As a PR professional or corporate communicator, your strategy must encompass all media, yet too often, the most powerful and trusted source of news and information is overlooked. If you think search results don’t matter, this is your wake-up call. And if you think you can’t influence Google, you’re wrong. In fact, you can do it yourself.
Using tactics you may already be familiar with, you can improve the reputations and online profiles of your clients. This approach will help you add new layers of value to your existing services, prove the ROI of your digital PR campaigns and win business with new insights.
Today’s consumer confronts so many streams of information that communicators—focused on individual channels, like social media or news—forget to monitor and manage the ocean that all streams flow into: Google.
Managing online reputations is nearly synonymous with managing search results; a Herculean task that blends the data-driven sciences of SEO and SEM with the creative arts of public relations and digital content creation.
|This article is featured in O'Dwyer's May '22 PR Firm Rankings Magazine
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Google search is today’s most valuable source of news and information
Google has evolved dramatically over the last decade, from a simple indexing of websites to an information source of its own with rich results and content like news, images, events, social highlights, a knowledge panel and maps. Search results are far more influential than social media and traditional media, driving the majority of all web traffic, as searchers consider Google a trustworthy and reliable research source.
Embracing a search-centric strategy will help ensure your clients’ audiences find your positive content and engage with it. Modern communication must be viewed through the lens of search – with data that matters and insightful analysis that identifies opportunities and potential threats as they arise.
Embrace search-centric PR and corporate communications
A search-centric approach requires you to consider Google’s role in promoting every digital asset you or your client might produce. At 5.6 billion searches per day, Google is the gateway to every brand, business and organization. The journey your audience takes to reach your website, social media channels or news release, almost always begins with a search that rarely goes beyond page one of results.
Most agencies rely on clipping services and social media monitoring tools that simply do not track search results, while a few try to tackle search with more technical platforms such as SEMRush and Moz. But those SEO and SEM platforms are fire hoses of data, often overwhelming communication professionals, who simply want to extract key business intelligence and present it in a format that effectively communicates critical insights.
New technologies, however, help make tackling these various challenges manageable by communication professionals, not search experts. Even digital specialists can more effectively deploy their expertise to develop higher-level strategies and sophisticated tactics, empowering junior staff to perform advanced online reputation management tactics like search results monitoring and optimization.
PR and corporate communications professionals most often are focused on strengthening online reputations or reducing the effects of negative or competitive news or changed search results rankings.
Today, new platforms, such as Lightbox Search, can help:
- Combat negative content: misinformation, news, reviews, or competitive results.
- Improve search rankings for branded or competitive search terms.
- Control search results and improve reputations for brands, products, or executives.
- Access and analyze localized results and data; hyper-target regional audiences.
- Prove ROI of digital content such as earned media, news releases, or websites.
- Automatically monitor and benchmark to track and analyze the impact of your digital efforts or new client mentions.
- Generate custom action plans to improve page one search results.
- Easily schedule daily, weekly or monthly reports for any search term—like a brand or executive—and access them on demand.
Recognize and leverage the power of Google search
You don’t need to be an SEO expert or data analyst to provide new value to clients by taking advantage of the scope and influence of Google search. Every form of digital content creation has a search consideration that can improve the ROI of your efforts or support the sale of new services. Techniques like creating strong, keyword-rich content or ensuring your clients have highly optimized networks of social media pages are now essential to controlling search results and driving search engine visibility.
There are dozens of approaches to strengthening search results but knowing, for instance, which newswire distribution services are ranked more highly than others can make a big difference. Claiming the Google “Knowledge Panel” is critical and easy. Even using Google Ads may be a technique that can ensure your organization or client appears first—or might drive down negative news or competitive content. We’re now in a world that has truly merged owned, earned, paid and social media. But search is where it all shows up first—and often last.
Comprehensive search engine management leads to better reputations, stronger brand visibility, enhanced executive eminence and more audience engagement. Breathe new life into existing content, develop new content and build a digital fortress that can withstand negative news and achieve business objectives.
Whether it’s winning new business or uncovering missed opportunities, it’s more important than ever to put a sharp focus on Google search results. Understanding and managing those results will provide the critical solutions your clients need, show them how they fare against the competition and provide insights and analysis into their entire digital footprint.
Larry Moskowitz is Founder and CEO of Lightbox Search. He previously founded Mediawire and Medialink and also served as COO of PR Newswire.