Google likes to keep us PR pros on our toes.
Last year the big update to search results came through the “nuclear bomb” that was Panda 4.0. The age of the keyword was essentially over, and proper storytelling blogs and press releases were in. Many claimed that SEO was on its way out completely.
Recently, Google made even more changes. Though the advent of Panda 4.0 made press releases seem borderline useless, the search engine has now revalued them. There’s one big alteration, though, that changes the way savvy PR pros should use press releases. Here’s a look at the bad and good things that come with Google’s latest amendment to the SEO bible:
What’s the big change? To sum up: Though Google now thinks that press releases are hip and trendy again, it only cares when your business issues the release through its own channels. Those will be the only results users will find. You can send the press release to other venues (blogs, etc. who print them word for word), but those will be buried far away from the first page.
This means sending the release out to everyone on your email list won’t cut it anymore. While it does still get the word out and work well for word of mouth and social media purposes, it does little to nothing for Google searches.
This means you have to step up your game and take total responsibility of your promotion of the press releases you put out. You can’t rely on the “kindness of strangers” and your reporter friends anymore. If the onus has been on you up until now, it’s doubly so in this brave new world.
Let’s face it, you should be used to the promotion of your business being in your hands by now. This isn’t exactly a new trend, since we’ve all been publishers in the digital world for some time. It’s like getting mad at physical newspapers for vanishing and cutting you off from that venue. You either adapt or move on.
Now is your opportunity to use this change to its full potential. Being in charge of your narrative and destiny is exciting and should open you up to new ideas. Make sure your press release is engaging in every way. Use links to your website, videos, social media accounts, and graphics that not only keep the reader around but completes their experience.
Driving clicks and earning a solid reputation always comes back to one factor — people. This word of mouth and good will from the average person is now the focus moving forward. And ultimately those people are your customers, so why wouldn’t you want to concentrate on what they want to hear versus a random journalist?
Another proof this is the level of “noise” coming from brands will eventually diminish to where more companies will have a chance to be heard. Now your custom bird whistle company stands a chance to get noticed on Google over bigger companies flooding the market. If you’ve got a superstar press release writer on your staff, then your chances go up even more. This is a good thing.
Do you lean more on the pro or con side of this debate?
Mickie Kennedy is the founder of eReleases and author of “The Advanced Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases.”