Customer Experience Blog

SEO vs Online Reputation Management (ORM) - Learn The Difference & Benefits

By Avinash Patil

difference between seo and online reputation management (ORM)
The difference between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and ORM (Online Reputation Management) is a topic of discussion that needs to be done in order to dispel the confusion between the two.

Whether you are a B2B or B2C firm, knowing the difference between the two can help you strategize your efforts in SEO and ORM better.

So, grab a cup of coffee and start reading the 4 differences between SEO and ORM.

1. ORM deals with your online reputation while SEO mainly centers around increasing web traffic

ORM or Online Reputation Management primarily deals with your online reputation. It encompasses the strategies that are devised to shape the online image of your business on the internet.

A positive image on the internet is the end goal of any ORM strategy. On the other hand, SEO or Search Engine Optimization refers to the attempts or strategies crafted to rank higher on the search engines.

When your page or website ranks on the first page of Google, you have undeniably affirmative chances to boost your sales. A high ranking website can be a powerful lead generator.

2. ORM focuses on brand perception while SEO focuses on search engine ranking

Only if your brand has a favourable image online will customers be willing to buy from you.

Your ORM is shaped by the brand mentions on various news sites, review sites, blogs, forums, and other sites of relevance.

It is mainly centered around your online reviews, PR, and influencer outreach.

Speaking about online reviews, your ORM should revolve around countering the negative online reviews through a slew of strategies.

SEO mainly uses strategies that involve keywords and content to rank your website or page. One such strategies is to make use of long tail keywords.

For instance, let’s say you sell ‘sports shoes’. Now, ‘sports shoes’ is a rather generic search term and would have to compete with zillion other brands to rank on the first page on Google.

How about further specifying it using the word ‘sports shoes for women’ or even something related to a sport like ‘badminton sports shoes for women’.

Such specific keywords tends to have a low competition and the audience is also very targeted.

Also read: How to improve online reputation of your hotel?

3. SEO is a subset of ORM while ORM is a vast topic in itself

As mentioned in the earlier points, online reviews shape up your online reputation. One responsibility you are tasked with when it comes to your online reputation strategy is protecting your brand from negative online reviews.

But, it is easier said than done. Why?

Because of the sheer amount of review sites that have cropped up these days, it isn’t possible for you to individually go to each of these sites and respond to them.

An ORM tool with a review management feature aggregates reviews from multiple sites and makes it available in your dashboard.

Opinion monitoring and sentiment analysis provide you with actionable data and business insights which helps you monitor your brand effectively.

Also read: How to monitor Online Reputation of a brand

It also helps you collect important customer feedback through meaningful survey questions designed to capture the data you want to gather without any ambiguity.

Though online reviews do drive SEO ranking, both the topics are poles apart with only a few elements overlapping.

4. SEO affects the awareness stage while ORM impacts the decision stage

Awareness stage and Decision stage are part of customer buying journey which depicts a journey or process that a buyer goes through before finally making a purchase.

Let’s run through each of the stages to help you understand the same.


The first stage in the buyer’s journey is the Awareness stage. The buyer in this stage identifies a problem or challenge they want to address. They choose whether or not a certain problem or challenge should be a priority.


The second stage is the consideration stage where the prospective buyer has clearly identified the problem and goal. They are now focused towards finding a solution to it.

Evaluation of different options available is the key action in this stage.


The final stage in the buying process, the prospects are now zeroing in on their options to finally purchase. They weigh in the options considering all the pros, cons and the cost before going to buy the product or avail the service.

So now that you have a basic understanding, let’s see how SEO and ORM come into play in the buyer’s journey.

SEO plays a key role in the awareness stage. Going by our earlier sports shoe example, the buyer when looking for options finds an article on the advantages of using a particular brand’s shoes.

Now, based on the opinion formed on the article, the buyer then heads to the website and checks out the different options.

So, the content that was put out was seen by the buyer because of SEO. Though SEO does not always help in conversions, it does help in generating traffic.

Now, let’s talk about ORM. Unlike SEO which helps the buyer in the awareness stage, ORM aids the prospect in the making decision. By now, the prospect would have decided what to buy, but would still be confused as to which brand to go for.

This where ORM plays a role in the grand scheme of things. The buyer would have now narrowed down their choices to two or three brands of sports shoes. But, still might be confused.

Depending on the brand’s image and reputation, the buyer would finally purchase the shoes from a particular brand which outshines the others.

Though reviews help propel SEO rankings and it has some weight, it is a part of ORM and works in tandem with each other. It is a continuous process and any flaws or shortcomings in either of the efforts will only be met with failure.

Topics: Online Reputation

Avinash Patil

Written by Avinash Patil