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What is SERM?

SERM: how to establish a reputation in the Network


SERM - Search Engine Reputation Management is reputation management in search engines.
In other words, it is a set of actions to create a positive image about a brand or person on the Internet or to correct an existing picture.
SERM service appeared on the market not so long ago, but quickly became very popular. The fact is that on the Internet, users often express opinions and leave reviews, but not all of them reflect reality. At the same time, all these reviews affect the brand's reputation. Therefore, it is important to monitor what is being written about you on the Internet, to filter these opinions, and, if necessary, to form a reputation about yourself. In case of inaction, the search results may alienate potential customers. After all, before making an order, a person turns to the network for reviews.These may be response sites like IRecommend.ru, reviews on Yandex.Maps and Google Maps, on marketplaces and many other sites.
Everything that the customer finds on the Internet will affect his decision to purchase a product or choose a service. Reviews and reviews of products, discussions on forums, discussion threads in Yandex. Q and Answers are the components of the foundation on which the brand's image and reputation in the network are built.


What is SERM


Now let's analyze in detail what SERM is.
Almost every one of us reads reviews on the Internet before buying a product or service. We choose where the price is nicer, the pick-up point is closer and find out how long the couriers will bring us purchases. 
If something is confusing, just go ahead and choose another store. This simple example shows how the presence of negative reviews about a company / brand spoils the reputation, which means it reduces conversion and profit. 
Often customers find reviews on search engines such as Yandex or Google.
Global statistics of search engine distribution:

Statistics for Russia, according to Yandex:

Customers enter the name of the company / brand + the word “reviews" into the search bar and study the first page of the search results. Only 25% of users (according to the version https://www.webfx.com /) goes to the second search page.
Therefore, it is important to track the results of the first search page, and if necessary, take additional measures - use SERM technology.
SERM works with search results, its task is to change these results, as well as to create a positive image of the company / brand on the first pages of search engines.
SERM is often confused with ORM. Remember what exactly is the difference between SERM and ORM:
  • ORM (Online Reputation Management) is a global, comprehensive reputation management on the Internet and on various resources: in the social. networks, in feedback, on forums in discussion branches, etc.
  • SERM is a part of the ORM complex that specializes exclusively in reputation in search engines. For example, such as Yandex and Google.


Goals and objectives


  • Removing negative results from search results
  • Creating and promoting positive content
  • Creating new pages with reliable information about the brand or company
  • Promotion to the TOP 10 existing pages
  • To summarize, the SERM technology consists in: 
  • Crowding out negative results by promoting positive ones
  • Processing of existing negativity in the output, namely writing positive reviews and comments
  • Creating and pinning pages with information about a brand or product in the TOP 10.


What benefits does SERM provide


  • Creates a positive reputation, forms the image of a company, brand, product or person
  • Increases the level of loyalty/trust of the audience, which leads to an increase in conversions and sales
  • Creates an attractive HR image, allows you to hire more professional staff
  • Protects against competitors' information attacks
  • Demonstrates the weaknesses of the product and processes feedback from customers
  • Ensures the investment attractiveness of the company


What happens if you don't use SERM


  • There is a high probability of losing new customers who make a purchase decision based on information from response sites ;
  • Incomplete or incorrect presentation of information about the customer's activities or its absence; 
  • Loss of trust of current customers. Negative information about the company can be widely disseminated;
  • The ability for competitors to manage reputation instead of the client; 
  • Investments in advertising may be wasted, as the company's activities will not be covered in the best way.


Disadvantages of working with SERM


  • SERM doesn't work well enough without ORM;
  • Large amount of work and high cost of service;
  • The guarantee of saving the results only with constant support, since the output is dynamic.


Who is the SERM service suitable for


  • Companies that launch a new product or service;
  • Companies with a lack of consumer demand;
  • Companies that have been subjected to an information attack;
  • Companies caught in the middle of a marketing scandal.


