The Tech of PR: Does Share v. Search Really Matter?


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Fascinating piece in GigaOm today on traffic sources for major news sites. Apparently, while Google still holds a commanding lead (driving nearly 30% of site traffic), Facebook is coming up fast, driving as much as 8% and climbing. That is, the wide net may be losing some ground to the social network.

That raises some really interesting questions for the future of online PR strategy. Just as the enterprise market is catching up with SEO and the drivers of organic search placement, the folks they’re trying to reach may be moving on. Will we see a day when SEO will be completely replaced by SMO? When recommendations are *all* that matters? When the companies who can’t seem to get engagement are too far behind for a last minute Hail Mary pass?

Hard to say — the way technology has moved for the last decade, the one thing I’m willing to predict is that the landscape will be radically different ten years from now. But that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to organic search, or a near-universal preference for liking what friends like. There’s a lot of logic in the value of a trusted opinion, but there’s also a downside to that more insular approach. Google has become a behemoth by (advertising while) helping people find something new. I’m not convinced the appeal of that approach will fade.

Actually, I’ll go ahead and make a crazy prediction after all. Maybe what we’ll see out of this share v. search turf war will be a better way to use the strengths of both. I find myself frequently bouncing from one to the other — an interesting tweet brings up a topic and I run to Google News; or a search brings up a name I plunk into LinkedIn. I want very much to know who’s thought of highly, but I also want to make my own judgment. I rather doubt that sentiment is in short supply.

From the business perspective, that means: don’t ditch one for the other. However this all shakes out, you still need to have well-written content that both speaks your customers’ language and has “share me” written all over it. Sometimes serving two masters is a debacle; in this case, I suspect it could create radical improvements.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.


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