What does Google say about digital PR?

Can you use a digital PR strategy to get on page one Google? Sure you can.

By William Furney, PR & content strategist, Reachology

The online marketing strategy known as digital PR — PR for public relations — is increasingly being used by companies to grow their brands, enhance their corporate image, increase sales and become more profitable. 

It’s a multifaceted discipline based on traditional PR — getting clients coverage in printed media, like newspapers and magazines, and on TV and radio — but is inherently more complex due to the vast internet landscape and the different types of media and their particular audiences. 

For this reason, lots of firms don’t do it themselves — perhaps not only lacking the skills and knowledge but also the time — and instead appoint a digital PR agency to create and execute a strategy for them. 

Companies want to know they’re in good hands and that a digital PR service will get them the kind of media coverage they want: stories in which they’re mentioned in prestigious news and other titles, such as industry publications. With links, if they can get them. But what does mighty Google, which with almost 92% global market share of search, say about all this?

Google’s view of digital PR

If it weren’t for Google, the internet could be an entirely different space to what it is today. Spammy websites stuffed with keywords and linked to questionable sites to game rankings could still abound, and people could find cyberspace a big, brash mess. That’s why Google has been rolling out successive core and other updates to its secret algorithm over the years, to reward owners who make efforts to have sites that technically work well and publish high-quality, valuable content. 

And it’s why Google has developed guidelines like E-A-T, standing for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, because these are the principles solid web content should be based on — not sloppy copy with little attention paid to quality or the people who visit websites and what they want, which is a pleasant browsing and reading/viewing experience. Fall foul of Google by not abiding by the rules and you will most certainly pay the price, by disappearing from rankings and suffering a dramatic fall-off in traffic. It could be internet game-over. 

Help could be at hand, however, in the form of digital PR, which Google has said it’s highly in favour of. “I love some of the things I see from digital PR,” the company’s search advocate, John Mueller, has said. “[I]t’s a shame it often gets bucketed with the spammy kind of link building. It’s just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases,” he said, referring to search engine optimisation – and a good reason to hire a reputable digital PR agency.

Why is Google in love with digital PR?

Some companies buy links to boost their site’s online visibility and search rankings, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you go about it the right way (like at our sister company UK Linkology) while others go the earned media route, or use a combination of the two. The reason Google is so fond of digital PR is because earning mentions and links in top-tier online media is a result of substantial, creative work that leads to high quality content that editors and readers want. 

So instead of buying a link to your company on a blog or mid-tier industry website, with digital PR, you’re placing your trust in content to get you into the online media. Maybe there’ll be a link; maybe there won’t — it’s not something you can control because there are no fees involved and it’s up to journalists’ discretion. But you’ll certainly get a mention, of your company or brand, and it will go a long way towards improving your presence online. It’s invaluable coverage that’s difficult to get but certainly worth the effort when you appear in leading websites around the internet.

So this speciality, digital PR, is part of the marketing mix and, done well, takes a holistic approach to improving a company’s image and its fortunes. You’ll stay on the right side of Google, and benefit along the way. 

Want to feel Google’s love of digital PR and power-up your brand? Book a free initial consultation with the experts at Reachology now, and soon you could be ruling the online world.

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