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.