PR pros won big earlier this week with Google’s surprise announcement that it now allows press releases to appear at the top of news links about a company. The change comes after the search giant quietly tweaked its algorithm back in September to help “users get the right answer at any "one time as quickly as possible,” according to a spokesperson.
Google’s validation of the press release as an official source of information may seem small but it could have big and far-reaching effects – especially in times of crisis. By giving an official company statement the same – or greater – weight as coverage from major news outlets, companies now have the chance to set the record straight and provide important context without having to worry about their comments being buried, parsed or, worse, omitted altogether. It also offers greater visibility around promotional opportunities such as major product launches, acquisitions or appointments.
So, does this mean companies should start issuing press releases about anything and everything just to enhance SEO? Absolutely not. The takeaway from many experts is that the algorithm change is tied to the freshness of the content – meaning a release may only get traction if it’s new (and relevant) news or if the company is already getting ink. Besides, if we’ve learned anything it’s that there are no shortcuts – especially where Google is concerned. Whether the goal is improving SEO or landing media coverage, content really is king, authenticity matters and organic is always better than paid. Do we really need a new algorithm to tell us that?
Rebecca Kirkham is the Senior Vice President at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Rebecca's blogs here. Connect with Rebecca at Rebecca@lovell.com
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