Changes to Google’s search algorithm in the last 18 months or so, combined with Google+ and Author Rank – have created an opportunity ideally suited to the skills of the public relations industry.
Google+ was followed in April 2012 by a second change to the Google search algorithm called Penguin. This removed sites that had built their authority by building low quality spam links.
The rationale behind these improvements is that Google wants to deliver relevant search results based on human trust and authority – using links to determine this trust and authority in the past was only a proxy for the real thing – incorporating social signals and assigning trust and authority of content based on people rather than a link is the way forward.
This has created an opportunity for both brands and individuals. The challenge for brands is that it ties content to individuals rather than organizations.
But that’s also a great opportunity to help brands build personalities. As a public relations practitioner, you need to jump onto Google+ if you aren’t already and wherever possible ensure that that content that you create on the web has an author tag.
Organizations need to implement Google+ sharing and implement author tags on their sites and start building relationship with their audience directly online.
There are still PR managers and organizations that think social media is not for everyone. It’s time consuming and a difficult to measure and accounts seemingly regularly hacked.
However, even if your organization is not ready for its own social media channels, online monitoring and listening will most certainly enhance your communications through direct market feedback from consumers and influencers in your market.
This will help your company identify issues early on and address them before they turn into crises – or more prominently feature in traditional media and broadcast.