Google, in a new patent, came up with a system that is supposed to take a reference or mention of anything and count it as a link without an express link being present. How that works exactly is a bit fuzzy, but it led Christopher Penn, a leading social media and digital marketing expert, to declare that “PR is the new SEO”.
So what exactly does this all mean? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is based mainly on keywords and backlinks. Keywords are descriptions of products. They are the way your site gets “nailed” in search results. The Hummingbird algorithm implemented by Google recently favours natural language. For example, while some people would search for “Toronto boutique PR agency”, the Google machine is more equipped to answer a question, such as “how do I find a PR agency in Toronto?”
Then there are the backlinks, which are links from any other place (blog, publication, etc.) leading to your own website. Your site being linked from forums, blogs and other websites was considered a testimony of worth and credibility, giving you higher ranking. Then there came the “link farms” where tons of fake backlinks were generated - a practice that thrived until Google cracked down on them hard. Now only high quality backlinks will work.
Those “kosher” backlinks will remain a good source of ranking, regardless of how the new Google patent works. If a Toronto Star reporter publishes a story about a client of ours with a link to their website, it will serve as great quality backlink, boosting your company site.
Then What is the Connection of all this to PR?
What this new patent seems to mean is that a mere mention of a brand name will be as beneficial as having a backlink. Again, we really hope that Google understands how this will work (because nobody else seems to), but if it does, it will definitely boost a brand’s ranking in search engines just by regular PR.
If this is correct, then it will add tremendous value to all brand stories told by PR agencies such as ours. In this new setting, beneficial media coverage will promote positive brand awareness while additionally boosting a company’s Google search rating, essentially granting your Toronto boutique PR agency some serious SEO powers.
Now before we all get too excited, we have to add our own belief is that while obvious benefits will be gained by this, PR is definitely not going to turn into “the new SEO”. It will undoubtedly make a strong case to invest in PR, in addition to digital marketing, making those two strategies an essential mix for any brand’s marketing. Up until now PR was considered “optional” by some brands, while SEO was seen as a necessity. With this on the horizon, PR is definitely a must.
Regardless of how this ends up working, it still means good news for Toronto boutique PR agencies like ours who focus on generating positive, meaningful news for their clients online. All of our work concentrates on telling our clients’ brands stories and making their name be heard. If this is also going to help SEO ranking, all the better!