SEO and the Written Word

19 05 2009

In the rush to populate web copy with keywords the most important thing is sometimes forgotten.  The copy needs to well written, lively, interesting and relevant.  It is astonishing how often this is forgotten in the charge to upload text that will rank highly in Google.   

Engaging content can have a direct impact on search engine rankings and consequently on traffic.   Some websites sacrifice the need for good written content because their search engine optimisation advisors have influenced key words and their placement in the text to such an extent that the site no longer informs or entertains.

What this process fails to acknowledge is that the quality of the content is critical to receiving high rankings, because it will affect the number of pages viewed and the stickyness of the site.   Crafting words is a core skill for the majority of PR people.  We also need to consider how to deliver quality content in all of its other forms – still images, audio and video.  Whilst using the agency or in-house digital camera is useful for the old application for important work we will still tend to use a professional photographer.  The same should apply for audio and video content. 

Words still lie at the heart of all of this.  The right words will bring audiences but in the the wrong alignment they will drive them away, perhaps never to return.





The Marriage of Search and PR

9 02 2009

1 + 1 = 1 by Grrrega. “Google is not a search engine. Google is a reputation-management system, and that’s one of the most powerful reasons so many CEOs have become more transparent: Online, your rep is quantifiable, findable, and totally unavoidable. In other words, radical transparency is a double-edged sword, but once you know the new rules, you can use it to control your image in ways you never could before.”    These were the sage like words of Clive Thompson in a piece called the ‘The See-Through CEO’ in Wired. March 2007. He identified a major new challenge for the PR industry; the need to consider and deliver against the results of relevant search.

Many forms of PR related content are starting to rank highly in search.  Social networks have become important in terms of creating searchable and relevant content. Considering the increasing importance of public relations generated content we now need to deliver that content in a way that is itself optimised for search. The public relations industry needs to start adopting some of the techniques of search engine optimisation or SEO. For example the type of language that we use in our written output needs to use terms more likely to be used when our audiences are using search engines. We must avoid complex or convoluted terms and phrases that in the past have been favoured by some branding campaigns to more straightforward and descriptive terminology that will raise our search rankings.

The need for this and the positive results are becoming increasingly clear. Properly used editorial content can push web sites to the top of Google search rankings without spending a penny on traditional SEO.

 





How PR Became Key to Google Ranking

2 02 2009

Content that ranks highly in a Google search is de facto going to have more hits and more value.  PR practitioners have to consider how digital PR supports good search rankings.   

Early searches relied on the information provided by the website itself In the form of tags or keywords.  Content providers could manipulate this system and search engines had to improve the way that they found information or searching would become more and more unreliable.  Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin created a search engine technique based on formulas that measured links from one website to another.   This was the basis for Google.   

The search engine optimisation (SEO) business started to find ways to manipulate this new form of search and SEO became an important part of digital marketing.  High rankings have a commercial value and there will always be a tension between SEO business and the function of search engines.  SEO techniques are regarded as being either good design that search engines approve of (white hat) or they are ‘black hat’ attempts to trick search engines into providing a high rank.  This can lead to sites being banned and some major international companies like  BMW  have been accused of black hat SEO leading to temporary bans by Google.

In May 2007 Google introduced a radical change to the system by introducing the concept of  “Universal Search” which blends listings from its news, video, images, local and book search engines with those gathered from web crawlers.    News for example works differently in universal search and results are combined other search results.  This elevates the importance of news stories in the search rankings for any commercial organisation.  PR has always been concerned with delivering news so from that point the publc relations business acquired a new importance.  PR became vital to long term success with Google and other search engines.





Searching for a White Christmas

8 12 2008

tree-snow-shadow

In additions to the posts here at PR & the Social Web, which is a companion blog for my forthcoming book  ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ , I have been blogging for a few months at ‘PR Media Blog’ the quasi-official blog for PR Agency Staniforth, which is where I work. 

I have just posted there on the subject of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the role for editorial content.  In particular I looked at the impact of relevant calendar based content that might be likely to attract vistors via search engines, hence the reference to  a White Christmas. 

Rather than repeat the blog in full here you might want to visit http://pr-media-blog.co.uk/white-christmas-should-do-it.   It is a PR blog but it also covers lots of other things too.  There are observations, opinions and comment on anything and everything that touches on PR and the media.    If you don’t have time now, just type PR Blog into Google – it should be there around number one or two.








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