Last week, we saw in Holmes Global’s PR Report, that the main concern for PR agencies around the world was the digitalization of their services. Digital communications is not only linked to fulfilling their clients’ needs, but also to increasing their overall revenue by employing a digital strategy. However, this obstacle does not only a concern for PR agencies. We’ve identified this fear amongst other clients: all the PR teams are trying to understand how the digital communication market behaves and if it’s more or less effective than traditional PR actions.
But the digital environment behaves differently from the offline. For example, readers used to buy a newspaper or magazine in order to be updated on general news or to know the latest trends of a certain sector. Nowadays, users search for information on several channels which can give them information in a personalized way. One of these channels is Google, the search engine with the greatest usage in the world, known as one of the of the most valuable brands to ever exist.
So let’s see how this search engine has evolved:
Google is a tool that could potentially bring visibility to your brand, it’s not just a search engine, but an information tool for Internet users. Forget about the ancient search engine results pages (SERPs) where there was a list of 10 links with titles and small descriptions. Nowadays, depending on the content of your website, the SERPs could show the users the face of your spokespersons, the pictures of your stores, they could even take information from your site and provide it directly to the user without the need for them to go to your site. That is something that PR professionals need to know and take advantage of. Take a look of this example: we can see how a mega SERP would look like if we join all the possibles results Google would come up and the explanation in this post (image adapted by Paul Gailey).
Some results PR teams must take into consideration are:
In-depth articles (Q)
When someone is searching for a broad subject, Google provides deeper information about it. Google prioritizes the information, showing high quality articles from well-known media first.
So, how can communication teams take advantage of this? They could:
- Create a Content Strategy based on the business goals (visibility, sales) and user goals (interesting and useful content) to create a strong community.
- Markup your content. Talk to your website developer and verify if the marking of your website it’s done. You can do it if you work for a magazine, if you announce events, software, products, etc. Also, use the authorship, it means tell Google (and your audience) who is the author of your content and show it (here’s how to do it).
Youtube results (I)
This type of results is not new in the SERPs, but PR teams might not take advantage of the benefits that online video could bring. Data shows that video engagement is higher than other traditional formats, so it’s recommended to work on some of the following points:
- Integrate video to your content strategy, following the same principles of interest to your audience.
- If you are going to publish your video on Youtube, try to see what your competitors are doing and what is working.
- When you publish your video, use a relevant title, description and tags. Think how an user will search for a vide. Try the Youtube keyword suggestion tool.
- Distribute your content in all your social networks, your blog and your website.
Social Results (P)
Are you still thinking Google+ is not important for your social media strategy? Do not think Google is using this platform to become the next Facebook. It’s not their goal. The goal of Google+ is to add the social factor (that was missing before to fight against spam) to improve the quality of its results. And here is a good example, so:
- If you haven’t done it, create your Google+ company page and connect it to your website
- Add influential people from your sector to your circle, but also your clients and people interested in your brand.
- Motivate your spokespersons and the authors of your blog to create their own accounts, then connect them to your blog
On Google’s 15th anniversary celebration, they wanted to give us a present, so they gave us Hummingbird, one of the biggest changes of its algorithm. Its goal is to increase their proximity with the user, in other words, to give them the results faster without needing to abandon their search. This, for sure, will make SERPs continue to evolve, so stay tuned for all the opportunities digital communication can take advantage of.