For too long SEO has been a dirty word (read: acronym). Think keyword stuffing and invisible text techniques. Luckily, in an effort to stop pages tricking its algorithm to unfairly boost page rankings, Google has cracked down on what it calls “Randomly Repeated Keywords”.
This is good news not just for general users who no longer have to scroll results when searching for “discount holidays” – it is also great news for PR’s and CEO’s in their role as brand managers. Now, thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, there is less chance of low quality content topping the page ranks. The spam filtering algorithm punishes websites with overly aggressive marketing content and favours the subtle, value-add information you might find in – ahem – a well written press release?
PR has in effect become SEO. It is no longer a case of hosting sneaky mirror sites jammed with links and key words. If a business wants to improve their coverage and exposure they will need to generate it themselves by speaking to the media, blogging, contributing articles and updating their linkedin profile. PR anyone?
Aside from increasing the importance of PR agencies, the new Google algorithm has other branding implications. Consider Interflora, the international flower delivery network. Early this year, the website disappeared from search result listings after it was accused of buying links that pass PageRank. Selling links violates Google’s quality guidelines and action (as in removal from search results), is taken against pages that use artificial links intended to manipulate page rankings. The incident with Interflora was not only a business continuity risk, it was a PR disaster. Nothing says shonky business practice quite like spamming!