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Is Google killing PR agencies?


Anyone hoping to build up their career in PR will wish a recent blog from acclaimed tech journalist Tom Foremski, suggesting that Google's latest changes to its search model could hamper the industry's growth, is wrong.

Writing for ZD Net, Mr Foremski suggested Google's attempts to cut down on repetition of words, re-posted press releases and more in its results could have a serious impact on how agencies disseminate information.

"PR agencies increasingly create a lot of content for their clients ranging from guest posts, guest columns, to feature length articles. These are published in many different places, they contain links, and are designed to promote the client company," he explained.

If Google's latest updates make it more difficult to do this, how is the world of PR and communications going to develop its approach to gaining more promotion and visibility for clients?

Mr Formenski highlighted three problems - that firms could become upset that their approach is no longer suitable for Google, that PR agencies could become liable for a loss of reputation any businesses accrue and finally that the search engine giant now appears to be setting itself up as a competitor, rather than a facilitator, of PR.

While the latter is certainly a concern, industry experts have been quick to point out that adaptive, creative techniques still allow innovative firms to offer reputational guidance to their clients.

Writing in PR Week, head of digital at Dynamo PR Lexi Mills argued that astute, analytics-driven search engine optimisation (SEO) is still a major asset to many brands.

"That fact that we're seeing Google clamping down further on Black Hat type activities means that PR firms should see an even greater rise in demands from clients for their PR SEO services," she argued.

However, Ms Mills admitted the latest changes to Google do highlight how important it is that practitioners keep track of how the search engine is operating at all times.

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