Page Promotion: How SEO differs from SERM


The direction of reputation marketing arose due to the fact that search engine algorithms and their *SERP (Search Engine Result Position, that is, this is the search results page) can be manipulated. Using a number of methods, you can influence the ranking and positions of specific sites.
These methods and technologies are well known to SEO specialists who promote sites in search engines by improving the ranking factors of the site.
SERM technology is based on the same principles - on understanding how search algorithms work, how they rank sites and how to improve the ranking factors of a site in order to promote it to the TOP.
It is possible to distinguish the main categories of ranking factors that SERM technology works with:
  • referential - the number and quality of external links to the site;
  • behavioral - clicks and transitions from the search, as well as user behavior on the site;
  • technical - errors in the operation of the site, loading speed, adaptability, etc.;
  • content - the quality of the text, its optimization for key queries.
  • It is important to understand the fundamental feature of SERM, which distinguishes it from SEO. 
  • At SERM, we are working on simultaneous promotion to the top of several sites at once.
  • And we are also limited by a set of ranking factors that can be influenced to promote the site.
For example, we are not able to influence the technical or content ranking factors of someone else's site, because for this you need to own the site and have access to it.
Conclusion: SERM technology is based on a basic understanding of SEO, it allows you to get the desired output, in conditions of limited opportunities to influence ranking factors.


All about response sites


An important component of the SERM method is working with existing negative results. More precisely, the impact on those sites where negative content can be “replaced” with positive. In most cases, these are response sites.
That's what working out the negativity on the response sites is all about:
  • Gradual placement of positive reviews;
  • Responses to the authors of negative reviews from a company representative;
  • Removing negative reviews.
The main obstacle here is the strict moderation of reviews. In order for the review to pass it, you need to take into account several important points:
  • The quality and naturalness of the text;
  • Technically competent review placement;
  • Frequency and plan of publication of reviews.
Conclusion: it is easier and cheaper to work out the negative on the page and make the page positive than to remove it from the output.



Creating new pages and analyzing them


Another equally important component in the work of SERM is the creation of new content islands. In simple words, we are talking about creating new pages with information about a product or brand.
There are many sites on the Internet that differ in type and subject matter.
For SERM tasks, the most effective types of pages can be identified, they are created and promoted the best. Among them are:
  • articles/publications;
  • social network profiles;
  • satellite sites;
  • discussion threads;
  • cards on the callback;
  • blogs are platforms.
To understand which content island needs to be created and whether it will have a chance to reach the top, it is necessary to analyze the search results.
First, it is necessary to determine which types of content islands are found most often in the top and which types of islands are not in the output. Secondly, it is necessary to analyze the average and median indicators of sites with a high ranking rating:
  • What is their X (Yandex site quality index);
  • How big is the site, what is its index;
  • Age;
  • How big is their link profile.
The idea is that our content island fits into the output by type and corresponds to a number of indicators, that is, it is similar to those sites that are already in the top.
For example, in the output, all sites with articles have a minimum text volume of 5000 characters and an average * X 1000, therefore, the same requirements should be made for a new island-article. If the island does not match them, then the article will not be published in the top.
Conclusion: the search results contain information about which islands and what content it needs. It is important to be able to recognize this and take it into account in the strategy.


SERM Stages


  1. Selection of the semantic core of queries - work will take place on these search queries;
  2. Collection and analysis of output data for semantic core queries;
  3. Strategy development based on analysis;
  4. Implementation of the strategy, achievement of the result.


Stage 1. How to select semantic core queries


Any SERM project starts from this stage. First of all, you need to choose the right queries for which work will be carried out.
SERM needs a semantic core with the most important information and reputation key queries. These are the ones that users enter in the search bar to study information about the company on the Internet (*the intent of which involves searching for information about the company or its product).
For a long time, Sidorin Lab experts have classified the most popular categories of information and reputation requests. They are most often used:
  1. requests + reviews: "apple reviews"
  2. requests + reviews + hr: "apple staff"
  3. General brand inquiries: "apple", "microsoft", “tesla”
  4. grocery queries: "apple ipad", "apple iphone", "apple smart watch"
  5. requests + the reason: "tesla accident"
  6. inquiries about persons: “Elon musk”
An important caveat: you should not choose requests that have negative markers (such as: divorce, exposure, compromising, etc.), because the context of these requests is negative and suggests the presence of negativity on the first lines of the issue. Unfortunately, they will not be able to remove negative results.


