Goodbye, SEO: PR is the new king

by Mickie Kennedy

Remember when you would search for something and come across a website riddled with nonsense words?

Those Wild-West days of SEO are now recalled with a chuckle and an eye roll. The websites were never pretty and often full of junk and viruses, but they always seemed to pop up on top.

That’s why Google has gone out of its way to come up with new ways for people to get what they want when they search. Its engineers know people don’t want to search for something and get a barely related website in return. They want rich, authentic material that excites them and expands their worlds.

As a result, Google has slowly made PR the focus of online search, and it’s up to you to capitalize on it.

The old ways

Gone are the days of SEO kings. Though many of them have succeeded in the past few years, Google’s latest update, Panda 4.0, has quietly shanked them. It’s so intense that many online are crying over the death of SEO and PR as an industry.

But savvy PR pros know that changing with the times is part of the job. The old ways just aren’t going to cut it anymore. When it no longer worked for websites to blast out keywords, the businesses that adapted survived.

Did your campaign heavily rely on SEO? Hopefully you also concentrated on solid writing, because those who know how to do that are soon to be the true kings.


It may be a little frustrating from a PR perspective, but Google is making strong writers the real heroes of the new online world. More than ever, the focus is on what’s interesting—funny, weird, horrifying or uplifting—rather than a bunch of arbitrary words that don’t have anything to do with your brand or business.

What makes your story unique and newsworthy? If you’re writing a press release on your new line of hats, ask yourself why people should care. No longer can you get away with cramming words in the release, hoping people will get tricked into noticing your story. You have to write a great press release about your hats so it spreads around the web on its own.

For example, you can concentrate on how strong the material is and how it makes your customers’ lives easier in wintertime. Or you could show off how fashionable the hats are by showcasing all the times it’s been featured on the red carpet.

Remember to find what’s truly interesting about your piece and ask yourself if it’s it really news, or just puff. If you don’t, you’ll find out soon enough when your press release spreads or flops.

This is how Panda 4.0 will eventually make online PR better. PR pros have to come up with solid ideas rather than falling back on old tropes. You can do it; we’ve all adapted before, and we’ll do it again with this development.

Do you like the changes to Google’s algorithm?

Mickie Kennedy is founder of eReleases. A version of this story originally appeared on PR Fuel. See the original article for more PR tips about SEO.