Chris Norton, Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) blogger and PR professional, shared his vision this week on how the latest Google update will impact how PR and digital marketing teams work. With Google Panda and Penguin sweeping the SEO headlines of late, Chris has shed some light on the positive, albeit challenging, opportunities these algorithm updates present.
The Panda update, announced in February 2011, was designed to return higher-quality sites near the top of search results. Similarly, April 2012’s Penguin update aims to decrease search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using ‘black hat’ SEO methods, such as keyword stuffing. This update was predicted to happen in the third or fourth quarter of 2013, but historically these have occurred earlier than initially expected.
This weekend will see a huge update take place, and SEO specialists across the country will be waiting to see exactly how this impacts on their work. The SEO team at Mackman very much agree with Chris’ thinking that this shift in emphasis presents an opportunity for brands to re-focus their digital marketing activity around what their audiences want to read/learn/buy/do on their website.
Google is raising the bar when it comes to how it judges quality, relevant content and is placing a far greater emphasis on the needs of people and the importance of relationships. In light of these changes, a strategic use of social media is proving more powerful than ever. Chris quotes Sitepoint.com and says, “Sharing of content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Delicious, LinkedIn, MySpace and Google+ will be of the utmost importance. Social media popularity will, in a way, decide the fate of a site, as far as Google is concerned.”
So, what does this mean for businesses now? Chris highlights the opportunity to invest in quality PR to up your social media profile as an ongoing part of your communications plan. PR can create long term relationships and results, perhaps not as instantly as paid search, but they are arguably more sustainable. He says, “The future of search is relationships, not links, and the guardians of relationships have always been PR professionals.”
Paul Mackman, director, says “This vision falls in line with the emphasis we put on creating engaging websites that are led by a solid content strategy and offer long term added value for their audiences.”