TAMPA, FLORIDA — Rebecca Scully, managing director at the public relations agency Smarts wrote an interesting post on The Guardian’s website recently about the future of search engine optimization, public relations and content marketing.
She referenced Google’s recent updates that no longer give value to links from article and press release distribution sites, a topic I wrote about on this blog recently.
Scully and I agree on several issues. We disagree on one item in her article. I’m tackling that item in this post.
She says we should be asking ourselves whether Google has “killed all PR and SEO agencies.” I find that question ludicrous. Of course it hasn’t killed PR and SEO agencies. Not the good ones, at least.
If your company has a website, there are still “best practices” in terms of making your site easily recognized by Google that a quality SEO company can incorporate for you. There still are unscrupulous SEO firms that try to get away with black-hat SEO techniques, and unfortunately, companies still get victimized by them. When that happens, businesses still must turn to experienced SEO companies such as Millionairium to get the black-hat garbage removed from a website and the white-hat techniques implemented.
As the founder of the public relations agency Lorrie Walker Communications, I can tell you Google’s updates haven’t changed my business one iota. I have rarely incorporated article and press release distribution sites into my clients’ public relations campaigns. It has always felt pointless. My goal for every client I work with rarely has included link building strategies. My goal typically has been to spread the word about their business or organization. My hope is that educating more people about what they do would increase their business.
How many of you have ever gone to an article or press release distribution website to search for information? I venture to guess that number is quite small. That’s because those of us who know about these sites know what they’re essentially all about: link building.
Do you think a reporter in search of a story goes to PRWeb or 24-7 Press Release and clicks around in hope of finding a juicy topic? What a joke. And don’t think for a second that having a distribution site send your press release to a specified list of media outlets is going to get you any coverage.
A universal truth is that there are no easy ways to gain links or garner media coverage. Google is finding those easy ways of link building and picking them off one by one because they’re unnatural. I believe its updates increase the quality of the information readily found online. That’s a good thing, friends.
I also believe another universal truth is on the horizon: opportunities for collaboration between SEO companies and PR agencies abound. As Scully mentions in her article, the high-authority sites that would provide link juice if a client’s site was linked on it are the same media outlets PR clients would love to be quoted in anyway.
Gaining a link from these sites is tough. There are no guarantees. But it’s certainly worth the attempt. Mary Kay Cosmetics Founder Mary Kay Ash used to say, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
That’s the approach that must be taken in link building campaigns these days. By incorporating public relations tactics, we can pitch great stories to media outlets. When those media outlets cover the story, they may include a link back to the client’s website. But even if they don’t, the client still has a great article in a high-authority publication that has the potential to be be read by thousands of people. The client may not get the link, but they certainly won’t turn up their noses at the recognition and potential to attract new business.