What Google’s Newest Search Algorithm Means for PR Pros

Responding to intense competition from Twitter and Facebook, Google has revised its search algorithm to make query results more relevant and timely. This move by Google to reshape itself into a real-time news feed puts even more pressure on PR practitioners to shift their own mindsets and adapt to a real-time Web powered by search and social media.

“We’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35% of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results," said Google’s Amit Singhal in a Nov. 3 company blog post. The update will accentuate the search results for recent events or hot topics, regularly occurring events and topics with frequent updates, like new product reviews.

Adam Singer, social media practice director for San Francisco-based LEWIS PR, says that as the most popular Web services shift emphasis to real time, it becomes more critical for PR pros to optimize media and consumer-facing content against trending topics. 

The actual strategies companies take to integrate SEO and PR—at least if you're doing it right—should not radically change,” says Singer. “Public relations professionals should understand the art of optimizing on a trending phrase while also considering the tail [of a trend]. Digital asset optimization remains crucial, so don't neglect to optimize video titles (and transcribe their content), infographic alt-tags and other assets.”

Keyword research, analytics, iterative content creation, community building and conversion optimization will be key skills for PR practitioners who want to succeed in the world of news feed-style Google search, says Singer.

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