Blog vs. SEO for PR

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 09/23/2005

While blogs might be a hammer in the PR toolbox, few tools are more efficient than dominating a keyword in the search results. The emerging, but much maligned field of search engine optimization (SEO) is perhaps a better tool, because the blog-comprised media is fragmented, and the efficiencies are not very good —with the exception of when a message gets picked up and echoed throughout the blogosphere, which is actually the exception, and not the norm. But Google on the other hand is a rare example of the exact reverse of the fragmenting media trend that we see in TV and magazines. If you drop your effort in just 3 site’s search results: Google, Yahoo & MSN, you’ve reached the majority of outlets. And you’ve satisfied the 80/20 rule after just reaching Google.

But PR is generally about paid listings, and getting into G.Y.M. requires paid keyword campaigns like AdWords, making it firmly in the realm of the advertising industry, and not public relations. Meanwhile, the segment of the industry concerned with influencing the unpaid results is labeling itself SEO for search engine optimization (vs. SEM for search engine marketing), and is not associating itself with PR at all. In those rare instances where PR firms are addressing Search, they only talk about the tip of the iceberg: optimizing press releases and ensuring they stay around in the search indexes.

But a real SEO firm will be able to embark on the “big” projects, such as taking your entire website out of the “invisible Web” without having to use pay-per-click services, like Yahoo! SiteMatch, the service that feeds your invisible website directly into Yahoo on a pay-per-click basis. Why go to a PR firm for SEO, particularly the big SEO projects that require extreme technical savvy? Because PR firms who want to survive the transition into Internet-powered PR will have to have develop this savvy. And some already have, moving vast quantities of “pent up” potential locked in invisible catalogs and magazine publications onto the Web. This makes a very powerful combination when coupled with the branding, positioning and messaging capabilities of the PR industry.