The activities of a reputation management company do share some similarities with the activities of SEO companies. However, the focus of each type of company is somewhat different.
An SEO company is generally concerned with getting one website—your primary business website—to rank well in Google. If they can get you to number 1 you have a good chance of getting phone calls and making sales, all else being equal. To this end they will spend a lot of time promoting and building that single site. If they are also local SEO specialists they will spend the rest of the time trying to promote your Google+ Local listing.
A reputation management company may certainly do things which would, as a side effect, push your primary website higher in the SERPs. However, a reputation management company is also concerned about how other websites are ranking: websites that are talking about you and your business. Thus, they take a much broader view of your place in the SERPs.
Building a Complete Web Presence
Reputation management requires you to be present all over the web. An SEO is primarily concerned with creating backlinks for your website, but a reputation manager will work on creating entries on other sites such as profiles or news stories which can show up in the search results to create a virtual firewall of positive entries around your company.
Some of these efforts will never promote your primary web page directly. They’ll just contribute to your overall credibility and the strength of your good name.
Removing Negative Content
SEO companies usually aren’t specialists in the art of negative content removal. A defamatory forum post that blasts your company may even be seen as a positive if it includes a link to your site and the forum has a high enough page rank. A SEO specialist is all about building your brand and marketing your business to be sure, but “content removal” just isn’t a big part of that paradigm.
A reputation management company knows what to say and how to say it to get that content taken down if at all possible. This can be very important to preserving the health of your business.
Which Should You Choose?
Having worked for both types of companies I can tell you that it’s not a bad idea to plan on using both of them. They’re simply better at different things. One brands and markets your business, the other handles and prevents crisis. In today’s climate, both functions are necessary to ensure the health and survival of your business.
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