Originally uploaded by PMerrilyn.
Okay, so not just Google, but MSN and Yahoo too. Alan Weinkrantz, a local PR blogger that I interviewed last month about the benefits of blogging for PR agencies, says, “My tags have become my Website.”
He means both the tags meant for Technorati that are at the end of posts on blogs, but moreover linking on keywords. Today in the Daily Dog, Greg Miller called this Google Relations.
I hope he doesn’t mind me borrowing the term, but I think that it is a good way to illustrate how important this is for those of us that work in public relations to understand. Today, many stakeholders and thought leaders (including the mainstream media) get their information primarily from searching on the Internet.
According to most experts I’ve talked with, the first 10 results in a search for a keyword are key to which sites will get the lion’s share of the traffic.
However, with the onslaught of Social Media applications, which search engines love, this can be accomplished without a lot of specialized help from search engine optimization experts. However, PR professionals have to understand the underlying principles of search.
For a humorous example of something called a Google Bomb, or an attempt to artificially get a high ranking on a specific term, you can read about a stunt pulled earlier this month by Stephen Colbert and his fans to get an idea of how Google works. I don’t recommend the stunt, but the concept of building the rank of your site organically is nicely illustrated.
The key is to become known for your keywords. To give you an idea, I went to my Google Analytics account to see what the top keywords were for Communication Overtones in the month of April (see above). I would suggest that you do the same for your websites and blogs to determine how people are finding you. Since 52 percent of all my traffic coming from Google (which I suspect holds true for most sites that have been around for awhile), it pays to know how people are finding you and then to build appropriate content to reinforce certain keywords.
This post was inspired by Todd Defren, who today asked on Twitter, “What do you think is the single biggest issue that PR agencies must face (or face up to) in the next 3 years? What's most relevant focus area?”
I said “search,” what do you say?