June 23, 2014
Google Update to Have Profound Effect on the Way Some PR Agencies Work
The fallout from Google’s latest search engine algorithm update, Google Panda 4.0, continues unabated. The newswies have been the most recent casualty to emerge from this latest “content update” that targets content Google perceives to be ‘low quality and thin’. According to research conducted by Barry Schwartz, PRWeb, PR Newswire, Business Wire and PRLog lost between 60% to 85% of their SEO visibility overnight! These latest statistics show that the update is likely to have a particularly profound effect on the way some PR agencies work in terms of how they distribute news.
Getting PR RightAs a technology public relations professional having press releases considered ‘spammy’ is obviously something to avoid. But on closer inspection, many press releases really do not contain anything that a journalist or a customer would find useful. For such releases the only chance of seeing any publication is via a newswire service. However, if that just means they end up on the newswire website rather than being used by journalists is that really achieving the objective? Especially if such tactics don’t even contribute to SEO. Don’t get us wrong – newswires have their place but, like any other channel, they are only as good as the content they carry. And for a B2B technology company, that content needs to be created by technology PR professionals that can understand and clearly communicate what is important about even the most complex products and services in language that both editors and customers find useful. Once the content is created, it is not enough to rely only on wire services for distribution. Many editors in the technical and trade press, for example, don’t subscribe to these services and prefer to receive information that is matched to their specific requirements., That’s why I was drawn to working at an agency like Pinnacle, where significant time and resource has been invested into developing and maintaining accurate, targeted contact lists that cover every segment of the technology arena, including electronics, engineering, telecoms, defence and life sciences.
These lists have a number of advantages: we actually know who we are sending press releases to and can tailor messages based on the needs of individual journalists. It also means we can quickly identify suitable media for a given topic and go beyond the press release – for example by working with relevant media outlets to publish more in-depth articles. In-depth articles deliver the ‘double whammy’ of giving the reader much more information than could be found in a simple press release while making a positive contribution to SEO by satisfying Google’s requirement for longer, more in-depth materials. Even niche media sites tend to rank strongly in Google and, as I wrote in a previous blog on the Pinnacle website, even if they don’t provide direct links back to your website, they still provide some powerful link juice to your search engine optimisation efforts. Other than ensuring you are creating the right content for journalists and editors and distributing it in the most efficient way, what else does the update mean for the public relations and marketing communications professional?