With Internet strategy becoming a routine part of companies' PR efforts, many agencies are taking advantage of the power of the search engine.
"Search engines have become a gold mine because you can target your audience at the peak of their interest," says Text 100 EVP Georg Kolb.
That's where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Search engines such as Google base their rankings on links to a Web site, as well as how often sites update their content. For smaller companies that aren't press release machines and have fairly static Web sites, one way to make sure companies appear at the top of those searches is to maintain a fairly active blog.
Kolb says Internet search is the way people gather information today, and there is no better time for a company to get in front of a potential buyer than when that person is in the frame of mind to find pertinent and relevant information.
"We're at a time when buyers have more information than sellers," says Doyle Albee, account director and new media practice director at Metzger Associates. "If you're ignoring search, then you're ignoring getting in front of buyers."
It's not enough to blog, though; companies need to use the right words. Kolb says many people don't search by a company's name, but instead tend to search by more generic words. Albee agrees and says blogs need to reflect trends and issues in the overall market.
Buyers of an MP3 player are more likely to enter terms such as "digital music" or "video downloads" than a specific player.
But Kolb warns against putting up a blog just to garner better SEO results. Companies need to find where they can make an impact on the discussion and need to understand the issues that are relevant.
"Many companies are still ingrained in the marketing thinking of pushing info out to audiences," he adds. "But this is about reaching customers at the peak of interest, when they are searching for relevant information online. No company can afford to miss this."
Active blogs can help improve companies' SEO efforts, placing them higher on a search engine's results
SEO can place a company in front of potential customers at the moment they search for information
Blogs must demonstrate insight of relevant trends and issues