I remember a time, roughly six months ago, when I would simply laugh off the idea that someone with a degree in some form of IT would be anywhere near a PR Agency, other than to fix the email. Now I wonder whether someone like myself with a (future) degree in PR will be going anyway near an agency. Search Engine Optimisation is now a crucial part of most strategies and it is easy to see why.

Let’s be honest, we want to find something we ‘Google it’. Moreover we rarely go past the first few links, let alone the first page. Therefore SEO can be considered an immensely important part of brand visibility, to say nothing of bottom line implications. But as always, I’m a cynical son-of-a-gun.

The idea of a search engine is to ‘find’ what you are looking for, not to find what Generic-Multi-National-Corporation PLC wants you to. But ‘whoa there’ I here you cry, is that not my job as a PR person to get my client to the forefront of a publics mind? Why yes it is. Which is why I think SEO is the laziest form of PR.

My hypothetical job is to promote our client, to make sure their product or service is the product or service of choice of their public, and I have no problem with a ‘by any means necessary’ ethos. However, by utilising SEO you are putting metaphorical white flag above you reputation as a PR person. If you can’t promote your client through any means other than ‘cheating’ them to the top of Google, then maybe you’re in the wrong career. PR is all about persuasion, not search engine rankings. Don’t get me wrong, SEO can have a positive effect on a brand, but lets leave it to the IT department and not rely on it as the tip of your PR arrow.

Want to read a blog that has a sunnier outlook on SEO? Well you could search for it, but oh wait… Here, I did the legwork for you.

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