Digital Communications is challenging search engine optimisation

There was an interesting article (paywall) which appeared in the last edition of PR Week which underlined a number of points I have been making in pitches to new clients recently. The main one is that search engine optimisation (SEO) has changed and is continuing to change and although buying into link farms and using SEO specific companies still works to a certain extent there is now a new kid on the block for getting high rankings on Google and that is using digital communications effectively.
In fact, the head of Google’s webspam team Matt Cutts issues a warning within the piece: ‘Buying or selling links that bypass (Google’s) PageRank (system) violates our webmaster guidelines. If a webmaster buys or sells links for the purpose of manipulating search engine rankings, we reserve the right to protect the quality of our index.’
Gaylene Ravenscroft, head of digital at Hill & Knowltonadds her point about the importance of social media: ‘Bloggers are becoming so crucial they underline PR’s importance as an integral part of the communications mix,’ she says.

The article itself makes some more interesting points – which I will let you digest yourself. However, it highlights a campaign by Volkswagen Commercial which it claims was successful. The campaign included targeting bloggers with press releases and essentially spamming them. This is not how we would advise our clients to go about their communications.

Social media companies and specialist public relations agencies should be advising their clients to engage in the social element, not in press release spamming, as the blogging community can often find this intrusive and you could do your brand/company more damage than good.
Simon Collister another public relations blogger has also written an interesting post on this article with his views – basically damning the use of spam as a communications tactic. I mean who really likes receiving spam these days anyway – I certainly don’t and I blog.
The article rounds off by making the final point: “So, if any traditional PR agency is dragging its feet on digital PR it may soon find its clients are not only considering other PR agencies for their digital work but also extending the remit for search agencies beyond web optimisation and into digital PR. Once Google toughens up, companies will be begging PR agencies to help.”

Cross posted on: Wolfstar

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