How SEO Confronts Its PR Challenge In The Blogosphere


I got a lot of attention from the search engine optimization (SEO) community this past week for a post on “What Gives SEO A Bad Name” — the example I used, a parked domain appearing as a #2 Google search results, turns out to be Google’s fault, not the work of an unethical SEO. Or so it appears, based on some very plausible explanations posted by some smart SEOs in the comments of the post — but I can’t know with 100% certainty what’s going on inside Google’s black box, and that’s a problem for SEOs.

Some SEOs got upset with me for appearing to unfairly perpetuate negative perceptions of SEO — but if my post was a mistake, it was an honest one (I posted a correction). The point I’ve been trying to make to the SEO community, not always successfully, is that because they live in a black box, SEO’s PR challenge involves correcting a lot of misperceptions. Many of those misperceptions are unfair, but they are not always intentionally malicious — and they exist among potential SEO clients, like me

UPDATE: Speaking of great search ambassadors, Google’s Matt Cutts showed up on my original post and all but confirmed that my example is likely a problem in Google’s algorithm, although it’s pending investigation. Matt said that if it does turn out to be a problem in the algorithm, it could lead to a larger fix, which would certainly be a happy ending to this tale.
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Does PR need media relations?

In my last posting, about the “New” News Release, I alluded to a sea-change in the job descriptions of the flackus desperandi (PR professional). In the past PR was predominantly “media relations” based – sending spam and harassing journalists.

Sure there was some internal communications thrown in, communicating on behalf of the government) communicating to the government (lobbying), investor relations for the financial specialists and physician communication from the healthcare group.

But underneath a raft of very high-level strategic counsel, media relations essentially underpins the business in the same way that media buying underpins the advertising industry.

But social media has changed that on its head.

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PR: Only As Good As Our Weakest Link

You remember the saying “You’re only as strong as your weakest link” right? It’s an expression used to convey the message that even the best at something are often lumped in with the worst at something. That expression applies nicely as we talk about the field of public relations.

PR practitioners come in all shapes and sizes: some are great, some aren’t, and some are downright bad. Since this is the Blog Herald, I want to focus my attention online. When we look at how public relations is being done online, we need only look at how it’s being used in the social media space. More communications efforts are targeting online media outlets and bloggers, which means PR people like myself are going to be asked to deliver on blogger relations campaigns. The term “blogger relations” is just a term cooked up to describe PR for bloggers. It’s not traditional PR because bloggers aren’t the mass media. It’s difficult to describe what “blogger relations” actually are because it hasn’t been a glowingly successful part of PR practitioners jobs yet.

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The “New” News Release

Is social media changing the way you work? My job as a PR/online communications consultant has changed an awful lot since I started as an intern cutting articles out of a newspaper or transcribing entire electoral rolls into an Excel sheet. There are a metric ton of examples I could use (monitoring, who we reach out to, client based initiatives) but the biggest one is, I believe, the communications vehicle formerly known as the “press release”. [Read more…]

Social Media At Work

A while back on my own blog, I wrote about using social media at work. It was the kind of post that I spent days writing because social media has a presence in nearly everything I do at work. I wanted to share the ways I use social media at work in public relations because the tools available are vital resources in my day-to-day affairs. Without them, I would probably be lost. For those PR practitioners not using these tools, I’d recommend spending some time learning more about them and how you can put them to use.

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Public Relations: Still Learning Social Media


…Or at least I hope that’s the case.

Public relations is a business in a state of change. When the Internet emerged as a force roughly ten years ago, I suspect that PR practitioners were wondering what the future would hold for them. Since that time, the ‘net has boomed, busted, and recently re-emerged, yet PR practitioners as a whole aren’t ready for the new media that we call “social media”.

How come? For starters, most PR practitioners don’t have time to learn new things. This is probably true of every industry: you’re so busy trying to catch up on yesterday’s work that you can’t even begin to think about what tomorrow will bring. It’s no different for PR, as we’re talking about an industry that hasn’t changed a whole lot historically. [Read more…]

How do they do that? Celebrity PR


In my first column I discussed what PR is, from a corporate standpoint without really addressing the publicity, or celebrity, business ‘€“ which is what most readers will be exposed to the most.

While I would never be called upon to give expert testimony in the area of celebrity publicity, I feel I know enough to lift the curtain a little and show you one dirty little trick that can be used.

This oft used trick is the one that magicians learn first ‘€“ misdirection. Let’€™s say I’€™m your client, a highly paid sports stud like Ladainian Tomlinson who is enjoying a record breaking season ‘€“ not too far from the truth (!).

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For many bloggers, their experience of PR extends to a deep rooted distrust, borne out of reading about a company or celebrity PR masterstroke or, more likely, a PR disaster. Other bloggers may have actually witnessed the PR (flackus desperandi) in action; possibly due to a cack-handed approach made to them by the PR to get some coverage for whatever goods or services the PR is hawking that day. [Read more…]