Why are SEO specialists talking about Online Reputation Management (ORM in short) and what does it mean when they provide this “service”. In this post I shall help explain and dispel some common misconceptions. As a client, what are you getting when engaging ORM with a SEO agency? Could it be nothing but a bigger bill at the end of your month? Let me break it down.

Online Reputation Management (ORM) is a practice to protect a company’s reputation in the event of negative press and publicity your company receives online. In Wikipedia, it’s defined as “the influencing and controlling of an individual’s or group’s reputation. Originally a public relations term, the growth of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made search results in a core part of an individual’s or group’s reputation.

Let us give you an example, let’s say you’re a manager of Pizza Hut. Let’s say on a fine day, one of your chains got into “hot soup” when one of your employees fought violently over a disagreement and resulted in customer orders not fulfilled during lunch hour.

Customers are displeased, pictures and videos are promptly taken and uploaded online. The media catches the posts and goes on a frenzy. Blogs and reputable gossip sites swoop up the news in a heartbeat (their salary depends on the amount of bad news they can find). Typing away as they do, usually conjuring up stories with an “ATTENTION-GRABBING” negative headline. Their money is made on the number of views they get. That’s how they glue you to your phones for hours straight scrolling on the latest gossip and media!

Back to topic, now you understand how the press works when you screw up. In short, they can be ruthless. But how does an SEO agency help you manage a Public Relations (PR) issue?

I get it, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, so what happens if the negative news land on Facebook, Instagram, blog sites, reputable news sites (Straits Times, Mothership, AsiaOne) as they inevitably will. Is the agency going to transform into an FEO (Facebook Engine Optimizers), or IEO (Instagram engine optimizer) specialists? What does that even mean? Anyone with a logical mind knows its pretty much nonsensical.

Those very same SEO companies that offer you ORM systems, what the heck do they do against the Godzilla of chaos? If your house (Brand) is in Public Relations fire, do you find an SEO firm or a Public Relations firm for the solution? If your house caught on fire do you call the police or the fire department? Same logic.

Using an SEO agency to manage your brand’s reputation is like calling the police in the case of a fire. There are 3 reasons why an SEO company cannot engage in ORM services and you’re getting nothing but a longer bill at the end of your period.

  1. A reputable news website is going to outrank you every single time.
  2. Google search results are mixed, you cannot game the system because the results are very diversified.
  3. Negative news always circulates faster than positive news.

Trying to rank against negative news with positive news is like trying to walk in a sprint competition. We can go on and on with the reasons. Now you may ask, but isn’t there a way to protect my reputation on Google?

Yes, engage a PR agent. Their primary job is to do reputation management for your business on stormy days. Not an SEO agency.

This might be a short post, but we have probably saved you thousands of dollars in the future just by reading this.