It’s all PR Isn’t It? Or what public relations and PageRank can teach each other.

G is For Google. What does PR stand for?

For my money PR professionals – certainly in Scotland – haven’t paid anywhere near enough attention to search engine optimisation.

Known as SEO, this is the “dark art” of ensuring a website ranks well on a series of key words.

For most people ‘search engine’ actually means ‘Google’. And ‘ranking well’ means that when they type something into the search box and hit return, they will only look a the first page of returns. In fact¬† in most case only at the top two or three results.

What’s that got to do with PR? Well for most public relations professionals, very little.

The focus of PR work is still dominated by earning client coverage in traditional media. Increasingly it may also include a social media element, via Facebook or Twitter – and those remain the focus at my own PR agency in Scotland. Holyrood Partnership.

In my experience only a handful of PR people really  understand how to build SEO benefits into media coverage and into social media activity.

Shame really, because while it may not be as shiny and exciting as Twitter, a basic grasp of SEO principles can really impress potential clients and deliver tangible results.

With that in mind, I’d guess that most people working in public relations in Scotland would look at me blankly if was to tell them that PR is also a common abbreviation for PageRank. Few, I’d wager would be able to readily explain PageRank, or its importance in today’s internet.

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Why Having 5 More Friends Than a Chimp Could Help Google Defeat Facebook

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Professor Dunbar's Book

It’s rare to meet someone who has a number named after them.

This week I briefly met and spoke with Professor Robin Dunbar, the charming Oxford University anthropologist who enjoys exactly that accolade.

Five years ago ‘the Dunbar number‘ might have remained an esoteric concept: talked about in rarefied academic circles, but barely pricking the consciousness of the wider public.

The unstoppable rise of social networking changed all that.

With the advent of Facebook, Twitter and the peer-to-peer internet phenomenon which has enveloped us in just 60 months, the Dunbar number has become a bona fide mathematical rarity – a numerical concept which transcends academia to become part of popular culture.

Okay, I might be stretching it to suggest it has gone mainstream. But anyone who dips a toe into the ‘science’ of social media will pretty soon come up against the Dunbar number.

If you have any interest in understanding the behind-the-scenes workings,the foundations or the likely social consequences of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (as opposed to just using them), then you probably want to know something about the good Professor’s work. Continue reading