The Next Best Thing for PR? A Look at Google's New Updates
Earlier this month Google issued an update that would affect "any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results" as these "may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines."
No big secret that Google has been hard at work to promote the creation of excellent content - this is something Google has been working on for a long time with various updates to its algorithm that benefit those who take the time to create good content and penalizes those who try to 'game the system'. What did take everyone by surprise, however, was the fact that Google would now be including "links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites". That is to say, those who used distribution services for their press releases would now need to tag any internal links within the text as No-Follow to avoid being penalized.
I don't want to say that people freaked, but I will say it was big news and I've since noticed more "check-in" calls from the various PR groups that we work with. These groups are hard at work explaining to their customers that this update does not in fact mean an end to PR. It only means a return to good PR. I don't envy them in these weeks but I do think it gives them a good opportunity to communicate and reconnect with customers. Let's call it a new opportunity, then.
The bottom line of the Google update is that Public Relations always has been and should continue to base itself on good storytelling, that means something to audiences and is focused on something they would care to hear about.
What does this mean for agencies like Outlier and our clients?
Simply put, the death of the SEO press release only means a return to good media relations, highly targeted outreach, and the ability to understand and share our clients' stories with the world in a way that is meaningful. It means challenging ourselves to go the extra mile to do it right. I don't think anyone would argue that a challenge is a bad thing. It's only, well, more challenging than the alternative.
--Written by Kathleen Martin