Christmas comes early for PR, in the form of Google Patent US 8,682,892

"Can you get me a link? Can you call the journalist who wrote that article and tell them to link to our website? It'd be really good for SEO."

You can split the businesses we come across into two camps. Around 95% of them see PR as a tool for strengthening brand credibility. These clients proudly flag up every press mention on their websites and social media, show articles off to potential investors and flex their muscles as spokespeople for entire industries.

But there have been a few (none that we currently work with, mind) who only indulge in PR as an SEO exercise. They want links above all else. And then, when they realise that doesn’t always happen, they leave and start ploughing money into pay per click instead.

It’s easy to see why of course. The ROI of PR is far more ethereal than advertising or marketing and so the PR industry is always having to justify its worth – usually to marketeers.

Trouble is, if we spent all day hassling journos for links, they’d stop talking to us. And having been on the receiving end of PR calls for links (ex web reporter for I wouldn’t blame them.

In my last blog post I mentioned that Google is starting to look at citations (what it calls ‘implied links’) as well as hyperlinks. And here’s the proof: Google Patent US 8,682,892.

Get it? Nope, neither do we. But this is VERY important… trust us, we’re in PR

This document will make you go cross eyed but, fortunately, it’s been carefully picked apart by Christopher Penn on the Business 2 Community website so have a read of THIS.

We asked our SEO expert, Brett Dixon, founder of DP Online Marketing, for his thoughts on this.

He said: "Many of us in this industry have suspected this has been happening for a long time to varying degrees. It seems logical: not everyone is going to link to a source but they may reference them as an ‘implied link’, so by Google not using this they are essentially not recognising or understanding the source of a given piece of information.

"I give it a few months before the SEO community try and spam the sh*t out of it, but it shouldn’t matter, because authoritative sites such as the Guardian aren’t going to be mentioning anybody without good reason – and lower quality sites will not have any / much weight so the benefit would likely be negligible. All this means PR is going to become an integral part of online marketing, as it is offline marketing."

Emily Garnham is managing director at Rhizome PR

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