What is SERM? – Main Features, Pros and Cons

Vesselin Malev
Vesselin Malev
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SERM is the management of reputation in search engines. This is a set of measures aimed at creating a positive image of the company/brand/person/goods at the top of search results. This includes increasing the amount of positive content and displacing the negative content from the first positions in search results (usually beyond the top 20 - to the third page of search engines).


In other words, SERM reputation management consists of working through the first pages of search engines. Sites with a positive reputation are moved up in search results, and pages and sites with a negative reputation are pushed out. As a result, people don't see negative reviews and denigrating information when searching for targeted queries. This is achieved through competent PR actions, hidden marketing, SEO-promotion, and ORM activity.

Features of SERM

SERM reputation management implies control of company's mentions with a focus on the sites of the first pages of search results. Managed sites are usually promoted to the first positions - it is easier to set the right tone and vector for discussions there.

As in the case of ORM, the effectiveness of SERM-events makes sense only in conjunction with the solution of problems "on the ground". Even if SERM specialists work qualitatively and push the negative about your company beyond the top, it will eventually return if the causes of its appearance are not dealt with.

SERM management is also used to build the image of specific services or products. By listening to conversations between your managers and their "off" clients you'll understand exactly what's stopping them, what's bothering them, what's incomprehensible. Using this data, you can effectively adjust your marketing strategy for a particular product, cross-engage your audience, and increase sales. It will also make SERM and ORM activities more effective.

Another feature of SERM marketing is poly-targeting. Search results are checked in multiple directions - not just pure branded queries, but also multiple targeted combinations. This approach gives greater control over a company's reputation field in the top 20.

Pros of SERM

Pros of Searching Engine Reputation Management are:

  • Building a positive company reputation in the first positions of search results - the first thing a potential customer sees when searching for you online;
  • Neutralization of negative brand in search results;
  • Identification of problems with service/products.

A separate advantage of SERM management: actions are aimed at users who are at the last stage of the sales funnel. The man is interested specifically in you, your product. And if the first pages of Google and Yandex you have an impeccable reputation, this client is yours.

Cons of SERM

SERM is the more effective the faster a bad brand background is replaced by a good one. Real customers can be encouraged to write positive reviews, but it's a long process. And custom reviews can alienate potential customers.

SERM is only effective in conjunction with ORM. Working separately on the top of search results, while ignoring other aspects of online reputation management - the way to nowhere. Therefore, SERM should be regarded only as an element of creating a company's image in the ORM, this technology by itself - not a panacea.

The first pages of search results are dynamic - even if you have worked through the "today's" top 20, after a while the leading positions can be infiltrated by sites with a negative image. Perhaps as early as tomorrow. That's why SERM requires constant analysis of rereputation, it's not a one-time event, just like ORM.

The Difference Between ORM and SERM

ORM – Online Reputation Management.

SERM – Search Engine Reputation Management.

While both SERM and ORM focus on online reputation management, they are fundamentally different: SERM activity is aimed primarily at the top search engines while ORM-activity is aimed at controlling online reputation in general, without a focus on the top 20 search engines.

Thus, SERM is a special case of ORM. But ORM tools are also sometimes used to perform SERM. These two marketing tools are most effective in tandem. For example, working through only searching engines reputation in SERM, you can lose sight of the authority profile resources - forums, thematic communities. As a result, even the ideal top Yahoo and Google only create visibility. For some customers it will work, but for those who have been sitting for years on the "missed" forums - no. Is it reasonable to lose profits?

And vice versa - if you deal only with specific sites in the ORM, ignoring SERM and the situation on the first pages of the search, the company's reputation on the Internet will improve only locally. And the majority of customers come through search engines. Therefore, effective management of online reputation is to combine ORM and SERM.

Vesselin Malev

Vesselin Malev

Content Creator

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I love researching, organizing data, and learning about all things crypto – from cryptography and blockchain technology to DeFi, NFTs, metaverse, launchpads, Web 3.0, and more.

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