last Updated Jun 17, 2020

Reputation Management

Both online reputation management and search engine optimization help you drive more customers to your business using the internet. Being closely related in principle, people often confuse these two terms and use them interchangeably. However, both SEO and online reputation management use different techniques to target prospective buyers at different stages of their buying journey and affect your business listing differently.  

Differences between online reputation management and SEO include:

  • Impact on your business listing
  • Targeting the prospective buyer
  • Target websites
  • Traffic vs. Trust

Now let’s delve deeper into them.

Impact on your business’ listing

Reputation Management - business listing on Google

Google considers more than 200 factors to decide the search engine rank of your website or landing page. To optimize your website for search and rank higher, you must follow the principles of search engine optimization. These include writing keyword-enriched content for your website, following guidelines to create a Google-friendly website, getting inbound links to your page from trusted websites and regularly updating your content, among several other factors.

Additionally, you can even consider using an organic search marketing software to help you with this. On the other hand, when it comes to online reputation management, you’ll have to find and drive insights from what your existing customers say about your brand on public platforms, such as social networks and review websites. Prospective customers read comments and reviews written by others and make a perception of your products and services. The better is the experience of your existing customers, the better are the chances of you converting a website visitor.

Read More: Build your online reputation as a team: 6 steps

Targeting the prospective buyer

Reputation Management - targeting the customer

A typical buyer’s journey has three stages – the awareness stage, the consideration stage and the decision stage. For example, if a dental patient is looking for dentists in their area, they’ll typically start their journey by searching for “dentists near me” or “dentists in Palo Alto”. If you are the owner of a dental practice and have optimized your website for search engines, the listing of your practice would be visible to your prospective patients in the search listing.

This is the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, where they’re made aware of your practice on a search engine. However, after being aware of your practice, along with all other practices in the neighborhood, the prospective patient will choose anyone by referring to their positive reviews and online presence. With online reputation management, you can target your prospective customer during the consideration and decision stage.

Target websites

When optimizing your business listing for search engines, you’re optimizing the content, code and design on just your website. Online reputation management, on the other hand, is all about managing your business listing and what your customers are saying about your business on multiple websites, including third-party review websites, social networks, discussion forums and business listing websites. When you manage your online reputation, you try to encourage your prospective customers to do business with you. You do this by showing them your positive image on third party websites.

Traffic vs. trust

Reputation Management - web traffic

SEO betters your chances of ranking higher in search results and helps bring more traffic to your website. This is important as you want your prospects to visit your website to learn about your products and services. However, you need to establish trust with your potential customers to convince them to do business with you. With online reputation management, you keep an eye on what customers say about you on public platforms, track your business’ online rating and get more positive reviews, which help you build trust in your potential customers.

Search engine optimization helps improve your search rank. After this, it all depends on your brand’s online reputation to convert your website visitors into customers. They collectively help you boost your business by using the internet as a customer acquisition tool. BirdEye enables you to take control of your online reputation by keeping track of customer reviews and rating, encouraging customers to review your products, and helping you rank higher in the search.