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There can often be a confusion of terms in search engine marketing. Many people seem to think reputation management and SEO are one in the same. They’re really not. While reputation management does often involve search engine optimization, SEO is not necessarily reputation management.

Here’s what I mean:

Your online reputation is an aggregation of all the things that you and other people say about your online. Good and bad. Many times, comments made by and about you are search engine optimized and rise in the rankings. When they do more people will see them. But someone can say something about you – again, good or bad – and not use SEO techniques, which will likely just land those comments in a vacuum.

By the same token, just because you’ve SEOd your website and caused it to rise to the most prominent positions in the search results doesn’t mean that you’ve done an adequate reputation management job. If you target the keyword “blue widget”, for example, because that’s what you sell, then you are not necessarily affecting your reputation by ranking well for that key term. Someone searching for “blue widget” will find your website if you rank high enough, but they may not know you from Adam. On the other hand, if they search for you by name they may not find your “blue widget” page.

So you can see, SEO and reputation management are not the same. They are both necessary, but the approach for tackling each is different. Treat them that way.

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