Well Google has revamped again… and many are calling it the demise of Public Relations.
Is Google’s new algorithm update the death knell for PR agencies?
As IMI’s new Director of Public Relations, I couldn’t disagree more. Google’s new changes to the Webmaster Tools regarding the manipulation of PageRank only strengthens agencies that have been doing public relations properly. And the lazy agencies that rely on wire distribution and RSS will have to own up and take a refresher from Dr. Glen Broom.
The reality of what everyone is up in arms about is only one small (but important) piece of the public relations tool kit – the online press release and distribution. Google’s new rules regarding anchor text, over-use of keywords and the same link used repeatedly touch on the distribution of the content. So for every agency that touts that they are getting your release hundreds of hits (most likely from throwing it on a wire service), there is an agency that has developed a sound comms strategy, created content, rolled up their sleeves, pulled out their rolodex (that card spinny thing with names and phone numbers), directly contacted outlets and a story was published.
As a practitioner, I pride myself when a journalist can use my work verbatim. But the real proof of a PR agency or practitioner’s prowess is in the story. I add in links from clients to relevant material that an outlet can use to develop their coverage. Does it link back to the client’s web presence? Well, YEAH… that would be the best source of information. Am I using the client’s keywords so that their information can be found by the crawler when that story gets published? I wouldn’t be earning my fee if I didn’t.
Remember that the two terms are public and relation(ship). How are you building a relationship with your client’s public if you spray and pray? Short answer – you aren’t. Distribution and pitch are symbiotic. Once the release hits the streets, the real work begins. Algorithm has nothing to do with that. Relationships have to do with that. The value of the relationship far exceeds the the value of an RSS pick-up. Where relationship intersects with the story is the sweet spot where amazing public relations happens.
Ultimately if the content – be it press release, blog post or social update – isn’t compelling, there won’t be a story to tell or retell. If you are looking to your PR agency to be your only SEO strategy, I’d like to introduce you to my colleague Benj Arriola.