You may have heard that Google adjusted their search rank algorithm last week. Despite the geekiness of words like “algorithm” and “search optimization,” this news is important for more than just SEO nerds.
Here’s what happened:
Google’s page ranking algorithm (codenamed Caffeine) now favors fresh content over more established/authoritative content in certain cases. It’s like a real-time filter over the old search results. An easy example is the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Google is guessing that if you search for “presidential election” between now and next November, you’re more likely to want up-to-date and authoritative information about the 2012 election than the history of U.S. presidential elections (however authoritative the site or, ahem, Wikipedia page). So it will return results accordingly.
Here’s why PR professionals should care:
- Effective public relations has always been about timely and targeted content, and Google’s algorithm change only makes this more important.
- The Content Fusion approach (aka being smart about what content you distribute through what channels and in what vehicles) = more fresh content in more places. If the question is “why should I invest in that,” the answer is a double whammy: “it’s good for your brand” and “because Google likes it.”
Relevant, timely content is no longer just about managing the message and reputation once people get to a website … now it is crucial to helping them find the site.
Lastly, you might be wondering which types of websites have had the most impact from the new algorithm. Research by Searchmetrics suggests that no type of website (i.e. government, news, etc.) is the “biggest loser”. But the biggest winners have so far tended to be websites related to news, travel and big-name consumer brands with frequent content updates. More information on this angle of the change is sure to come to light over the next few weeks.