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Search and Brand Truth

August 10, 2013

Tom Foremski has written an interesting series of posts about and implications of Google’s desire for search purity.

His net conclusion is that it’s going to force PR agencies to change their business model.

He states:

“Some commentators to my posts have said that PR agencies do more than create and distribute press releases. It’s true. But now that Google is looking for signals in many places, any form of paid promotion, guest posts, paid-for columns, paid-for Facebook friends, paid-for Twitter followers, etc, all have the potential to muddy the purity of its index, and Google hates that. That’s what scammers do. 

In Google’s world, there is no need to trick its index with PR and false signals of popularity. If you truly do have a better product, service, or mousetrap, Google will make sure that the world beats a path to your door.”

Tom suggests that PR is about playing with the truth and trying to trick Google into giving your brand a higher ranking, which clearly isn’t going to work anymore.

Here’s Tom’s explanation of what Google is up to…

It’s not just press releases. PR agencies increasingly create a lot of content for their clients ranging from guest posts, guest columns, to feature length articles. These are published in many different places, they contain links, and are designed to promote the client company. 

Any actions designed to improve a company’s PageRank is automatically flagged by Google and can result in a penalty.

Lots of links, lots of repeated key words, and multiple postings of a press release to different sites, are all red flags to Google under the new rules. Such actions are viewed by Google as blatant attempts to trick its algorithm into ranking a site higher than its allotted position. 

Yet these have all become standard practices at PR agencies.”

Surely, what applies for PR, also applies is some way for advertising?

We are now in a world where it’s so easy for consumers to find the real story behind the product and service, that it’s practically impossible to get away with faking it.

Ad agencies play a critical role in helping our clients make and deliver the best products and services they can.

So their brands remain dynamic, relevant and differentiated, we need to help them innovate.

We need to help them find the truth in their brands and find clever and interesting ways to bring that truth to life life,  which is also probably the new role of the PR agency!


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