Stage 2. Tools and services for analysis


Tasks of this stage:
  • Collect and analyze the results of the issuance, determine positive, negative and neutral results.
  • To see the picture in macro and micro formats, to determine the features of sites in the first positions, to find patterns of output. 
  • Assume which pages to promote, which islands to create.
  • To assume which methods of promotion will be profitable and effective in a particular case.

What tools should I use?
  • https://wordstat.yandex.ru / Yandex.Wordstat - the official source of Yandex keyword statistics. It is used to search for brand reputation queries and collect semantic core.
  • https://arsenkin.ru/tools/check-top / - a tool for collecting data/output results.
  • https://checktrust.ru / is a tool for analyzing sites by a variety of factors.
  • Other useful analytical services that are needed: 
  • https://promopult.ru /, https://tools.pixelplus.ru /, https://arsenkin.ru/tools / - multifunctional tools
  • https://ru.megaindex.com / , https://ahrefs.com / - link analytics
  • https://www.keys.so /, https://serpstat.com / - search query analytics


Stage 3. A good strategy


SERM implies not only the placement of reviews. There are still a lot of methods that make up the SERM strategy.
In total , there are 5 main areas of work:
  • Work to consolidate the existing controlled content islands (official website and official social networks);
  • Working with the current negative, changing the tone of the page;
  • Creation and promotion of new positive and controlled content islands;
  • Displacement of the existing negative by promoting the existing positive;
  • Removing negative pages that cannot be removed from the output.
Each good strategy is individual and is created on the basis of the analysis of the issue. The strategy includes the necessary set of methods that are suitable for achieving the task.


Stage 4. What is important to consider when implementing. Conclusion


  • The result can be obtained only after 4-8 months;
  • Some methods may not produce results, so it is worth reviewing strategies.;
  • SERM includes many options for working with reputation (monitoring, working out comments, negotiating with platforms, working with the media). Experimenting and changing plans is normal;
  • This is an expensive service. However, full-fledged work with the agency is likely to bear fruit, unlike cooperation with experts that promise quick results.


SERM and ORM - differences


If you were interested in the mechanics of SERM or read about reputation management on the Internet, you saw the abbreviation ORM, which hides a full-fledged set of works on reputation management. And, of course, customers are interested in what is the difference between these two services.
The main task of ORM is to control the appearance of reputational risks, identify and reflect negative stuffing, distribute content online to form brand loyalty, support PR goals and fuel interest in marketing campaigns. The complex provides for all areas of formation and protection of a positive image for a brand, service or individual.
SERM is a narrower specialty, which is mainly aimed at improving the top search results for a company's search query. You can purchase a full reputation support package, or you can use point SERM techniques.


Who needs SERM


Due to the fact that many users on the Internet constantly write reviews, comments, posts and leave reviews, it is necessary to maintain a reputation on the web not only for large brands and international companies, but also for public people. We propose to analyze this question in more detail – who needs SERM?
  1. Brand and company, if:
  • Competitors create a negative information environment around your brand, specifically write negative reviews;
  • There is unreliable or outdated information about the company on the Internet;
  • The search results contain negative reviews and brand mentions.
2. Products and services, if:
  • It is necessary to make adjustments to the positioning;
  • We need to increase the loyalty of the audience;
  • The product or services are presented in a negative way.
3. To a public person, if:
  • You are building an image from scratch and you need positive feedback to start;
  • You have suffered reputational losses and need to restore your image;
  • You need to adjust your personal brand or completely update it.


The benefits of using CRM


As we have already noted, SERM support helps to improve the image, reduce reputational risks, and also solve a number of financial and retail tasks, because SERM is primarily a tool for increasing sales.
SERM specialists will help:
  • Retain customers and attract new ones;
  • To warm up interest in the brand and services;
  • To inform users about new products;
  • Show your sales channels to the audience;
  • Stimulate sales growth;
  • Raise the amount of the average check;
  • Expand sales markets;
  • Increase the overall loyal audience.
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